State and Local Small Business Resources
Whether you’re starting a new business or growing an existing business, these free resources will help you get started.
TRUiC's State and Local Business Resource Guides
Choose your state for a list of both state and local resources near you:
Small Business Association (SBA)
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a key resource for the small business community, providing a range of services to support the economic growth and development of small businesses. These include access to capital through loan guarantee programs, disaster assistance, and small business contracting programs.
The SBA provides educational resources and training programs that can help small business owners navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship. The SBA's support helps entrepreneurs overcome barriers to growth, from startup challenges to expansion hurdles, ensuring the success and sustainability of their businesses.
Small Business Development Centers
Working with a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides valuable access to expert business advice, training, and resources, all aimed at helping entrepreneurs succeed. Their services range from business planning to financial management, marketing, regulatory compliance, and much more.
By engaging with an SBDC, you can leverage their extensive networks of industry professionals and mentors to drive growth. SBDCs are particularly beneficial for those seeking financial resources, as they often assist with loan packaging, investor relations, and accessing government programs. Overall, they provide an invaluable resource for both emerging and established small businesses.
You can access the small business centers in your area by choosing your state from this list.
Free Resources from Federal Agencies
Federal agencies offer numerous free resources to aid new and existing businesses. Here are some of the main types:
- Information and Education: The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides free online courses on topics like starting a business, marketing, and government contracting. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also offers information on business rights and regulations.
- Mentorship and Advising: SCORE, a nonprofit partner of the SBA, offers free business mentoring and low-cost workshops. SBDCs and Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) provide free business consulting and low-cost training.
- Financial Assistance: The SBA provides information on small business loans, grants, bonds, and venture capital programs.
- Small Business Tax Questions: Understanding tax obligations is a vital part of running a successful business. The IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center offers comprehensive information and resources to navigate business taxes.
- Exporting Assistance: The Department of Commerce’s U.S. Commercial Service provides free export assistance programs, counseling, and market intelligence for businesses looking to expand into the global marketplace.
- Contracting Opportunities: The General Services Administration (GSA) offers information on how to get a GSA Schedule contract, allowing businesses to sell products and services to the government.
- Research and Development: The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs help small businesses engage in federal research and development.
- Statistical Data: The U.S. Census Bureau's Business and Economy program provides free access to business statistics, useful for market research and business planning.
- Patents and Trademarks: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provides resources for securing intellectual property rights.
Always remember to check with the respective agency or organization for the most accurate and current information. Each resource typically comes with its own set of eligibility requirements.
Resources for Starting a Business
Starting a business can feel like a lot, but there are resources to guide you through every step of the process. Here's a brief description of some key fo the key resources available to new business owners:
- Business Ideas: You know you want to start a business, but what kind of business should you start? Use TRUiCs free Business Idea Tool to find out what types of businesses best suit you. Or, take a look at this Small Business Ideas guide.
- Business Planning: A well-crafted business plan is the backbone of any successful venture. Use our Business Planning Guide to get started.
- Business Name: Selecting a suitable and unique business name is crucial. To help brainstorm business names and check to see if the domain name is available, use our Business Name Generator. Next, you’ll want to make sure the name is unique to your state by completing a business name search.
- Forming a Business Entity: Depending on your needs, you may form a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation. Our How to Choose a Business Structure guide will help you choose your business structure and understand the implications of each type of entity.
- Market Research: Understanding your customer base and market trends is vital. Resources like the Census Bureau can provide key demographics and economic indicators.
- Finance: You need funding to start and grow your business. We recommend building your business credit early on by opening net 30 accounts. Once businesses have established credit, they can apply for SBA loans and other types of low-interest business financing. Visit our How to Build Business Credit Fast guide to get started.
- Legal Requirements: Complying with federal, state, and local laws is non-negotiable. Look for legal advice from professionals and consider using tools like USA.gov's Business Laws and Regulations resource.
- Mentorship and Training: Organizations like SCORE and local Small Business Development Centers provide free mentorship and training services.
By leveraging these resources effectively, you can position your new venture for a successful start.
Business Resources FAQ
What are some key resources for starting a business?
The key resources for starting a business include financing options such as government grants and business loans, training and counseling programs, networking opportunities, and guidance on local regulations, taxes, and licensing requirements. Our comprehensive state-by-state resources can provide specific information relevant to your location.
What kind of help can I find from my local Chamber of Commerce?
Your local Chamber of Commerce can provide you with information about local regulations, networking opportunities, and sometimes even grant or funding opportunities. They are a valuable resource for connecting with your local business community and understanding your business environment.
What other online resources are available for small businesses?
There are plenty of online resources available to small business owners. TRUiC's Business Center is one. Other online tools include Coursera, Kaplan, LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, and YouTube.
How can I find grants or loans for my small business?
State and local governments often provide grants or loans to small businesses. You can find more information about these in our grant and business loan guides. Additionally, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has several loan programs for small businesses.
What kind of business training and counseling resources are available?
There are many organizations that offer training and counseling to small businesses, such as the Small Business Administration (SBA), SCORE, and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). These resources can help you develop a business plan, improve marketing and sales strategies, and navigate other aspects of running a business.
Where can I find resources for networking with other entrepreneurs?
Networking opportunities are often available through local chambers of commerce, industry-specific associations, and events. Online platforms such as LinkedIn can also be helpful in connecting with other entrepreneurs.
Where can I find resources for operating my business online?
Operating your business online is now a necessity rather than a choice. Google's Small Business Hub offers a range of tools to help businesses establish and optimize their online presence.
Other Resources for Small Businesses
National Women's Business Council
National Minority Supplier Development Council
USDA Rural Development Business Programs
Veteran Entrepreneur Portal