Starting and running a small business is hard. But you don’t have to go it alone. There are numerous great resources available to help your business grow and thrive.
Why Small Business Resources Are Important
Being a small business owner requires a lot of moving parts from developing a business plan, registering a business, and figuring out the finances to day-to-day operations, marketing and advertising, and so much more. It can be challenging to get it all done, but with the right resources, it’s certainly possible. Here are some of the best resources available to your small business.
Education and Community Development
Continuing education and learning your industry inside and out helps to refresh the why you went into business and how you stay in business. Here are a few places that’ll help you do just that:
- Masterclass: Learn from some of the world’s best across a wide range of industries including hospitality, entertainment, sports, and more.
- HarvardX: It’s never too late to say you’ve been educated by one of the most prestigious institutions in the world. Harvard offers free online courses ranging from programming and understanding technology to contract law and using Python for research.
- Linkedin Learning: This subscription-based learning service is an addition to LinkedIn. Linkedin Learning focuses on business-related topics including, marketing and communications in addition to software-based courses for Adobe or QuickBooks. The more you use the service, the more it learns about your habits, which in turn, means it can offer you more relevant courses. All courses, materials, and quizzes can be accessed through an internet connection on your computer or smartphone.
Whether you’re a local business in your town or a well-known ecommerce company, marketing is a vital component to your communication strategy. Here are some marketing resources for your growing business:
- Social media: “Content is king.” Social media allows business owners to create community and test strategies to attract customers to their products or services. Canva Pro is a great platform for DIY social media. It helps you set up everything from scheduling your social media posts to creating templates specific to your brand identity (colors, tone, logo). In addition to Canva, the Later app is a fantastic way to plan ahead and schedule in bulk. It allows you to create posts and schedule it in advance for the day and time you’d like, which is great for communicating upcoming sales or planned closures with your audience. Linktree is another great social media tool, most notably used in conjunction with Instagram. With Linktree, you can host multiple site links to different areas of your business under one link.
- Google My Business: Listing your business on Google will help increase visibility and be seen by customers/users new and old. Their free business tool comes with the convenience of a mobile app to register your business and help it rank in Google’s search results.
- Email Marketing: While social media is great for marketing your business, you still want to convert those followers to an email list. Email marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to engage customers. By utilizing a customer relationship management (CRM) system such as Mailchimp, Hubspot, or ConvertKit, you can send newsletters, business updates, exclusive offers, and see how your business grows.
The last thing any business owner wants is the IRS breathing down their backs. The right accounting software or resources to ensure you’re paying your quarterly taxes or filing the correct paperwork the first time around will give you less work to do on the backend.
IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center
The IRS created an online resource center to help make the process of filing taxes much easier for self employed individuals and small business owners. This resource center is for taxpayers with assets under $10 million and who file a Form 1040 with Schedules C, E, or F or Form 2106. They also offer:
- Instructions on how to file them
- Contractor information
- Stages of owning a business, record keeping, employment taxes, Employer ID Numbers, and changes that have occurred due to the pandemic.
Here are some additional accounting resources for your business:
Need an actual accountant? 1-800Accountant is a virtual accounting firm powered by real CPA’s that can assist you with your accounting needs. Whether you’re a brand new small business that has yet to file your LLC or apply for an EIN or a full-service construction company that’s been running for years, 1-800Accountant can help.
Their services include:
- Helping set up your business
- Small business taxes (audit defense, filing)
QuickBooks online and desktop are both favorites among small businesses. This user-friendly software is made for businesses of all sizes and various stages.
- Payroll services
- Inventory management
- Mileage tracking
- Managing 1099 contractors & more!
They also frequently offer 30-day free trial periods to work with the software. You can test the software on all devices including mobile, tablets, and laptops which makes it much easier if you’re on the job site or at the office.
