Starting a business is quite the endeavor. That’s not to say that it isn’t a fantastic and rewarding experience, however it is most certainly a large undertaking. When starting a business, new entrepreneurs should always seek expert advice. We’re all good at certain things and not so good at others. Starting a business requires skills and knowledge in a variety of areas including:

  • Financial Planning
  • Customer Service
  • Sales
  • Management
  • Systems and Processes
  • Marketing
  • Goal Setting
  • Administration
  • Technology
  • Business models
  • Contracts

As mentioned previously, we will be covering each of these topics during our 12-month Starting A Business 1-2-3 course, but with so much to learn and do, it is still advisable to find other people who have been there, who have experience starting a business, and who are experts or specialists in the areas listed above – for example, an accountant to help with budgeting and financial planning, and a lawyer to help with setting up your business structure and drafting or reviewing contracts.

While working with experts over the Internet is fine, it will usually be more beneficial for you to find experts locally. Here’s how:

  • Join your local Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of the Chamber of Commerce is to help local businesses connect, to share resources and knowledge. Chamber members often give free or low-cost workshops on certain aspects of running a business. For example, a marketing firm may give a workshop on how to grow your opt-in email list or how to optimize your website for better search engine rankings. An accounting firm may host a seminar on how to maximize your home office deductions and so forth. Chamber of Commerce members often give special deals and discounts to other members as an incentive to fulfill their other business needs locally, all of which benefits the community.
  • Contact your local SBA (Small Business Administration) office. Like the Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Administration exists to help people start their business and stay in business. They offer a variety of resources on successfully starting and running a small business, and members are committed to helping one another.
  • Check if your local community college or university offers free or low-cost continuing education classes. These are often taught by local experts, providing a level of geographical relevance that no online resource can offer.
  • Most states have a variety of resources in place for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Check with your Secretary of State, as they will have information about available programs and resources. Another place to contact is the Department of Labor, or your state’s equivalent. Many times, they offer programs for those who are unemployed or seeking a career change, including help for those wanting to start their own business.
  • Some states have an Economic Development Department within their governmental system. This department is responsible for creating programs within the state to promote economic growth. They may offer seminars and counseling, grant and loan programs, and many other useful resources to help those who are starting a business to get on their feet.
  • Small town banks are another place to find information and resources for business start-ups. As local banks have a greater interest in the local economy, they are more likely than a large, national banking company or lender to offer loans to small business start-ups. They know their neighborhoods and are very likely to find funding for you if you are providing a valuable service or filling a need within the community.
  • Check to see if there is a local networking group for small business owners or entrepreneurs in your community. By joining one of these networking organizations, you can get valuable information from other members who have walked in your shoes. Networking with others is one of the best ways to get information you might have missed, as well as drum up future business.

Excerpted from:

Starting A Business 1-2-3
The premier step-by-step interactive training system
for starting your business with confidence and clarity

Module 1: Research and Development