If you’re a small business owner the Small Business Administration website is a valuable online resource. Whether you’re a small business owner or you have a business administration degree, the SBA offers online tools that can help make running your business easier. Here’s a look at the top seven SBA tools available online for small businesses.
1. Build Your Business Plan –Your business plan is your roadmap to growing your business and a vital component if you are seeking outside financing. The SBA Build a Business Plan tool helps you to create a basic business plan. You can go online and build your plan in chunks by filling in the various templates. Each section of a business plan is covered including company description, marketing analysis and financial projections. Develop your plan over time and save your information confidentially and securely online. The SBA will keep your business plan on record for up to six months. You can save, download or email your plan at any time.
2. Size Up Your Competition – Accurate competitor analysis is a key part of determining your company’s place in the market. The new SBA Size-Up tool makes it easy to find your niche. Crunch millions of data points on your market and get reports and statistics about your business, market and competition. Just enter your industry, city, state and a few other details and let Size-Up do all the work.
3. Find Out Your Eligibility For Government Contracts – With three simple steps, and the SBA Size Standards tool you can know instantly if your company qualifies for government contracting opportunities. The SBA also offers training seminars and guides to help you learn how to register as a government contractor.
4. Business License and Permits Tool – All businesses require a license and many require special permits to conduct business. The SBA’s Business License and Permits tool makes compliance easy. Whether you run a small rural business or a major tech start-up, this SBA tool will help you comply with federal, state and local rules.
5. Find Funding to Grow Your Business – Funding your growing business can be frustrating. With the Loans and Grants tool, you can explore the many options open for government grants and loans. While the SBA does not explicitly offer start-up money to businesses, grant and loan money is available to a variety of specific groups and organizations. This SBA tool will help you to identify if you are eligible, and will also offer options for start-up funding.
6. Grow Your Business Through Exporting Your Goods – As the world’s markets open up and more countries develop a consumer class, there are tremendous growth opportunities around the world for many businesses. The SBA Export Business Planner can help you navigate the export waters. You can work through export readiness and planning with an easy to update document that you can reference as your export business grows.
7. SBA Events Calendar – SBA partners with many outside organizations to offer hundreds of training seminars and workshops across the country. The SBA Events Calendar allows you to plug in dates and your zip code to locate events in your geographic area. You can even filter by topic like “starting a business” or “business planning” for a more targeted list.
The SBA is an incredibly valuable resource for starting and running your business. These are only seven of the many tools offered for free on their website. It’s worth checking out, just visit www.sba.gov and have a look around. Your business will benefit and you’ll be glad you did!
Learn more about the SBA and running a business with a business degree from Minnesota School of Business!