Starting a business is an exciting process that brings about feelings of pride, and surprising as it might seem, feelings of loneliness as well as your life completely shifts into a new normal. After all, building a business from the ground up isn’t easy and you’re the only one who can make your dreams come true. The funny thing is that so many entrepreneurs fail to see that they don’t need to go at it alone. There are resources available that offer a helping hand. Whether you’re already knee deep into your business or just starting out, here are some valuable resources you need to consider.
Small Business Administration
Their resources may be dwindling, but the SBA can still be helpful. Make the most out of their financial support and other free resources they offer. For example, most people aren’t aware that the SBA offers a SCORE mentoring program. Within the program, you’ll find experienced executives who are usually retired but can offer a wealth of business insight.
Community Colleges and Universities
There’s never a shortage of eager interns or students who are willing to work for a lower wage just to gain valuable on-the-job experience. Look to local colleges and universities to find qualified students to help you out when the time comes. If you are looking to complete higher education, a personal loan can make earning your MBA easier. Private lenders typically offer better repayment options and lower interest rates overall.
Online Learning Resources
Learning should be a life-long process, which is even more important when you own a business. Online, there are a variety of free and paid resources that you can take advantage of. In addition to Coursera, which offers both free and paid instruction, MIT and Stanford also offer online courses. While not all of the courses offer educational credit, you’ll still derive the same benefit and be able to connect with other like-minded individuals.
Other Business Owners
You know the saying, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine?” While this sentiment is applicable to a variety of situations, it also works well in the business world. When you’re just starting out, it’s nice to have someone who understands what you’re going through. Connecting with other small business owners gives you that shoulder to lean on, even if it’s just to blow off some much-needed steam. Locally, look for small businesses meetups or mastermind groups to join. You can meet others who are either at the same place in their journey into entrepreneurship or ones who are more established and can give you advice. Even if it’s only to shoot the breeze over coffee, you can gain valuable insight just from commiserating with other local business owners.
Chamber of Commerce
On a much grander scale, the Chamber of Commerce offers support to millions of businesses. However, you can find local divisions where you live as well. You can find your local chapter online and then research what they have to offer. Alongside networking opportunities, they also offer education in a variety of sectors.
Local Business Development Agency
Aside from the Small Business Administration, every state has its own small business development agency. You need to inquire about all the free resources it has to offer, especially since it’s your tax dollars that provide the funding for this type of agency. Most offer programs similar to the SBA as well as information on state-specific permits and business education.
Aside from external agencies or financial institutions, you also have access to a lot of free online resources. If you have a physical location, make sure to sign up for Google My Business. This will help potential customers find you. You should also take advantage of all the free education Google offers for getting your business noticed online. You can learn how to set up Google Ads, create email campaigns and how to utilize SEO to rank on the first page of search results. You can also use various content writing resources like EssayTigers if you need to write a business plan and do other writing tasks.
Last but not least, you should embrace everything social media has to offer. Just about every kind of startup can benefit from having an online presence. In fact, creating an online community builds trust, loyalty and brand awareness all for free.