Below are five resources for the small business owner and entrepreneur:
You might already know about these, but it doesn't hurt to have a reminder.
- Small Business Administration [www.sba.gov]
The local SBA is a great resource because they offer you free and affordable courses to help you manage and run your business better and you don't even have to be a member to reap the benefits of it.
"The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation."
- Your local Chamber of Commerce [http://www.chamberofcommerce.com/]
The local chamber of commerce offers you everything from marketing you business to courses on how to run your business. The best thing about the Chamber of Commerce is that their vast network of members makes networking that much easier. Plus they offer discounts on things such as office supplies and email marketing sources like Constant Contact.
"ChamberofCommerce.com provides information on 14MM businesses from more than 100 online and offline sources of information. In partnership with companies like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Acxiom, Yelp, CitySearch, Localeze & Superpages, ChamberofCommerce.com provides tools and solutions to help business develop and manage their business on the web."
- The Library [http://www.publiclibraries.com/]
Okay. So I'm a nerd, but you can be one too by taking a trip to you local library. They have mountains of books that can teach you everything from proper social media marketing to creating a better business plan. All you have to do is take a drive to your local library, get a card and enjoy. Also, many library around the country have taken a 21 century spin by including free wifi, laptop rentals, and ebook checkouts.
"PublicLibraries.com has a mission. Our mission is to promote public libraries and by serving people with an easy access to the use of public libraries. This goal is made possible through participation of people and local libraries. We believe that the PublicLibraries.com will be a very resourceful site for individuals, families, schools and organizations."
- Small Business Development Center [http://www.asbdc-us.org/]
Small Business Development Center are equivalent of you being nurtured by your entrepreneurship or business management teacher in school. They help to cultivate the potential of entrepreneurs by offering them opportunities to network with successful business owners, investors, and knowledge. And at the end of the day, who could as for more than that? Another big plus is that many of them are offered through local universities and economic development centers, allowing you to be around other like-minded people who might have similar needs.
"The mission of the network is to help new entrepreneurs realize their dream of business ownership, and to assist existing businesses to remain competitive in the complex marketplace of an ever-changing global economy. In short, your success is our business."
- Google [www.google.com]
Say what you want about Google, but without it search engines would be lost and/ or confusing. Even worse, we'd still have to use the cataloging system at the library. *high pitch shriek* Anything you want to find out, research, or learn about is available with a simple key stroke in the search bar. You need to figure out how to make a template to save time? Google. You need to find out the next business networking event in your city? Google. You want to learn if your business identity is truly unique? Google.
The Unemployed [but Empowered and Informed] Entrepreneur