Here are a few sites that provide real help and information aimed at the small business owner.
Small Business Administration
The SBA is a true anomaly, a government department that actually is there to try and help you. The SBA has been around for decades, providing education, information and loan guarantees to small business owners. Their web site is not flashy, but it does contain mountains of information useful to the small business owner.
The SBA web site is a truly massive, well organized, source of information, software and training, all of it free. It includes:
- Information on starting a business, including a very practical small business startup kit.
- Financing information, including information on SBA guaranteed loans. In a SBA loan, your bank actually is the one lending you the money. The SBA guarantees payment of the loan, making it a more attractive risk to the bank.
- Locations of local SBA business assistance centers, located at hundreds of locations nationwide.
- The SBA classroom program, including on-line courses in topics like raising capitol, business plans, business development, financing and e-commerce.
- Over 2500 free shareware programs, in Apple, DOS and Windows formats, covering everything from accounting to web authoring.
- An on line library, bristling with all kinds of how to do it information.
- Links to over 3500 small business oriented sites.
SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)
SCORE is a service organization composed of retired experts in almost every aspect of business. These volunteers lend their expertise to businesses that ask, providing vast pools of experience and knowledge. An e-mail counseling program is available, you can match your needs with the volunteer’s expertise and select the counselor from thousands of available choices. It includes:
- A free, confidential counseling program available in person and by e-mail. Over 11,000 SCORE volunteers, indexed by their expertise, are available.
- The SCORE workshop program, offering both on-line and local workshops. Over 5900 local workshops are offered annually for a minimal fee, offering one day courses in subjects including business plans, taxes and financial management techniques. ( I took a series of 12 of these courses about 10 years ago and I’m still using a lot of what I picked up there. Well worth the minimal time and cost.)
- SCORE also has an extensive on-line collection of business articles.
The Entrepreneur Magazines are an excellent and useful source of information for the small business owner. So is their web site. It includes a robust, useful collection of information including:
- Downloadable information, including personnel and financial forms.
- On-line bartering.
- On-line incorporating.
- Expert advice. (Most with a charge per minute.)
- More business information and articles than you can shake a
Other Business Sites to Help You
COVR Retailers pick the essential business-oriented web sites to help you operate your business.
American Booksellers Association
American Express Establishment Services
Bimonthly Trade Magazine
Bookselling This Week
Annual Membership dues based on book sales
Buyers Directory and Trade Show Info
Car Buying Tips
Free info on buying, leasing, & avoiding scams
Professional documents and learning courses
Facebook Pages for Business
Free online course by DocStoc.com
Fortune Small Business
FSB Magazine Published by Time & Amex
Gifts & Decorative Accessories
Gifts & Dec Magazine
Giftware Business Magazine
2 yr sub $60
National Retail Federation
Starting a Business
Retail Strategies newsletter
Retailer News Online
Retail Forum – Great Free Advice
Monthly Online Issue
Retailing Insight Magazine
Subscriptions are free to the industry
SBA Small Business Administration
www.sba.gov Home Page
www.sba.gov/classroom Info & Training
SCORE – Service Corp of Retired Executives
Contact the SCORE Association office toll free at 1-800-634-0245.
Now offers email counseling as well.
Free Law Library and Business Forms
Stores monthly magazine
Retail Industry Buying guide
Free to Retailers