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Getting the right information and knowing where to turn and who to ask are problems for every entrepreneur. On this page you will find solid, trusted sources of information that will help you.
Finding sources: Grants, Loans, And Investors
For many small companies the primary sources of funding will be from grants, loans, and investors. Each of these has pluses and minuses and it is important to learn which method of financing is best for you and your company. Loans need to be repaid, investors will need a part of your company (equity), while grants come with stipilations on how it can be spent. Learn more about the different sources of funding and where to find them.
There are a number of organizations that can help you with your business, including truly great organizations such as SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives). Typically, the people at SCORE are older folks with an entire career of experience they are willing to give away for free just to help you. In fact, they are prohibited from accepting compensation. There are many different types of careers and expertise represented in SCORE, and you can request a mentor with—for example—expertise in the automotive repair business. In fact, that is about the only challenge with SCORE. There is so much expertise in various fields, it can take a while to get to someone who knows your space—but it is totally worth it.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has a lot of resources you can easily access and read. This is a great government agency doing a truly remarkable job helping small business and fostering the entrepreneurial spirit. The SBA is a lot more than just loans. It is a lot of helpful information to take in, but worth the time. If you live in a city with a Small Business Development Center, you can walk in and get help. They are affiliated with the Small Business Administration and have folks who can direct you to other resources. Click the button to visit the SBA website with a map and contact information for these across the country.
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There is an amazing array of 122 free, usable downloadable forms from Office Depot—everything from template employee manuals (which you will need) to an income statement template in Excel (which you will need). BIG kudos for Office Depot for making all of this available for free, this is a great resource.
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For some entrepreneurs it is vitally important to know things about the market and their customers. The federal government has a great site with statistics and actual data about just about everything. It is a lot to take in, but click the button for a lot of free, very informative statistical data that can help you.
For those of you new to business, one of the common mistakes is bad communication; it can hurt you more than you know. There are some accepted norms on how to write, communicate, and relay information. This is more important than you may think it is. Click the button to visit the website with examples of correspondence.
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Start with these three books to build a strong foundation for growing a successful business. All are available on Amazon, however, click on the links below to purchase online from independent minority- and/or women-owned bookstores.
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