SWM is not just about relevant articles to help inspire creativity, inform and educate about the world but also about how we became a successful platform to inspire and encourage others to create their own business. If there’s one thing that we learned, it’s not about the end goal, it’s about the process which is why we try to be transparent about how our site evolves and is put together so you can see the amount of work and time it takes to put something worth something valuable for others. Business isn’t something that’s an isolated bubble but a way to give back to others by providing goods or services to others and creating an item or action of value. Whether it is tangible or in our case invaluable knowledge, you give back to society. Like giving people treats on Halloween?
Here we highlight a few great resources that are invaluable to starting a business.
SCORE is a nonprofit organization that offers free business mentoring services to already established businesses and business owners or to new up and coming businesses within the U.S. Most of their services offered are from volunteers. They are either active or retired business executives and entrepreneurs. They also offer some free workshops online, HOWEVER in some cases SOME educational workshops are PAID. Be aware of the PAID part. These may be offered offline and in some cases there may be occurrences of paid online seminars.
They tout their mission statements as a way to create thriving business communities through education and mentoring by giving back and providing necessary support.
They are relatively easy to get a hold of initially and you can contact them through SCORE.org where they will set you up for a business mentor and contact but really since they are volunteers it is up to YOU as the business owner to keep up and keep in contact and follow through. It was hard to set up meetings because they only work during the work week and they had some problems with updating their homepage and Facebook pages to make them sync initially.
They also only offer mentoring services usually locally and if you are in a different city will help you initially in pairing up with someone and initial consulting but really want you to talk to a local chapter.
Some services they offer include writing business plans, developing products, brainstorming marketing strategies and helping to hire and recruit staff. You can usually reach them through email or a phone call away. They also offer webinars, conferences and downloadable templates and tools and only logs of web content
The Small Business Administration also provides support to small businesses and entrepreneurs. They have a mission statement of helping the country’s economy by setting up small businesses as well as helping the recovery of the economy in communities after disasters. They deal with Counseling, contracts and capital.
One of the big things they do is offer or facilitate loans through local lenders that partner with the SBA. This provides a government-backed guarantee on the loan. It also allows government contracts with small business.
They offer offices in each state in the U.S.
The SBDC allows free business advice, information and education to prospective aspiring entrepreneurs. They bring on organizations to offer insight on business and also give presentations on job development.
They are a development program that is funded through a combination of SBA and stat support through matching grants. Sometimes these SBDCs are located at or in community colleges or universities and other entrepreneur centers.
Some other useful places include WBC and VBOC
WBC or Women’s Business Centers is a group of nonprofit educational centers throughout the U.S. that get funding in part through SBA support. They help women start and grow their businesses but they offer their services to everyone. They offer training and financing as well. They were created to represent those in the under represented minority that need economic assistance.
VBOC is the Veterans Business Outreach Center which gives grants and other assistive agreements and provide assistance to businesses operated and owned by veterans and their family.
There are also Business Development programs that fall under the 8(a) classification that are considered minorities. Often to apply to certain programs you have to prove the financial or social disadvantage. However if you are Black, Asian, Hispanic or Native American then you don’t have to prove this.