Resources Every Small Business Should Know About
Feel free to bookmark this article because the resources mentioned will constantly offer the best information needed for your business’s success.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA has numerous resources devoted to small business owners. It’s one of the biggest online business centers, providing entrepreneurs with much-needed information on business training and counseling, funding programs, and business development programs. They also provide a comprehensive business guide for the small business community to learn things such as:
- Calculate business startup costs
- Writing your business plan
- Apply for licensing and permits
- Register your business
- Manage your finances
- And much more!
In addition to this, they also have a segments section for women business owners, veterans, minorities, LGBTQ+, and Native American-owned businesses.
Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
SBDC’s are located nationwide and provide businesses with counseling and training. These centers work with the SBA.
SBDC Programs deliver professional, high quality, individualized business advising and technical assistance to existing small businesses and pre-venture entrepreneurs. SBDCs provide problem-solving assistance to help small businesses:
- Access capital
- Develop and exchange new technologies
- Improve business planning
- Financial management
- Export assistance
- Increased productivity and innovation.
SCORE is a nonprofit organization focused on providing business owners with mentoring and education. It offers free mentoring for both new and established businesses. In addition to mentoring you’ll find webinars and courses, including local workshops, as well as a plethora of online resources. You can find your local SCORE chapter here.
National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE)
The NASE offers entrepreneurs and small business owners resources and tools to help run their businesses. Members are provided with a monthly newsletter and unlimited access to tax, finance, retirement and/or operations consultants. NASE offers a NASE Succeed Scholarship for members who need assistance paying for college or university, business certification or training programs, or other business-related courses/seminars.
In addition, NASE provides members with discounts on:
- Legal help
- Healthcare insurance plans, including major medical, prescription drug, plus dental and vision plans
- Home office insurance
- Office supplies
- Website design
- Travel services, including rental car fees and hotels
Human Resources Small Business Resources
Hiring and keeping employees is the most difficult job many small business owners face. These resources can help.
Remote Work Resources
National Institute of Standards and Technology Guide for Remote Work
This free guide provides useful information on security for implementing telework, remote access and bring your own device security.
The premier conference for companies with remote workers, Running Remote offers free access to a library of dozens of recorded conference sessions.
Remote offers payroll for international teams. It can help small businesses can pay an international workforce.
Federal Government Employee Resources
US Equal Opportunity Commission
You’ll find numerous resources about requirements related to federal discrimination laws in the EEOC’s Small Business Resource Center.
US Department of Labor
Learn about business requirements under the Wages and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) including minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping and youth employment standards. Also find out how to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA).
Employee Handbook Guide
How to Create an Employee Handbook is a free resource guide offered by SCORE that describes the essential components of an employee handbook.
Managing payroll can be complicated, but payroll software makes it easier and helps your business reduce mistakes.
Business Travel Resources
Business Travel News
BTN is the leading resource for business travel news, events and information. It offers a free Corporate Travel Index Calculator.
Business Credit Cards
Find the best business credit cards for travel with Nav’s tools and resources.
Small Business Financing Resources
Nav prides itself on being a resource for small business owners to help build financially healthy companies. Nav can help you find small business loans and business credit cards based on your qualifications.
Nav also provides information on small business grants for entrepreneurs at various stages of their business including women and minorities, grants and loans for veterans, general small business grants, and other funding resources including how to establish business credit.
Money Smart for Small Business (MSSB) offers free information from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to help new businesses successfully start and manage a business, including information on essential financial topics.
Podcasts For Small Businesses
Small business podcasts can be a terrific resource and allow you to learn from experts on a wide variety of business topics. Here are 10 small business podcasts to help you start or grow your business:
- The How of Business: Great for business execution strategy
- Marie Forleo Podcast
- The Side Hustle Show: Find great business ideas
- How I Built This: Get inspiration from successful entrepreneurs
- Business Growth: Learn practical strategies for success
- Mr. Productivity Podcast: Increase your productivity
- Do Weekly: Get something done each week!
- The Simple Business Show: Go from overwhelmed to organized
- TED Business: Learn from leaders then apply lessons to your business
- Small Business Tax Savings: Find strategies to save money on taxes.
Frequently Asked Questions
This article was originally written on April 8, 2022 and updated on February 2, 2023.