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Available Business Resources

Written by Renee C. Quinn
B.S. Pennsylvania State University
M.B.A. University of Phoenix
Posted: February 18, 2008 @ 11:06 am
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When you first launch your new business, getting started can be a difficult and daunting task. You face many obstacles to get your business off the ground. Some things you need to do just to get started are to create a logo, purchase business cards, create a website, market your business, locate clients, network and write a Business Plan. You need to determine what costs your business will incur and determine how you will meet those expenses. You need to determine if you need a physical location or if you can work the business from a home office. Regardless of what decisions you make, you need to have resources to help you get your business going.

Before you can really get your business off of the ground, you will need to write a Business Plan for your business. But how do you write a business plan? A Business Plan for example should include, at the least, a balance sheet, income statement and a cash flow analysis. But where do you begin and what exactly should you include in it to make it complete? If you’ve never written a Business Plan before, you will need some assistance in writing one. If you would like to create your Business Plan yourself, The United States Small Business Administration has a Small Business Planner on their website, which advices you in the area of Strategic Planning and Business Plans. In addition, the SBA provides you with a Step by Step Guide in PDF format on “How to Write a Business Plan.”

Perhaps you do not wish to take on this task yourself. In that case, there are several places that you can turn to for assistance. Contact your local College, University of Community College. It is not unusual for higher educational facilities to offer such services t small business within their community. Some schools offer non credit courses to assist you in creating Business Plans. Others have Small Business Outreach programs that will work with you one on one to create one. First look for the website of the Colleges or Universities in your geographical area. Then check their site map to see if they have a Small Business section on their site. This will tell you what programs they have available to you. Many schools have small business development centers that are sponsored by the SBA.

Another resource which can be highly beneficial to new business is to contact your local Chamber of Commerce. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce features a Small Business Center on their website as well, where small business can go to learn about what is available through the US Chamber of Commerce to assist their business in growing. They also have a Chamber Directory Search Page available on their website where you can locate the local Chamber of Commerce in your area.

Your local Chamber of Commerce may offer small business members the opportunity to network, to receive free or low cost training for business owners and their employees, advertising opportunities, low cost health insurance and more. Many larger Chambers also provide an Economic Development program for small businesses. You should contact your local Chamber to see if they have an Economic Financing or Business Development Department that offers small businesses the opportunity to partake in funding programs usually targeted to business start-ups and expanding local businesses.

Looking for a location for your new small business, but find the overhead costs to be out of your reach? Perhaps you should look into locating your business in a small business incubator. Incubators are created to provide a place for small businesses to get started and to flourish. Unlike standard rental space, Incubators usually provide a variety of shared services such as copy machines, conference rooms, and kitchen and lavatory facilities and often have a shared receptionist area. Talk to your larger local Chamber and see if this is a resource that they offer, or if perhaps they can point you in the direction of one within your area. You can also do a Google search by typing in “small business incubator in&ldots;” and include your state.

Finally, the United States Department of Commerce includes an Economic Development Administration within their organization. The EDA provides current information on their federal programs, investment policies and funding opportunities available to small businesses. They also provide easy access to laws and regulations that apply to EDA’s Programs, and guidance for those who may be interested in applying for EDA’s assistance opportunities. To assist you in locating opportunities within your own geographical area, the EDA provides an Economic Development Directory on its website, where you can look up additional resources by the state within which your business resides.

As you can see from the information above, there are many resources available to small business. Whether you are just starting out or are expanding your business, you do not have to try to accomplish this on your own. Utilize that which is available to you and your endeavors will be significantly easier and less stressful. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.