So, you’ve got a great idea, a little capital saved up, and are considering starting your own business. Now what? Over the next 4 weeks my blog is going to focus on key resources that all small business owners/management employees should be taking advantage of.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration there are almost 28 million small businesses in the United States. The SBA defines small business as an enterprise having less than 500 employees. Of the 28 million or so “small businesses” in the country, roughly 22 million of those are single or self-employed businesses- meaning the only employee is the business owner. Each month throughout America, over 543,000 business start and a larger number shut down. The first year can be especially daunting for the small business owner.
I think that one of the best tools a business owner can arm himself/herself with is knowledge. Thanks (or maybe “no thanks”) to the world wide web, literally HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of articles, lists, how-tos, webinars, community events, professional coaches, and first-hand accounts are at your fingertips every day. The key becomes weeding through all that information to find what is truly worth your time. There are millions of websites out there that advertise themselves as “helpful to small businesses”, but a lot of the content is just junk. As someone who works closely with small businesses, I have a few recommendations that I like to use to help answer questions and give business owners a strong foundation for navigating some of the trickier parts of getting a business off the ground.
1. The U.S. Small Business Administration Website
The Small Business Administration was created in 1953 by President Eisenhower. SBA’s mission statement “to maintain and strengthen the nation’s economy by enabling the establishment and vitality of small businesses and assisting in the economic recovery of communities after disasters” details the commitment to providing assistance to entrepreneurs- what the SBA calls the “3 C’s”- capital, contracts, and counseling.
2. The Houston Chapter of SCORE
SCORE (Service Core of Retired Executives) is an excellent resource for small businesses. Similar to the SBA, SCORE’s main focus is on education for small businesses. You can request a meeting with a SCORE volunteer, or attend one of the many events sponsored by the organization.
3. UH Small Business Development Center/Ft. Bend Small Business Development Center
Like SCORE and the SBA, the SBDC (with chapters at U of H main campus, and in Ft. Bend County) is an excellent resource for educating small business owners. Offering cost-effective workshops that are targeted to the small business owner and consulting services similar to SCORE’s mentors.
4. The Hive – Katy
Without tooting our own horn too much, The Hive – Katy provides seminars for small business owners and entrepreneurs called the “Business Growth Series”. By partnering with successful professionals in the Houston and Katy area, The Hive is able to bring low-cost educational presentations to the Katy community. Bonus – most of the presentations are held conveniently during the lunch hour so it’s easy to squeeze into your busy schedule!
Taking advantage of these (mostly) free resources is an excellent way to expand your knowledge when you are just getting a business started. Paying high cost consultants, or taking extensive business courses can work for some- but I like to exhaust all my free options before having to open up my checkbook.
Check back with us next week because I’m going to be giving you some great information on FREE or LOW COST webinars that you can do at your own pace and from your couch…..
Don’t forget to check out our next event created for small business owners and entrepreneurs in our Business Growth series – tomorrow, August 12, 2015 from 11:30-1pm. Suzette Cotto of Innovate Social Media will present on how to use LinkedIn to market and promote your business! Suzette has worked with CEO’s, entrepreneurs and small business owners to fine tune networking and marketing skills on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a business social media platform that enables you to develop relationships around the clock. As a small business owner or entrepreneur – you don’t want to miss out on this event – it will give you relevant and focused information to help you grow your business in Katy, Texas and beyond!
The Hive offers flexible and affordable executive suites and other business resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs in Katy, Texas. We specialize in providing small business owners and entrepreneurs the resources needed to grow and expand their business. Whether you need office or coworking space or a virtual receptionist our modern and contemporary feel will impress you and prospective clients. For more information, please call (281) 849-4130.