By Deanna Parmenter
When I wanted to start my first business, I didn’t have a clue how to market it or get financing or even what rules I had to comply with. Unfortunately, I am not alone. Many great ideas die before they even get off the ground because of lack of knowledge on where to start.
The federal government offers a wonderful resource known as the Small Business Administration, or SBA. The web site offers articles and links to other resources that include help with:
Writing a business or marketing plan
Finding a mentor or counselor
How to set up the books of your business
Local resources available in your area
Licenses and permits required
Business laws and regulations
How to grow your business
And many other topics
The SBA also offers Small Business Develop Centers (SBDCs) where you can meet with someone in person to discuss your business. Services are free and confidential, but the SBDCs also offer low cost training and education when additional support is needed. The Houston area office is located on the University of Houston campus.
In my own business, I needed help mainly with the marketing aspect since I had no experience in marketing a business. The person at the SBDC office reviewed my entire business plan and helped me build a marketing plan that would work for my business. In one meeting. For free.
Finally, the SBA offers an additional service through SCORE, a network of retired business leaders who volunteer their time to help aspiring business owners. You can use your SCORE volunteer as a mentor to contact whenever you have a question, or as someone who can comment on an idea you have, or any number of other reasons you might need help.
Taking advantage of the resources that the SBA has to offer should be part of any potential business owner’s plan.
If you have experience with the SBA or have other ideas where to find similar resources, please post a comment and share your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you.
Coming up in the next few blogs, we’ll talk about some basic accounting terms that are commonly misunderstood. If you have a specific question or want an explanation of an accounting concept, post your comments and I will do my best to answer your question.