Small businesses are arguably the lifeblood of the American economy. In fact, there are currently 28 million small businesses in the U.S., accounting for 54 percent of all sales. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a government agency that looks out for these enterprises and aims to help them grow and flourish.
What’s the SBA and its Mission?
According to SBA’s website, it was founded in July of 1953 and “Has delivered millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses.” The SBA provides assistance in four primary areas:
- Access to capital
- Entrepreneurial development
- Government contracting
It’s one of the leading resources for entrepreneurs and can be a tremendous asset when growing your business. One of the best features of the SBA is its website, which offers an immense amount of helpful information. Here are four specific aspects of the site that can help you and your company.
1. Small Business Financing Options
One of the most common dilemmas that startups face is obtaining capital. Whether it’s getting financing for equipment, inventory or retail space, it can be quite costly to get a business up and running.
The Small Business Administration offers a wealth of free information on how to get financing, what your options are, how to apply for various programs and more. For instance, they cover traditional financing through loans and grants as well as more contemporary techniques like crowdfunding.
2. Business Financials
Startup costs, cash flow analysis and break even analysis are essential for small business owners to have a thorough understanding. Handling taxes and paying employees are also key concepts to run a small business.
This area can really be a slippery slope for many new entrepreneurs, and being misinformed can have some serious backlash. The Business Financials section of the website reviews the fundamentals.
3. Laws and Regulations
Regardless of the industry you’re in, you’re bound to face a seemingly unending number of laws and regulations both on federal and local levels. Without a solid understanding, it can create a real HR nightmare, causing susceptibility to harsh fines and penalties.
In some cases, the wrong mistake can even wreck your business. Fortunately, the SBA covers these topics in detail, and they can get you up-to-date on things like licenses and permits, safety regulations, overtime pay, etc.
4. Business Growth
Last but not least, this is a valuable resource for learning how to manage and grow your business more effectively. You can learn about utilizing technology to become more competitive, cutting edge marketing strategies, building your own franchise and more. The SBA will also help you counteract any growing pains you may encounter and ensure that you don’t get in over your head.
Although the Internet has plenty of helpful information for small business owners, the SBA’s website may be the best resource pound for pound. The Research Issues page in particular has information on practically every topic you can imagine and is a good starting point if you’re looking for guidance.