Starting a business can be an overwhelming proposition. It’s exciting to get out there on your own and try to make your dream a reality. However, sometimes it can be a little scary — especially if you don’t know where to start. Before you decide to take the plunge, it can help to have a little more information. Here are some places you can go to find help as you start a business:
Advice and Information
It can help to have some advice and information about starting a business. Learn more about business practices, developing a business plan, and other important items before you begin:
- Small Business Administration: This is a great resource if you want to learn more about what it takes to start a business, and tips for managing a business. And, of course, the SBA can help you with financing via loans and grants.
- SCORE: If you are looking for a mentor, this might be the place to go. You can get free meetings online or even face to face. There are also workshops and events you can sign up to attend. It’s a great place to learn from others.
- Association of Small Business Development Centers: You can sign up for seminars and workshops related to different aspects of running a business. Many of these events are low cost — or even free. Partnerships with colleges help keep the costs down, and provide you to access to helpful resources.
And, of course, you can also look around locally. See if your Chamber of Commerce offers workshops or mentoring. You can also look at your local library for books and other resources related to business management.
Funding for Your Business
Of course, no business idea can get off the ground without proper funding. Look for money to help you out can be a bit of a challenge. You can apply for help through the SBA, of course, and even check with local lenders, or borrow from friends and family. However, there are some interesting funding sources out there, thanks to the prevalence of the Internet:
- Kickstarter: This web site is a microloan site for small businesses. One of my friends actually got some money to fund his business using Kickstarter. Share your great idea, and your plan to make it work, and attract the funding you need from multiple donors.
- Kiva: One of the more recent ventures from microloan giant Kiva is a small business program in the U.S. In a partnership with Visa, you can look for funding for your small business.
- RocketHub: Another crowdfunding source that can allow you to get help starting up your enterprise.
- Quirky: If you don’t mind paying to submit an idea, you can use this site, which helps you get feedback on different ideas, from naming to design, while providing you a way to raise capital to have your product produced.
Of course, it’s important to have a solid idea and a good business plan. No one wants to risk their money for something that won’t work, or on a business owner that doesn’t have an idea of what they want to do.
Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.