As you work to build your small business, you'll find a wealth of resources and assistance programs available to guide you and give you the best possible chance of success. These resources come from different areas of the business community with opportunities to learn, speak with others, and build a network within your specific industry.
As you create your business plan to guide you as an entrepreneur, don't overlook the potential wealth of information you have available to you through these free and paid small business resources.
Why Every Small Business Should Take Advantage of Business Resources
As a small business owner, you've likely discovered that nurturing your growing organization requires a tremendous amount of work. Failing to take advantage of assistance programs available throughout your community and online only makes it harder.
You'll find that the business community has a diverse range of resources to help you nurture business opportunities, learn skills to advance your organization, and even network to meet others who are going through similar professional struggles. Here are a few areas that you can begin your search for resources to support you.
11 Small Business Resources
If you're interested in finding resources to support you during the growth of your business, these options offer an excellent place to get started:
The Small Business Administration Website
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) website offers a host of resources and information for those interested in building a business. From the first days of forming your business, you will find information on SBA.gov about key areas, such as:
- Choosing a business structure
- Different sources of funding
- A learning center for educating new entrepreneurs about business ownership
The site also offers a number of links and resources for business owners, such as easy access to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) small business tax center, information about contracting, and helpful links about rural development. This detailed information can serve as a business guide and a resource partner as you begin to grow your new business.
Google My Business
Google My Business helps customers find businesses when searching online. When people search for businesses in a particular area — known as a local search — Google returns results that highlight well-rated businesses. For example, if someone searches for "pizza near me," they'll receive a search engine results page (SERP) that highlights particular businesses in their immediate geographical area that have the best ratings.
To create these listings, Google uses the Google My Business listings for location and ratings. Similarly, if someone searches for a specific business, Google will return a page that highlights information about the business taken from its Google My Business page.
Therefore, you want to make sure you claim the Google My Business page for your organization. When you claim this page, you can fill out the information as completely as possible, add high-quality images to showcase your business, and engage with customers who ask questions or leave reviews on the page. Creating a quality page and encouraging people to leave a review can help you appear in local searches. This can build business recognition and bring in more customers.
Canva is a design resource that makes it easy for startups and small organizations to create outstanding designs and color palettes for everything from websites to logos and presentations. As you build your brand, design plays an important role in looking professional.
You need to create a memorable logo that will help customers recognize your brand and an easy-to-read website that invites people in. When you give a presentation to board members, potential investors, or even when onboarding employees, you want your presentation to look professional and reflect well on your company.
You will find that Canva can help businesses of all sizes capture the designs and images they want, even if they don't have a background in design.
edX.org is a nonprofit organization that can help those interested in business development learn more about critical topics for business management. For example, you can take courses on computer science, entrepreneurship, and public speaking. These courses can then enhance your skills in the workplace and make it easier to learn what you need to know to make wise business decisions.
Yelp is a business review website that customers use when interested in learning more about companies they might want to patronize. People use Yelp to look up reviews on businesses they are considering buying from, as well as to search for businesses near them that might fit their needs.
As a business owner, you want your business to be well-represented when people come across your profile. Therefore, uploading inviting images of your business or your products, providing helpful information (e.g., your business website and your business hours), and letting satisfied customers know that you appreciate reviews can help you put your best foot forward.
Free Business Invoice Templates
As you build your business and begin to provide services to customers or clients, you may need to send invoices to make sure you receive prompt payment. Invoice templates can simplify the process, providing you with a simple layout that can be filled in to create professional invoices.
Skynova offers business owners a free invoice template. You can customize the invoice, send it to your customers or clients, and mark it as paid directly from the platform. This simplifies the entire process and helps you manage your accounting faster, giving you more time to focus on your business.
Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)
For small business development, finding a quality mentoring opportunity might offer you one of the biggest advantages possible. Mentors can offer personalized advice about business management from the perspective of an experienced, successful business manager. The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) offers this type of service to its members.
Joining SCORE will offer you access to mentors, a library of resources, and workshops to support your success. For example, you can find information about recovering financially from the coronavirus pandemic, applying for a small business loan and what a lender might ask, or even FAQs about doing business with the federal government and finding federal contracting positions.
Your Local Chamber of Commerce
Your local chamber of commerce exists to serve small businesses in your area, like you. By joining your local chamber, you'll find a number of benefits that can help you manage your business:
- It will promote your business for free, as customers see the chamber of commerce as an authority. Being associated with your chamber helps cast you as a trustworthy source.
- You will have access to networking opportunities. The local chamber likely hosts and promotes events where members can network, allowing you to meet other small business owners in your area.
- Many chambers also offer small business funding opportunities. If your business needs a bit more funding, this can help you find the resources you need.
- Your chamber can also provide advocacy and help with economic development and revitalization.
Industry associations can offer small businesses a plethora of information about development and tips for excelling. With these associations, you'll find it easier to remain tapped into the latest trends and technology. This will help you better serve your customers or clients.
Organizations centered around your particular industry can also help you connect with others in your industry who might have helpful tips and information that you can use to guide you.
Local colleges and universities can be a source of educational opportunities and a chance to connect with other professionals. Some small business owners might be experts in their niche but may not have as much experience with different aspects of running a business, such as marketing or accounting.
Local institutions of higher learning can offer classes or other training programs that you can leverage to learn more about important parts of business ownership. You can learn to use social media for marketing, for example, or the different methods of accounting so that you feel more confident at tax time. They might also offer webinars that offer more information about particular areas of interest to you.
Other Small Business Owners
Other small business owners understand where you're at: possibly struggling to find customers, establish yourself in your industry space, or provide outstanding products or services while still making money. Even those who work in different industries can offer helpful advice about the details of small business ownership. They might have suggestions for small business accounting software, the name of an accountant to help at tax time, or tips for building a website. They might also be able to provide referrals or help you excel in other ways.
Keep Your Small Business Finances In Order With Skynova
As you establish your small business, taking advantage of different resources and opportunities can help you see the path to success, supporting you both in your business understanding and industry knowledge. In addition to this external help, though, you need a program to help you better manage your finances.
As a business owner, you need to keep a careful eye on your financial books so that you know how your business performs and when the time arises to invest in your organization. Skynova's accounting software was designed specifically for small business owners like you. With an easy-to-use interface that allows you to update your records, store receipts, and manage your cash flow in minutes, you'll find that our platform allows you to get back to your business.
Notice to the Reader
The content within this article is meant to be used as general guidelines for building your business and may not apply to your specific situation. Always consult with a professional accountant to ensure you're meeting accounting standards.