Starting and running a small business can be overwhelming. There are so many things to consider – from securing financing and maintaining cash flow, to taking care of things like payroll, accounting, and marketing, it can seem like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.
The good news is that there is an abundance of help available to small business owners. One of the best things you can do for your business is familiarize yourself with all of the resources
available to you. Whether you need general guidance, help managing your finances, advice on getting back to normal after COVID-19, or anything else that goes into running a business, chances are there is a resource you can utilize.
Free Internet Resources
Although you might not expect it, there are likely many other small business owners out in the world – or in your local area – that are facing similar challenges, or who have overcome the same obstacles your business is currently facing. There are many Facebook groups
where small business owners can connect, seek advice, and share experiences with one another. You might consider joining a group specific to your industry, or one that’s dedicated to small businesses in your own community. In these types of groups, fellow business owners can chime in about various topics, such as business accounting
software, marketing and promotion ideas, or business financing tips
. You might also find opportunities for collaboration, such as co-hosting events with other local businesses.
Outside of Facebook, search engines can be helpful tools for finding the business-related information you’re looking for. There are many websites
that specialize in content for small business owners and entrepreneurs, and there are also many business-focused blogs
across the internet that can help answer your questions and guide you through the challenges of owning a business.
For more personalized advice, the U.S. Small Business Administration
has a dedicated search tool aimed at helping small business owners find local assistance
. Depending on where you’re located, this could include mentoring, counseling, and training services, and many of these resources are free to business owners. The SBA also provides free online lessons
on a variety of business topics. These e-courses include Marketing 101
, Pricing Models for Successful Business
, Employee Recruitment and Retention
, and more.
Spreading the Word
Whether you are established in your area or just starting out
, it's important to promote your business if you want to grow. A large part of that is networking
. Much like Facebook groups, networking presents an opportunity for small business owners to expand their knowledge, obtain advice, seek referrals, and ultimately make the connections needed to help support their growing business. A few different ways for you to network include:
• Volunteer at, sponsor, or donate your products or services at a local event
• Join local organizations
• Attend a meeting at your local Chamber of Commerce
, Rotary Club
, Town Hall, etc.
• Promote other local businesses and ask them to do the same for you in return – this can be done by promoting another business inside a physical storefront, or on social media
Although it might feel like sponsoring a local youth soccer team won’t drum up business, it can get your business’s name in front of new groups of people while simultaneously showing them that you’re involved in your community. Every small business owner has a busy schedule, but sometimes doing something outside of your comfort zone can open your business up to unexpected opportunities.
Resources Specific to Massachusetts and Rhode Island
If you are a small business owner in the Massachusetts or Rhode Island area, there are many local resources available to you. The MA Small Business Development Center
, for example, is a partnership of several local and private organizations aimed at helping small businesses succeed. They offer free and low-cost educational programs, counseling, training, and business-related events.
Likewise, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation
serves as a local resource to help small businesses prosper and grow. They assist businesses with securing tax credits and government grants, finding commercial real estate, and developing their workforce through training and talent development.
The SBA also has district offices in both Boston
which can provide resources specific to your local area. These can include help with legal requirements, tax information, lending opportunities and more. Each district routinely offers events for local business owners to connect at as well.
Tap Into Your Financial Institution
If you’ve taken the time to find the right bank for your small business
, chances are you can leverage their expertise as a valuable resource as well. At BankFive for example, the businesses we serve aren’t just our customers, but they’re our partners
as well. We understand that their success is our success, and our Business Banking Team
is standing by to help them with everything from cash management solutions to business financing and everything in between. Whether you’re an existing BankFive business customer, or a business owner considering a new banking partner, don’t hesitate to contact us