Few people in life manage to start a new business without any help or training from others. In fact, it’s often considered strange that some people wish to go it alone, as it were!
Believe it or not, there is a plethora of support out there for new entrepreneurs; it’s just a case of finding out what’s available. While there are some options open to people living in certain areas, the following examples apply to new startups wherever they are in the country.
The U.S. SBA (Small Business Administration) website
It turns out that our government offers plenty of practical and actionable help to people new to entrepreneurism! For a start, there is the sba.gov website, which is the home of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Visitors to the SBA website can find an array of free online courses that cover a multitude of subjects. Examples include the basics of starting a business through to managing and financing it.
Also, the SBA also provide some local business workshops at a variety of locations across the country. While many are free, there are some workshops where you may need to pay a small, nominal fee. The SBA also has a partnership with a non-profit organization called SCORE that provides training and mentoring services.
The BusinessUSA website
Another really useful federal government website is BusinessUSA. The site serves as a “portal” to help startups find the resources they need without having to navigate tens of other federal sites.
It’s a one-stop platform that allows people to discover training, support, and events that are relevant to them and their location. The website, located at business.usa.gov, also features stories to help inspire new entrepreneurs. For example, one can read articles on how people turned ideas into profitable businesses, including interviews with the entrepreneurs behind the brands.
The website also provides help for veterans that want to start their own firm. Plus, there is also a valuable section on government contracting. That means you can find out how your enterprise could sell its products and services to local or federal government departments!
Some of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs are also happy to share their tips and knowledge on starting a business. Most of the training webinars are free, although some require you to subscribe (i.e. pay) for further training.
Still, even if you are only looking at free training resources, the content available without a subscription is extremely useful to follow and digest. Many successful entrepreneurs also offer one-to-one mentoring and classroom-based workshops.
Go back to college
College might be the last place you’d think about learning to start a business. But, they can often be excellent sources of help! Most of the courses offered by colleges are available through e-learning platforms, but some are available to those that wish to attend physical classes.
Federal research and development grants for developing prototypes
Let’s face it; there aren’t many business ideas in life where you don’t have to invest any money. Depending on the type of enterprise, it can sometimes be a challenge to raise all the money you need to start trading. Fortunately, it is possible to get some financial help and not need to pay it back!
It’s important to point out that government grants aren’t available solely to help a business start trading. However, it’s possible to get one if your startup is involved with medical and scientific research or even conservation.
You could also apply for a grant through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. If you want to launch a new business and develop an innovative prototype, you could get the funding you need for research and development!
With the grant money, you can then put the cash towards getting help from leading industry experts to create a marketable product.
The business world is awash with networking events. That’s because entrepreneurs and successful industry professionals love to socialize! If you’ve never been to a networking event, prepare to be amazed!
Networking events are excellent ways to introduce yourself and your new brand to potential clients and suppliers. You can also use such events to learn more about your industry and to seek out additional sources of help and support.
For instance, you may find a company willing to provide you help in one area of your business in return for helping them in a field where you have particular expertise.
Another way that networking events can be useful is that they often feature prominent industry guest speakers. Attending networking events allows you to learn more about your niche and determine who could help you further develop your startup.
Although many seminars are not free, they offer plenty of value for money. Industry or niche market seminars allow you to develop your skills. If you lack knowledge in a certain field, the skills you learn can help you to get a step closer to launching your new business.
Seminars often contain workshops that cover a broad range of topics; some of them are general, while others may focus on one particular subject. It’s highly likely that you will find an industry seminar near to your location.
You can also use seminars as a way to network with other established and future business leaders like yourself.
While the Internet contains a wealth of information, there’s still plenty of help and support available in the offline world too. One example that might seem surprising is a visit to your local library!
Libraries contain a vast selection of books covering various aspects of business and entrepreneurism. Because you often have a long time to borrow them, you won’t need to spend lots of money buying brand new copies that you may only read once.
Another use for libraries is research. They contain a lot of resources to help you learn more about your local area, such as census information. Libraries offer more than books; they offer a wealth of opportunities for savvy entrepreneurs!