6 Ways the SBA Can Help Your Business

Author: Rieva Lesonsky | April 30, 2015

During National Small Business Week May 4-8, the SBA is hosting live events in five cities across the U.S., as well as online webinars for those who can’t attend in person. But the SBA is there to help your small business grow all year long, no matter where you are—not just during National Small Business Week.

In addition to the plethora of information and resources you can find on the SBA website, covering everything from starting and growing a business to getting loans, government contracting assistance and online business education, here are six offline resources the SBA offers.

  1. Are you a military veteran? The SBA’s Veterans Business Outreach Centers help veterans start and grow their businesses. The services they offer include helping you assess your idea’s feasibility; write a business plan; and obtain training, counseling and in-person mentoring. The services are provided by 16 partner organizations nationwide.
  2. Interested in selling to the government? Getting started in government contracting can be overwhelming, but the SBA’s Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) are here to help. These centers provide in-person counseling and training services to help small business owners market their products and services to the government. For example, they can help you get appropriate certifications, register in government databases and find promising opportunities.
  3. Are you a woman business owner or a woman seeking to start a business? Women still face special challenges, including financing and growing their businesses. The nearly 100 Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) nationwide help women succeed by providing assistance and services to help “level the playing field” so these entrepreneurs can compete effectively.
  4. Are you interested in exporting? Exporting offers huge potential for small business owners. Navigate the global waters with help from the Export Assistance Centers, located in major metropolitan areas nationwide. Staffed by experts from the SBA, Department of Commerce, Export-Import Bank and other organizations, the centers can help you get started and succeed in global exporting.

If you need general business assistance with anything from writing a business plan to finding venture capital or understanding the ins and outs of Obamacare, there are two other SBA-related resources you should know about:

  1. At SCORE, you can get matched with a mentor to receive in-person counseling and guidance, or go online to get mentoring advice 24/7. SCORE’s mentors have “been there, done that”—they’re former entrepreneurs and business leaders whose experience and connections are invaluable. SCORE also hosts online webinars and offline seminars, roundtables and other educational and networking events.
  2. Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), typically located at colleges, universities or state economic development agencies, the SBDCs provide free consulting and low-cost training services in all aspects of starting and growing a business. The SBDC’s Business Advisors are experts in their fields; many are experienced entrepreneurs themselves. The centers also host networking and educational events.

Don’t see the type of assistance you need here? Call or visit your local SBA District Office—they can point you in the right direction.

 

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