Planning a new business is both exciting and overwhelming. To get you off on the right foot, here are 7 super useful and free small business resources.
The Small Business Association’s Create Your Business Plan section of its website is an excellent place to start when drafting your business plan. If you’re not sure how to write a business plan, this free resource will walk you through each section, telling you what to include and how to make it stand out.
2. Your State’s Small Business Development Center
Each state runs its own small business development center, a valuable free resource for small business owners and entrepreneurs. For example, the California Small Business Development Center offers a handy business startup checklist on its website along with a variety of other tools. It also provides access to business advisors and special events. Check out the SBA’s list of small business development centers by state here.
SCORE’s Business Plan page is another fantastic and free small business resource loaded with online business workshops and podcasts. Free mentoring is also available – both in person and via email.
4. Business Startup Planner
Many aspiring entrepreneurs have an idea, but also have trouble articulating that idea. Navarro College Small Business Development Center in Texas has a free business startup planner questionnaire designed to help you put your ideas into words.
5. ShopKeep Small Business 101
ShopKeep’s blog has a section called Small Business 101 that is entirely dedicated to planning and executing a new small business launch. This free small business resource is loaded with information and tools for each of the following topics: Inspiration, Planning, Structure, Finance, Regulations, Insurance, Location, Store Design, Equipment, Inventory, Staffing, Marketing, and Growth & Exit Strategies.
6. Business USA
Business USA’s Start a Business wizard is an online tool that asks you a variety of questions, such as whether you’ve invented something, plan on opening a restaurant, or will be purchasing an existing business. Based on your answers, the wizard prepares an action plan with steps to take and local resources based on your ZIP code.
Entrepreneur’s Business Plans Forms and Templates page is loaded with business plan guidelines, checklists, templates, and models. This section also includes links to related categories such as Marketing Forms and Templates, Entrepreneurship, and Finance.
From questionnaires, templates, and interactive business planning tools to in-person mentoring, online workshops and podcasts, these free small business resources contain a wealth of information tailored specifically for small business owners and entrepreneurs.