There are many free resources for small business owners to help you start, grow, and manage your business.
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Where to get help
As a small business, you’re an important part of the economy. Not only do small businesses generate revenue, but they also create jobs.
According to the Small Business Administration, there are 30.7 million small businesses in the U.S. They also employ 47.3% of all U.S. employees.
That said, starting and growing a business isn’t easy, especially if you haven’t done it before or have guidance.
Mentorship and learning as much as you can help you make the right decisions, and avoid learning the hard way.
There are plenty of resources online and in-person that exist to help you succeed. Learn what they are so that you can use them to grow your business.
List of free resources for small business owners
The following are free resources that can be beneficial to you and your business:
1. Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA is a government agency that was created in 1953 to support small businesses in America.
It provides education and guidance for every step that you’ll take as a small business owner. From making a plan and launching your business, to managing and expanding it.
If you have questions about getting funding, grants, federal contracting, counseling, or would like local assistance, the SBA is one of the best resources.
2. SCORE Association
Founded in 1964, SCORE is a nonprofit organization that has over 13,000 volunteers that serve as counselors, advisors, and mentors.
SCORE has helped more than 11 million entrepreneurs through mentoring, workshops and education.
You can find a mentor to work with in-person or online. The best part is that the mentors are experienced in all aspects, and stages of business development.
Aside from mentoring, you can attend local workshops, webinars, take online courses, or read their resource page. It’s one of the best free resources for small business owners in the U.S.
Writing a business plan doesn’t have to mean starting from scratch. That can be time-consuming, and you might not even know where to start.
Instead, use Bplans for sample business plans and customize it to your business. You’ll find more than 500 samples and guides to help you craft the perfect one.
In addition to business plans, Bplans offers resources to help you with pitching and funding your small business.
4. IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center
If you have questions about taxes, starting, operating, or closing a business, the IRS has an online resource center to walk you through all of the details.
You’ll find information on the legal aspects of owning a business, forms, and resources to learn online.
5. MIT OpenCourseWare
Learn accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, management, and many other important skills for business from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
It publishes all of the educational materials from its undergraduate and graduate-level courses for free online. Along with business courses, you can also learn about many other topics.
6. The Ahrefs Blog and The Moz Blog
In a digital age, it’s essential for your small business to have an online presence. It’ll help you develop a strong brand, build credibility, and allow customers to explore the different products and services that you offer.
However, if you’re not showing up in search results, it’ll be unlikely that people will find you.
That’s where SEO comes in. It’ll help you rank higher in the search results, and bring more potential customers to your website.
7. United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
The USPTO is the agency that grants patents and trademarks. An important part of your small business will be the legal aspect, which includes patents and trademarks.
You’ll be able to learn about what they are, why you need them, and how to get one. It also shares information on different policies, both domestically and internationally.
8. International Trade Administration (ITA)
The International Trade Administration is a government agency that was launched in 1980. Its main purpose is to strengthen the competitiveness of the U.S. industry, promote trade and investment, and ensures fair trade.
It’s an excellent resource to learn about exporting, learning about foreign markets, getting financing, negotiating, shipping, and logistics.
The ITA also provides information on how to resolve export problems, and to comply with regulations.
9. SBA Women-Owned Businesses
If you’re a woman who’s just starting a business, the SBA created a resource dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs launch a new business and compete in the marketplace.
You’ll be able to get connected to training and funding opportunities that are exclusively for women.
10. Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
There are resources specifically for minorities, as well. The Minority Business Development Agency is one of the resources that promote the growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses.
Learn manufacturing, technology, innovation, operations, marketing, global markets, and many other topics from the MBDA.
11. International Franchise Association (IFA)
If you’re interested in owning a franchise, or learning about the process, the International Franchise Association can supply you with the information.
You can find franchises, suppliers, have access to resources, research, and understand international franchising.
12. Above the Fold by U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Above the Fold is a series by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that shares information and news that affect business owners. Keeping up with the latest will help you understand what might or might not affect you.
13. Social Media Examiner (SME)
Social Media Examiner is one of the top free resources for social media marketing. Social media is important for small businesses because it allows you to reach new customers and stay connected with current ones.
Frequently asked questions
Where do I get an EIN?
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is obtained from the IRS.
Where do I get a state business license?
To get a state business license, you’ll have to register with your state’s Department of Revenue. Requirements can vary by state, so visit their website to find out what applies to you.
How can I make my small business successful?
To be successful, your business needs to be well-rounded. Focus on excellent customer service, exceptional marketing, building a great environment, and well-managed finances.
The beginnings of being a small business owner can be an isolating and difficult journey without support. That’s why there are many resources to help you navigate your way to success. Better yet, there are plenty of free resources to make growing your business much smoother.
Featured image courtesy of Pexels.
Founder and Chief Editor
David Em is the Founder and Chief Editor of More Money More Choices. He launched the site in 2019 to empower individuals for financial health. David has a finance and leadership background. It enables him to share practical money management and growth tips and advice.