Small-business owners and entrepreneurs are the backbone of the economy. Running a business can be a difficult path to take, but small-business owners aren't alone. Plenty of organizations, websites, and magazines offer advice and resources that entrepreneurs and small-business owners can take advantage of to network and grow their businesses.
General Entrepreneurship and Small-Business Resources
- Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship: The OIE manages the Build to Scale (B2S) program that allocates grant money to small-business owners and entrepreneurs.
- IPR Awareness Assessment Tool: As a small-business owner, do you know how to best protect your intellectual property rights? Measure your IPR awareness here.
- Finding and Approaching a Venture Capitalist: Learn how to approach a venture capital firm and get the funds you need to expand your small business.
- National Venture Capital Association: The NVCA lobbies for policies that improve the national business climate for entrepreneurs.
Small-Business Marketing Resources
Marketing is an important tool for small-business owners, who may struggle to compete with national chains.
- Sales and Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses: Develop your marketing plan and decide how you'll accept payments from your customers.
- American Marketing Association: The American Marketing Association offers virtual training and webinars for entrepreneurs wishing to better their marketing skills.
- The Ingredients of a Marketing Plan: Successful marketing plans are based on accurate information and correctly analyze market threats and opportunities.
- The Importance of Digital Marketing: Businesses large and small can reach more customers through digital marketing.
- Eight Steps for Marketing Your Business: Follow these steps to get the word out about your new business.
- Marketing to the U.S. Defense Department: Marketing to the federal government is a specific niche, and it's crucial to differentiate yourself from other bidders to get a government contract.
Small-Business Industry Groups
Small-business industry groups target business owners working in particular sectors, such as retail or farming.
- International Council for Small Business: The ICSB is the largest global organization for the promotion of small and medium-sized businesses.
- Entrepreneurs' Organization: The Entrepreneurs' Organization gives entrepreneurs from around the world a space to connect and lift each other up through its peer-to-peer network.
- National Small Business Association: The NSBA represents small businesses before Congress and advocates on behalf of business owners.
- National Restaurant Association: The National Restaurant Association fights for the interests of businesses in the food service industry.
- National Retail Federation: The National Retail Federation represents retail businesses, which make up the largest sector of the American economy.
- Farm Foundation: The Farm Foundation links business owners and stakeholders working in the agricultural industry.
Entrepreneurship and Small-Business Publications, Blogs, and Podcasts
Keep up with the latest trends by following top business publications and other media.
- Inc. Magazine : Inc. is focused on small-business owners and was founded in 1979.
- Small Business Trends: Small Business Trends is a digital magazine that has been in existence for more than 15 years.
- BizSugar: BizSugar is a free online community offering courses, webinars, and collaboration opportunities to small-business owners.
- Small Biz Survival: Small Biz Survival is a blog geared toward business owners in small towns and rural areas.
- Ambitious Entrepreneur : Annemarie Cross assists budding entrepreneurs in launching their own businesses in this podcast.
- How I Built This : How I Built This is a podcast in which NPR host Guy Raz interviews successful entrepreneurs about how they managed to build and sustain their businesses.
Resources on How to Write Business Plans and Grant Proposals
Writing business plans and grant proposals is important because these tools can help you bring in money to start up and run your business.
- How to Write a Business Plan: Check out this detailed guide to writing a business plan.
- Essential Elements of a Winning Business Plan: A good business plan addresses the needs of the investors and makes reasonable projections for the future.
- Eight-Step Guide to Writing a Business Plan: Draft the executive summary and company description before explaining the financial details.
- How to Write a Business Grant Proposal: Strong business grant proposals have a compelling executive summary and match the grant requirements.
- Guide to Writing a Great Federal Grant Proposal: Raise your chances of receiving a federal grant with this advice.
- 11 Steps for Writing a Grant Proposal: Grab your share of the free money waiting out there for entrepreneurs launching startups.
Small-Business Resources for Women and Minorities
Women and minorities can face unique challenges concerning inclusion and access to resources.
- Women's Business Enterprise National Council: The WBENC certifies and advocates for businesses that are at least 51% female-owned, -operated, -controlled, and -managed.
- Women's Business Development Center: The WBDC encourages women's economic participation through small-business ownership and entrepreneurship.
- Minority Business Development Agency: The MBDA is the only federal agency that specifically aims to promote competitive minority-owned businesses.
- Latino Business Action Network: The LBAN supports Latino entrepreneurs through forming a network of Latino business owners who earn annual profits in excess of $1 million annually.
- Arab American Women's Business Council: For more than a decade, the Arab American Women's Business Council has provided internships and professional employment opportunities for Arab American women.
Small-Business Resources for the Disabled
Disabled people can face unique challenges in starting and running a business, but with a little support, they can achieve business success.
- Starting a Business for the Hearing-Impaired: Here are some ways that deaf individuals can become business owners.
- Telework Loans for Assistive Technology: Assistive technology loans can help people with disabilities to work from home.
- Chamber of Commerce for Persons With Disabilities: This organization tries to improve outcomes for businesses owned by individuals with disabilities.
- Blind in Business: Three blind people launched this organization to encourage the integration of the blind into the workplace and as entrepreneurs.
- Starting a Business, Aspie-Style: Read this firsthand account to learn tips for autistic entrepreneurs.