5 resources to help in starting a new business

Don Mercer
Posted by Don Mercer
Small Business Banking

Almost half the business owners we surveyed this summer in our “Pay It Forward” survey told us they jumped right into business without much formal preparation. That’s like jumping into a swimming pool without first dipping a toe the water.

Four young adults (2 men, 2 women) sitting on floor of an office reviewing some papers.I admire those business people with the courage and determination to start their own business. Going in cold, though, can be tough.

As Gabe Mendoza, owner of The Shed bakery and restaurant in Las Cruces, says, “I come from a construction background, so I had never worked in a restaurant before. I went into it very green. I wish I would have been able to work as a kid in the restaurant industry prior to getting involved. But I’ve been very successful at it.”

The good news is there are resources available to help those who may not have a lot of previous experience in their chosen field. Although 47% of our survey respondents said they just dove in, among those who first conducted research, 30% said they took classes, 25% did research online, and 24% attended seminars.

There are a lot of resources these days to help small businesses launch and grow. These are just 5 that I have found particularly valuable when preparing to start a business.

SCORE: The first place I refer anyone who is thinking of starting a business is to SCORE. SCORE is a nonprofit that provides a wealth of resources and guidance to small businesses, much of it free. Through more than 350 offices around the country and online services, thousands of retired and active business professionals volunteer their time with SCORE providing confidential advice on starting, running and growing businesses. For established businesses, SCORE offers counseling on topics such as customer service, marketing, and hiring practices.

SBA: The SBA (Small Business Administration) is known for the loan guarantees it provides to banks like ours to lend to small businesses, but the SBA also has amazing resources for entrepreneurs, starting with the Starting & Managing section of its website.

IRS: A basic understanding of taxes will help you and your business in the long run. And believe it or not, the IRS wants to help. The agency has a Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center online with plenty of information for new or established entrepreneurs. An especially valuable resource is its state-by-state directory of events. Whether you are a farm labor contractor in California’s Central Valley or self-employed with questions about the home office deduction or looking for guidance on choosing a tax consultant, this resource center can help.

NBIA: Maybe you need resources, such as office space, to nurture your business in its early months. That’s where a business incubator can help. Business incubators are established as a means of meeting a variety of local economic and socioeconomic policy needs, which may include but are not limited to business creation and retention, creating jobs and wealth, fostering a community’s entrepreneurial climate, encouraging women or minority entrepreneurship, or community revitalization. The National Business Incubation Association has more than 2,100 members around the world. Included on its website is a directory of member incubators to help you find resources close to you.

NAWBO: This organization is designed to provide support to women-owned businesses to overcome the challenges that some women-owned businesses face. A study last spring, for example, found that men start their businesses with an average of 80% more capital than women — $135,000 vs. $75,000. The National Association of Women Business Owners offers tips and information as well as events to help women in business grow and succeed.

I think the above are great resources, and perhaps you know of others you can recommend and add in the comments section below.

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