February 17, 2009

Small Business Resources

Do you own a business? Have you ever thought about starting a business?

I ran a small business incubator for five years. I would interact on a daily basis with entrepreneurs, small business owners and people that had an idea for starting a business. I suspect that the current economic crisis is causing a lot more people to consider work outside of corporate America.

There are some great resources that I heartily recommend for your consideration if you are thinking about starting a business ... or if you are in the first couple of years of operation.
  1. Service Corps of Retired Executives - SCORE provides an excellent cadre of industry experts who volunteer to help small businesses tackle growth issues. You can call (800) 634-0245 to find a SCORE office in your village.

  2. Minority Business Development Centers - MBDCs provide free and low-cost help with financing, marketing, contracting issues for African American business owners. Find the center nearest you by calling (888) 324-1551.

  3. Procurement Technical Assistance Centers - I suspect that PTACs will be very popular in the coming months as the $780 billion stimulus funding from Washington DC. You should use PTAC as your first stop in learning more about doing business with the US Government. PTAC provides free training or set up a one-on-one appointment with a counselor to track down contracts you could bid on. Call (409) 886-0125 to find the center closest to you.

  4. Chambers of Commerce - One thing that I learned while at the incubator is that there are a dozen chambers in every city. Seriously! Chambers are a great help when you need to identify funding sources or local entrepreneurial services. Call (202) 659-6000 to find the main chamber of commerce in your village.

  5. Networking Groups - I never joined a networking organization like BNI or Le Tip, however they are are great resources if you need to get more involved with the local small business community. These groups exist to generate more business for their members. Call (800) 825-8286 for a local BNI group or (800) 825-8286 for a Le Tip club in your village.

  6. Business Plan Help - Business plans are tedious ... however, they are critical for the success of your business enterprise. You can get started with free templates or step-by-step guides here or here or here.

Have you tried any of these resources in the past? Do you have other ideas that might be helpful for villagers that have a business or think that they want to start a business?


dannielo said...

If you would like a tool to manage your small business activities and Projects, you can use this web aplication:


You can use it to manage and prioritize your Goals (for business but also in other areas of your life), Projects and Tasks. It has a Checklists section, for the routines and repetitive activities that any business has to do. Also, it features a Schedules section and a Calendar, for scheduling you time and activities.

Features from GTD are also present, like Contexts and Next Actions.

And it's available on the mobile phone too, so you can access it from anywhere.

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