Three amazing, free business resources to build a profitable business

Whether you’ve been in business for a while now or you’re just beginning, you may have come to the realization that finding resources to build up your business can be challenging and sometimes overwhelming.

On one end of the spectrum, many small business owners I know have been through a season in their businesses where it seems like they can’t find the right resources to grow their businesses, and on the other end of the spectrum, after being in business for a while, it can seem like there are way too many resources to sift through.

In an effort to share just a few high-quality resources that are full of amazing information on how to build a powerful business, I am sharing this list of resources that can support your business vision whether you haven’t yet made a profit or you’re running a multi-million dollar enterprise and looking to grow. Though the resources below are all associated with the U.S. Small Business Administration, they all offer unique information, tools, and insight on what it takes to be successful in business.

1 – SCORE

For 50 years, SCORE has helped small businesses launch, grow, and achieve their goals. This nonprofit’s work is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and offers:

  • FREE in-person, email, or video-based business mentoring from experts in 62 industries,
  • FREE business tools, templates, and strategies through a comprehensive online database, and
  • Low-cost or free business workshops offered both online or in-person

How I recommend you use it: 

  • Spend ample time exploring every facet of this website.
  • Schedule a regularly occurring time to check out some of the webinars or online training available on the site as well, especially those related to areas of business that you believe are priorities for you.
  • One tool on this website that I believe can be a critical, helpful tool for your business are the mentors. I suggest spending time really researching any prospective mentor you connect with whether that’s the in-person mentor you’re assigned to or e-mentors available on the site for you to reach out to. Ensure the mentor you choose to work with long-term is one that you can connect with and that serves you best when it comes to your business growth. You’ll find individuals with decades of industry expertise who are all willing to support you and your business–a priceless tool that can be hard to find. Take advantage of it!

The SCORE website is: https://www.score.org/

2 – The Small Business Administration (SBA)

Check out the SBA website and you’ll find a plethora of resources associated with starting a business, managing a business, getting loans and grants, and contracting. You’ll find templates, presentations, explanations and more–so much so that one could probably spend months and months exploring the content on this site alone. It’s definitely a comprehensive resource, and if you’re in business, the more you understand business at its core, the more equipped you’ll be to be successful. Since 1953, the SBA “has also given out millions of loans, guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions, and other forms of assistance to small businesses” according to the SBA website.

How I recommend you use it: 

  • Spend ample time exploring every facet of this website.
  • Check out the media available on the website and schedule time to work through the resources there that are most critical to your business.
  • Under the “Local Assistance” tab, determine which local SBA Office(s) and Resource Partner(s) are most relevant to you and what support you need and take advantage of those in-person resources.
  • If you’re thinking about seeking business funds or becoming a contractor, review all resources under the “Loans & Grants” or “Contracting” sections and/or schedule time to get one-time or ongoing support from an SBA staff member.

The SBA website is: https://www.sba.gov/

3 – Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)

Hundreds of SBDCs are located throughout the United States, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rica, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each center has advisors who provide aspiring small business owners and current small business owners with free and low-cost resources. According to the SBDC website, their areas of training and support include:

  • business plan development,
  • manufacturing assistance,
  • financial packaging and lending assistance,
  • exporting and importing support,
  • disaster recovery assistance,
  • procurement and contracting aid,
  • market research help,
  • 8(a) program support, and
  • healthcare guidance.

How I recommend you use it: 

  • Take advantage of the free training you can get from qualified, veteran experts in the areas above by scheduling time to meet with an SBDC representative. You can even use the meeting to help you think through what your areas of focus should be in your business as you seek to launch or grow. Ensure that whoever you choose to get support from is a good fit and that you feel that you are gaining practical insight and experiencing forward movement in your business through your sessions. Schedule time for ongoing support as part of your professional development as a business owner.
  • Another approach you can take is to take the time to analyze the areas of growth in your business, and then develop a plan to prioritize certain areas of development in your business so that when you reach out to an SBDC representative, you’ll maximize the value of your time with that individual.
  • Set aside time to implement the strategies and tools you gain from each session with your SBDC contact.

The SBDC website is: https://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/sbdc

There is an African proverb that states, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”  Why not take advantage of experts who are ready to support you as you move towards the dreams and goals that you hope to achieve in business? All of these resources were super helpful to me in my business, and I’m continuing to utilize them as I grow and expand my coaching practice. My hopes for you are that, at minimum, you take a look at each resource and see what might be helpful to you as an aspiring or current business owner if you haven’t already explored these sites. And hopefully, you’ll find them as valuable as I did!

As always, if you found this post helpful, please share it with colleagues, friends, and family who you think might benefit from it.

Also, feel free to comment below or email me at daphne@daphnevalcin.com with any thoughts you have on this post!

Photo credit: Rayi Christian Wicaksono 

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