Starting a new business is exciting, but there is a lot to think about. If you are starting your own small business, you are very lucky: there has never been more information and help out there to help people get their small business off of the ground and running.
Starting A New Business Venture
Start Looking Locally First
There are a lot of resources in the United States for people who want to start a small business. Call your local community college or university and find out if they have any kind of free small business help, or check online at sba.gov (the US federal government’s Small Business Administration) to search your zip code for help locally.
Small Business centers exist to help assist people with very little business knowledge and on a tight budget to get their business up and running, legally.
They can assist with things like showing you how to establish an LLC, tax assistance, consulting services, and other very useful information.
In the US, there are lots of federal government resources dedicated to helping small businesses get up and running. Created in 1953, the US Small Business Administration can help businesses get information, legal help, grants, loans, and all sorts of assistance in setting up and maintaining a small business.
Information is available to specifically assist:
- minority-owned business
- female-owned businesses
- LGBTQ owned businesses
- Native American owned businesses
- Veteran owned businesses
- Rural/Underserved area businesses
Free Help For Launching a Business
Here are some things that the SBA can give assistance with when launching your business:
- Market research, competitive analysis
- Writing a business plan
- Calculating startup costs
- Funding some startup costs when starting a business
- Buying a franchise or an existing business
- Picking out a business location
- Registering a business with the appropriate state and federal agencies
- Obtaining both federal and state tax ID numbers
- Applying for state and federal licenses and permits needed to legally do business
- Obtaining insurance for your business
Free Help with Managing an Existing Business
The SBA can give knowledgeable help to businesses in the following ways, and more:
- Managing finances/ budgeting
- Help with hiring employees and managing a staff
- Tax assistance, without having to purchase QuickBooks or a tax preparation service
- Help with staying legally compliant as your business grows
- Purchasing equipment and assets for your business
- Cybersecurity assistance
- Emergency preparedness
- Assistance after natural disasters
- Assistance when closing or dissolving a business
- Help with the hiring of disabled individuals
- Marketing your business
Free Help with Expanding/Growing a Business
- Help with obtaining funding to expand your business
- Help with opening new branches or locations
- Help with mergers and acquiring other companies
- Assistance with becoming a federal contractor
- Information and help with the export of your products abroad
Funding a Startup or Small Business
Finding the money to get a new business off of the ground is usually one of the most challenging parts of launching your own venture. There are some helpful grants and loans out there for worthy businesses.
If you have issues like a low score with credit reporting agencies that are obstacles to obtaining loans, sometimes doing some legwork can result in real cash assistance.
Find an Investor
If you are willing to share the profits of your business with a partner, one option is finding an investment or a partner to share in the expenses of the business venture.
If you aren’t able to find an investor in your own circle of family and friends, you can choose to look for a Small Business Investment Company (or SBIC).
SBICs work by making an investment in a small business via equity, debt, or both. A loan to the business (‘debt’) is one way they can help. Your small business with have to pay the money back, plus interest.
Sometimes an SBIC will trade a loan in exchange for part of the business (‘equity’). The SBIC might also choose to invest by offering both types of payment in exchange for a business loan.
The SBA has a list of legal, eligible SBICs that you can search through to find investors in your business.
The federal government offers business loans to qualifying applicants in the form of microloans, 7a loans, and 504 loans. The type of loan you might apply for will depend upon your needs and the amount of money you need to borrow. You can find this service at SBA.gov, as well.
Low-interest loans are offered to businesses by the SBA if the business has been affected by a federally declared natural disaster.
There are federal grants out there, but they are limited to applicants that are in specific fields of interest. If your venture happens to be an eligible community organization, you might qualify as an applicant or a recipient of a federal grant to assist in your costs.
If your interests lie in the promotion of entrepreneurship, small business development, or you have a veteran-owned, or service-disabled veteran-owned business, grants may be available to build your project.
Two other areas that may qualify for a grant are scientific research and development and management/technical assistance and guidance.
The US government doesn’t provide grants with the purpose of starting or expanding a for-profit business. Counseling services and training programs that are offered by resource partners or organizations geared at educating, counseling, and supporting entrepreneurship are sometimes gifted federal aid grants if they are found to be deserving.
Other Resources For Starting A New Businesses
TRUIC is a great website that offers a lot of information and resources for business owners, both new and experienced. By searching your state on TRUIC, you can find some pretty useful information specific to your home state about your business.
They also have some nice bells and whistles like a free logo maker, which is a nice little service for those with little or no skill at graphic arts to make a business logo without having to pay for it.
Although these are pretty basic logos, everyone has to start somewhere, and starting with free is a good choice when trying to finance a new venture. TRUIC’s local resources section is especially nice for searching for business-related services in your own area.
Docracy.com is a free service that offers legal documents for tons of different kinds of fields of interest and types of business.
If you are not able to afford a business lawyer, this might be a good place to look for any kinds of minor legal documents you might need for small businesses to stay somewhat protected from fraud and other pitfalls of doing business today.
Fiverr.com has all sorts of talented people who work independently in professions such as graphic arts, design, website writing, and any other number of things that people need in the modern world to operate a business during the information age.
If you need low-cost help at creating a professional-looking sign to place on a customized magnetic car cling that you can put on your vehicle to advertise yourself (for instance), you can likely find someone to only make the design for the sign or to go the whole nine yards and make the design, plus do the legwork to have it put on a magnet that will fit on your car and be shipped to you. Creative professionals place themselves out there, and you are able to search for one at a price you can afford.
There you have it: some great resources for your new business venture. Good luck with your amazing idea/product/service!