SCORE

So you want to start a business - or you’re already underway. You need every bit of help you can get. No problem.

Here it is – enough help to take you from idea to startup to enterprise:

1. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

You paid your taxes – now reap some benefits. The SBA has a world of resources including financing, training, and legal basics.

2. SCORE

Wish you had a good friend with experience in your business who could give you real world advice? That’s what SCORE offers. The price is just right for shoe-string startup budgets, too. (It’s free.)

Also of interest:

3. America's Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

There are more than 1,000 Small Business Development Centers across the United States. They help entrepreneurs launch and grow thousands of businesses every year. They get results, too. The average SBDC client has:

  • 15.5 percent annual job growth, compared to an average 1.9 percent for small businesses nationwide. 
  • 13.6 percent annual sales growth - four times the national average.

4. A directory of business incubators.

Want to know if there’s a business incubator nearby? The International Business Innovation Association can tell you.

5. A user testing tool like Peek.

Need an honest opinion about your website, your app, or product? Even your Mom or your best friend might not give you the totally unvarnished truth. But a user testing service can.

For a fee (sometimes less than $20 a test), you can get a recorded video of someone using your site. With Peek, you can even get one free. Want a few other options? See Drift’s blog post, “The 7 Best User Testing Tools For Any Budget” 

6. A way to validate your market.

Ever had an idea that looked great on paper, but flopped out in the real world? You need proof your idea won’t follow suit. You need to do market validation.

It can be a time-consuming, complex mess. Or you can just use Proved.

7. A good designer.

According to our WASP State of Small Business Report, “54% of small businesses outsource graphic design and website design.”

So where to find a good designer? Start here:

8. Someone to help with accounting, payroll and taxes.

This is another classic choice for outsourcing. Here’s why: It requires specialized knowledge, a lot of time – and if you do it wrong, mistakes can be *very* expensive.

No wonder 71 percent of small companies outsource tax preparation services, according to the Wasp Barcode Technologies Small Business Report – Accounting. 50 percent outsource payroll.

So where to find this help? Try:

9. A Virtual Assistant.

Not quite ready for your first hire? Get a virtual assistant.

Get a good one, too. I wish I could say $10 an hour assistants were helpful, but I’ve never found that to be true. And you need a business assistant… probably someone with more than appointment-setting skills. So cough up the $15-$25 an hour. Get yourself someone who can actually make basic decisions and think on their own.

Find them here:

10. A lawyer

You need a lawyer. Even if nothing ever goes wrong, it’s just good business to have a trusted attorney available to review contracts, help you navigate hiring, and deal with any other issues.

You can find an attorney HERE (with reviews, too).

Trouble is, many of you don’t have the budget an attorney requires ($300+ per hour). You need some less expensive help. Here are a few places to start:

Want more small business startup resources? Check out StartUpStash.com. It’s a curated site of hundreds of startup resources.

Conclusion

The long hours and uncertainty of launching a business can make anyone feel alone. But the truth is, the entire country wants you to succeed. There are extensive resources available, many of them free or nearly free. Now you know where to find them.