What happens when you have an innovative business idea, but do not know where to start? Where can you go and find the best resources, people, vendors, partners to help your small business get off the ground? Otherwise, you are a small business owner. It is an exciting time of the year. Whether you want to launch a new product or service, expand into new territory or just prepare your business with some extra cash.
You may be wondering where to start, when it comes to finding resources that will help your small business grow. This guide has all the information you need to effectively find and use resources to get your business up and running at all. Here are some of our favorite sources of information to help you to make your successful startup and find what you need to succeed.
#1 Choosing The Right Tool For Small Business
Regardless of whether you are a service-based or product-based business, it is important to identify your most essential tool. Sometime that will help you to keep track of what you are doing every day. For some companies, that tool is a calendar. Others need a spreadsheet or good old pen and paper. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, making sure that you always have access to your core tool is critical to staying organized and productive.
#2 Websites To Search
There are many search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing are a good place to start. In addition, check out online business trade magazines and organizations. They often have websites with small business resources or blogs that may be interest. If you do not have time to search what is available online, ask a librarian at your local library or college. They can point you in the right direction of local and international resources as well as suggest certain types of sources you might be interested in looking at.
Another resource is SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) an organization dedicated to helping people to start businesses and existing business owners with financial management issues, decision making, employee training programs and problem solving.
#3 The Best Resources From Libraries
Libraries and bookstores are great places to start when researching your small businesses. If you are trying to get in touch with an industry expert, a local bookstore is probably your best bet. You will have books and everything from business plans to finance. To marketing and operations management. The beauty of doing research at a bookstore is that all of their resources are available at no cost and no need for internet connection. Some libraries even have free WiFi and offer discounts for library cardholders, so look into what resources your Lacan library has available before heading there.
#4 Trade Associations And Organizations
If you are looking for an easy way to find small business resources, look no further that trade associations and organizations. These groups make up a significant portion of business resources and many offer networking opportunities, educational programs, advocacy efforts and more.
If you are not sure where to start, try reaching out directly or performing an online search with keywords like small business resources or small business organizations. While there are plenty of groups that come up in searches, be sure that what you are signing up for is worth your time. When researching organizations take advantages of Google’s ability to give you reviews from others who have been involved in those specific associations.
#5 Directories And Guides
There are many directories and guides out there that can help you to find other small businesses. In general, they are meant to serve as a guide in your research rather than an exhaustive list of possibilities. If you can not find what you need on these, then do a bit more research and search online with relevant keywords. Also do not forget to ask your community, even though you may be operating somewhere else, chances are good that someone will know about similar businesses nearby.
Finally, consider joining networking groups like trade associations or chambers of commerce, although they are not meant specifically for finding services or resources. There is a good chance that your peers have done business with someone who can help by connecting you with people and companies who can meet your needs.
#6 Trade Shows And Events
It is also important to think about where you want your business and brand to be in one year, five years and ten years. Think about trade shows and events that could provide exposure. In order to create a successful business, you must set goals and work towards them. Then it is time to start researching what resources are available that can help you to achieve those goals.
Trade shows can be an excellent source of leads and connections if you are looking for both wholesale customers as well as retailers. However, they do cost money so keep that in mind when budgeting your expenses. When deciding on a trade show or event look at what your goals are, it may not make sense right now, but looking down the road may determine if now is a good time or not.
#7 Local Resources
Knowing where to go and when to get resources for your small business is one of those details that might slip through the cracks. It is easy to get so wrapped up in other aspects of running a business that you forget about some of its foundational pieces like where you can find a lease or laminating machine on short notice. Here are some of good resources to keep handy, Local Chamber of Commerce. These organizations offer networking opportunities as well as guides and information on local businesses, resources and more. They are also great places to search if you need recommendations on local vendors, including printers, movers and more.
#8 Online Forums And Newsgroups
Often overlooked by new entrepreneurs, online forums and newsgroups can be an invaluable resource for any entrepreneur. They provide a venue where you can get your questions answered directly from people in your industry or community. And when we say your industry, we do not just mean whether you are starting a restaurant or a marketing agency. We are talking about anything that involves more than one person. There are online forums and newsgroups out there just waiting to hear from someone like you. Do not worry, if you are not sure where to start. Many of these communities are busting with helpful members who will point you in the right direction.
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