Do you have a great idea for a business but don't know where to start? You may be surrounded by help and not know it!
Starting your own business has suddenly become the hot thing; perhaps it's the relative insecurity of jobs now as opposed to a decade or two ago, or perhaps it comes from the need to supplement your regular income, or a desire to be your own boss. Maybe it's that the government has finally figured out that 85 percent of newly created jobs come from small businesses, and not giant corporations. For whatever reason, suddenly encouragement to start a business of your own is everywhere.
One type of organization that has sprung up in every state in the US in the past ten years is the micro credit lending system. Backed by a combination of government and business funding, the organization, which is patterned after a model originating in Bangladesh, gives micro loans ranging from $500 to $5000 to start-up businesses. Small clusters of five to seven people form their own lending groups, study a manual which teaches them the basics of business finances, and then submit loan applications to the group for approval. Each group approves the loans for the individual members of the group, and monitors the progress in payments made on the loan. This is a great opportunity for someone who needs a very small amount of start-up cash, some business knowledge, and a lot of moral support.
Another type of support that has been around for years is the mentoring program run by the Small Business Administration. Retired businessmen and -women from various business backgrounds volunteer to advise new business owners as they set up and promote their businesses. The SBA also periodically offers classes in starting your own business; if there is an SBA office in your area, there is probably a class offered from time to time.
Don't forget to check your local college for course offerings. Classes can range from standard fare like bookkeeping and accounting (including using computerized accounting programs like QuickBooks) to personnel management, business computer classes, and more. Some colleges even offer entrepreneurial resource programs with a wealth of classes covering every aspect of business development.
There's lots of advice out there for the budding entrepreneur if you go look for it. Take your business idea and hunt down the resources you need; and good luck!
Aldene Fredenburg is a freelance writer living in southwestern New Hampshire. She has written numerous articles for local and regional newspapers and for a number of Internet websites, including Tips and Topics. She expresses her opinions periodically on her blog, http://beyondagendas.blogspot.com .