Starting a business is a challenging job. When helping entrepreneurs make the legal side of starting and running a business less intimidating, it’s important to recognize that there are hundreds of other factors that impact whether a business will ultimately be a success. Although I work hard to learn about all aspects of my clients’ businesses and provide guidance on day to day operations as needed, you may want to round out your business team with others who can assist with the details of marketing, product development, technology infrastructure and other core needs that are also important to your success.
If you are looking for in-depth help with your business in another area, here are some of my recommendations for free or low cost resources for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
SCORE is a network of experienced volunteers that provide free, confidential mentoring, either in person or via email. SCORE also provides seminars and workshops to educate entrepreneurs and small business owners on topics such as marketing, obtaining funding and management.
If you’re located in the Lancaster-Lebanon area, you’re in luck – SCORE Lancaster Lebanon was recently recognized as the SCORE Chapter of the Year.
United States Small Business Administration – www.sba.gov
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) features blogs, in-person and online training and workshops, and a robust email newsletter that will assist small business owners and entrepreneurs in management, obtaining loans and grants, navigating health care changes, and contracting, among other topics.
$100 MBA Podcast – www.100mba.net/show/
A short podcast that offers business lessons on a variety of topics. The show primarily focuses on online businesses, but many of the lessons could be applied to any type of business.
StartUp Podcast – www.gimletmedia.com/show/startup/
StartUp is a podcast series about what it’s really like to get a business off the ground. In Season 1, the founder of Gimlet Media, a podcast network, tells the story of launching the business. In Season 2, Startup follows a new company, Dating Ring.
Meetup.com & Creators Think-Tank of Lancaster (CTTL) – www.meetup.com, www.meetup.com/Creators-Think-Tank-of-Lancaster-CTTL
Meetup.com is an excellent resource for finding groups of like-minded individuals close to home to meet up with in person. There are meetups about almost any topic you can imagine, just do a search on the site based on your location and interests.
Jaron Nalewak and I organize a local monthly meetup called Creators Think-Tank of Lancaster (CTTL). CTTL’s goal is to create an atmosphere where inventors, small business owners and entrepreneurs can come and discuss their ideas in confidence, with the direction of moving through the creative process in a “do-it-yourself” fashion. All members will be able to contribute to in-depth discussions with an aim at holding each other accountable to set, meet, and hopefully exceed their goals.
PA Biz Online – www.pabizonline.com/ – 1-855-722-4924
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania offers this resource which includes many guides and checklists for first-time entrepreneurs and existing business owners. Also check out Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers for local assistance.
Lancaster Public Library Duke Street Business Center – www.lancaster.lib.pa.us/dsbc/
The Duke Street Business Center (DSBC) provides business and nonprofit research resources using licensed databases, specialized websites, and authoritative reference books and periodicals. DSBC also provides workshops and has an “Ask a Business or Nonprofit Question” program where you can submit questions via this submission form.
Hey Matt – I don’t live in Lancaster. I don’t even live in Pennsylvania!
Not located in the Lancaster area? No problem! Most states and cities offer similar programs to the local programs outlined above. Try searching the web for “small business resources in __________________” and insert your city or state in the blank.
If you have any suggestions to add to this list, please feel free to send me a message or leave a comment below.