When it comes to the Small Business Administration, everyone’s a critic – whether they’re a small business owner or not. Most recently, the SBA was in the news for its latest announcement that it would set aside 5 percent of its contracts for female-owned businesses.
The government entity was criticized for taking so long to create the policy (seven years when it was ordered by Congress to create the rules in 2000). But when more people actually looked at the policy, it sparked outrage because only four industries were pointed out as preferred for contracts for female-owned businesses. National security and furniture cabinet manufacturing were among the small list of categories.
This little anecdote exemplifies the long-standing joke many small business owners see the federal government as when it comes to entrepreneurs receiving help to get their business off the ground or expand.
However, if you’re one of the many who do want to own a successful business, there’s no need to despair. Try not to look at the downside of things and eventually you will persevere – after all perseverance is one of the top characteristics of an entrepreneur.
No to mention, the federal government actually does offer quite a bit to help you on your way to the world of being your own boss via several information vehicles. You just have to take the initiative to look up and peruse this information for yourself.
To begin with, the Small Business Administration is a great starting point. If you need help navigating the agency, try firstname.lastname@example.org and you can ask any questions you want about its programs.
The SBA’s web site will be able to get you in touch with local resources, can offer you a wealth of reading material on starting a business and can also set you up with free, online entrepreneurially courses to have you on your way.
SCORE, which prides itself as being “Counselors to America’s Small Business Owner,” is a resource partner to the SBA and also offers a lot of information. Additionally, there are local chapters of SCORE that can pair you up with a professional to get free consultation about your business. You can also work with another professional in the industry you are entering via e-mail as well. The web site, www.score.org offers information including easy to digest articles on starting your business, financing your business and making it grow.
The organization also offers workshops with topics ranging from writing a business plan to marketing. All of the workshops are low cost compared to many private offerings on the same subject. Remember, knowing as much about what you are getting into, is just as important as having the financing to back you up. Sometimes making the loan the only point in your start-up endeavors is not always the most important point to consider (that’s not to say it isn’t important at all, however).
If tax matters are at the heart of all your worry over your small business, no need to despair, check IRS.gov for basic information. Before you start laughing, the Internal Revenue Service’s web site is not as difficult to navigate as you may think, and it actually has a section catering to the small business owner.
In addition, the IRS has online “mini” courses that will help you understand basic concepts of tax law you will need to know as an entrepreneur. Plus, the web site offers you updates to tax law, which you definitely need to keep informed on (especially when the IRS has been ramping up its resources that look into small business owners and making sure they pay all of their taxes during tax time).
Already thinking global? Well, the Kauffman Foundation and the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration partnered with www.entrepreneurship.gov to help small business with financing, counseling and expanding across the global marketplace.
Though still a bit new, check out the “Resources” tab to be linked with all sorts of organizations that are also around to help you on your way to being successful.