Getting the right information and knowing where to turn and who to ask are problems for every entrepreneur. On this page you will find solid, trusted sources of information that will help you.
Funding Sources: Grants, Loans, and Investors
For many small companies the primary sources of funding will be from grants, loans, and investors. Each of these has pluses and minuses and it is important to learn which method of financing is best for you and your company. Loans need to be repaid, investors will need a part of your company (equity), while grants come with stipulations on how it can be spent. Learn more about the different sources of funding and where to find them.More Info
There are a number of organizations that can help you with your business, including truly great organizations such as SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives). Typically, the people at SCORE are older folks with an entire career of experience they are willing to give away for free just to help you. In fact, they are prohibited from accepting compensation. There are many different types of careers and expertise represented in SCORE, and you can request a mentor with—for example—expertise in the automotive repair business. In fact, that is about the only challenge with SCORE. There is so much expertise in various fields, it can take a while to get to someone who knows your space—but it is totally worth it.
Small Business Services & Help
The U.S. Small Business Administration has a lot of resources you can easily access and read. This is a great government agency doing a truly remarkable job helping small business and fostering the entrepreneurial spirit. The SBA is a lot more than just loans. It is a lot of helpful information to take in, but worth the time. If you live in a city with a Small Business Development Center, you can walk in and get help. They are affiliated with the Small Business Administration and have folks who can direct you to other resources. Click the button to visit the SBA website with a map and contact information for these across the country.
Income Statement Sample
An income statement is a document that shows a businesses revenues and expenses during a particular period.
Business Plan Template
SCORE provides a downloadable Business Plan template. It is long and intense but it can be helpful even if you don’t complete everything. SCORE is also a great resource as you go forward.
Downloadable Forms from Office Depot
There is an amazing array of 122 free, usable downloadable forms from Office Depot—everything from template employee manuals (which you will need) to an income statement template in Excel (which you will need). BIG kudos for Office Depot for making all of this available for free, this is a great resource.
Talk to an Expert
Whether you are starting up or already have a business, sometimes it is very helpful to talk to an expert. Galaxy and Hidden Star have experts that can get you going or help get you out of a ditch. Fill out this form and we will set up a call. This is a free service.
For business plan preparation, here is the Entrepreneur Magazine free business plan templates for different industries. You will need to root around a little bit, but click here for some good business plan examples.
Patents and Trademarks
If you want to know about Patents and Trademarks and how to file and protect your intellectual property/invention, click here for the Patent office website—a good place to start.
For some entrepreneurs it is vitally important to know things about the market and their customers. The federal government has a great site with statistics and actual data about just about everything. It is a lot to take in, but click the button for a lot of free, very informative statistical data that can help you.
Low-Income and Minority Businesses
For low-income and minority entrepreneurs, Hidden Star has great programs to help you. They have a unique approach to helping new businesses get started that can be very beneficial. Check out low-income and minority business programs and get great help.
For those of you new to business, one of the common mistakes is bad communication; it can hurt you more than you know. There are some accepted norms on how to write, communicate, and relay information. This is more important than you may think it is. Click the button to visit the website with examples of correspondence.
Start with these three books to build a strong foundation for growing a successful business. All are available on Amazon, however, click on the links below to purchase online from independent minority- and/or women-owned bookstores.
The Lean Start Up by Eric Ries. Here you will learn about starting a company with limited resources and the Minimally Viable Product approach to getting to market.
Measure What Matters by John Doerr. This remarkable book will teach you how to run your new business the same way he taught Google when they started—and many other companies he has helped.
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout. This short, easy-to-read book is a timeless lesson on how businesses actually sell their products and services. It is full of amazing advice and lessons.