If you’re running a small business, chances are you have a very busy schedule. Managing a business requires constant care for continuous success. Because you have limited time to research answers to your questions, the internet is a great resource for quick, useful and even free advice. Below are five must-use websites for small business owners.
U.S. Small Business Administration (sba.gov)
This is the website for the independent agency of the federal government organized to promote small business in the United States. The site is a thorough resource for all aspects of small business including start-up and businesses seeking to grow. As a government agency, this is a free resource. SBA seeks to provide assistance to small businesses through its four programs:
- Access to Capital with links to government grants as well as private loans.
- Entrepreneurial Development including links to podcasts and other online training resources and information on local training events. The website also has guides on business start-up and business planning.
- Government Contracting opportunities. Some government agencies are required to spend a certain percentage of their annual budgets on small business contracts.
- Advocacy for Small Business educates business owners about the various laws affecting their industries.
Income.com is an online community for small business owners and entrepreneurs. It consists of a large group of experts in a range of business industries who offer guidance to entrepreneurs to help them avoid common mistakes. This free resource will provide you with real-life advice based on real-life experience.
Business owners can join this cooperative business community to find advice and support for a variety of needs including loans, web designs, manufacturing, marketing, small business tools, partnerships, business start-up
This is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of successful small businesses, and as such, their services are free. The site links you up with real people and mentors with real business experience, either online or face-to-face. They have 13,000 mentors in 364 chapters. Enter your zip code and you will find a chapter near you. Score.org mentors have specialized skills in various aspects of business as well as experience in a variety of industries.
The site also lists webinars and local workshops focused on important small business topics such as payroll mistakes, business start-up ideas, data security, cash flow management and getting better customers. There are templates and tools such as checklists for marketing strategies, accounting and budgeting basics and plans for building a cash reserve.
This website is in blog format and has regular postings including videos, articles and links to provide the most current information in the small business world. The resources provided include how-to guides, start-up basics, business ideas, business plans, financing, success stories and home-based business. This site also has information for growing your business including money management, marketing, branding, social media and online sales.
This is another blog that publishes brief and timely articles throughout the week. Topics include managing money, marketing, starting a business and social media. Comments are encouraged so that you can learn from other business owners who follow the blog. If you choose, you can become a member of their “Inner Circle” which allows you to attend events, work alongside their product teams and get your business spotlighted by Intuit within the Inner Circle.
You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money to find the support you need in managing your small business. Bookmark these five sites and the answers to your questions will literally be at your fingertips.
About the Author: Robert Cordray is a freelance writer and expert in business and finances. With over 20 years of business experience, Robert is now retired and hopes others can benefit from his writing.