5 Resources to Help You Start a Small Business

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The recession has been a catalyst for some people to start their own businesses. With no luck finding a job, some folks cultivated their entrepreneurial spirit and created one for themselves. Here is a touching piece from Story Corps of a couple who worked hard and started a business when they couldn’t find work: A Real-Life Nick And Nora Charles, Hot On Love’s Trail. I guess necessity really is the mother of invention.

Maybe you have an idea for a business but need more guidance in order to launch it. Below, I’ll outline resources to help your new business take off.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA.gov)

According to the SBA’s mission statement, they help Americans start, build and grow businesses. Their resources are vast; It’s a place where you can find information about government grants, regulations you need to consider as well as information about hiring employees. Here is an SBA article about understanding your unemployment benefits as you think about starting your own business.

SCORE (score.org)

This organization has 348 offices all over the nation and is supported by the SBA. They have counselors available who have experience owning and running a business of their own as well as resources to assess if your idea is viable, develop a business plan and apply for a small business loan. They also offer low-cost workshops on business topics ranging from marketing to accounting.

Local Chamber of Commerce

This is a group of business people in a community that tries to promote business locally. They often hold public events that are opportunities for networking and community involvement. Don’t forget other local resources in your community such as the public library or community college that might offer affordable classes to help you acquire needed skills.

Trade Associations

Nearly all industries have one and most have several. These organizations can be a helpful resource to learn more about the different avenues within your industry of interest as well as network with people who are already established in a given industry. Some offer mentorship or internship programs.

Incubators

Depending on the industry you are trying to enter and the scale of your business, an incubator program might be the right resource for you.  These are organizations that offer different forms of help ranging from strengthening management and networking to raise capital. Each one is structured differently and usually has an industry focus. More on incubators can be found at entrepreneur.com.

Of course, you can also play for the $50,000 Start Your Business prize on SaveUp while you work on your business plan; $50k towards your new business can go a long way!

Another interesting site worth checking out is Kickstarter, an online funding platform for creative projects. You can see what other innovators are working on and back any projects you think are worthwhile.

It’s exciting to know that some people facing unemployment are taking an active approach and investing in themselves. There certainly are challenges to becoming an entrepreneur, and I hope these resources give you the tools you need to get started and ultimately succeed.

This post was written by SaveUp’s personal finance contributing writer, Catherine Hawley, CFP®.

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Written by Catherine Hawley

Catherine is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (TM) who offers accessible and objective financial advice to individuals and families. Her aim is to help clients gain clarity and confidence so they can pursue their definition of financial success. You can find more information about her independent practice at www.catherinehawley.com. She has worked at Rhodes & Fletcher, LLC as a Personal Benefits Specialist and at the firms of Bernstein Global Wealth Management and Barclayʼs Global Investors. Catherine has a bachelors degree in communication studies from the University of California, Los Angeles where she was a scholarship athlete and captain of the womenʼs tennis team.