Nearly every business starts out as a dream. The entrepreneur pictures the business as it could be years down the road, and then does what he can to make that dream a reality. However, many people get stuck before they even get started, simply because they don’t know what help is available to them and they don’t know where to look or who to ask.
There are so many available resources that it can become overwhelming to think about them all. One good place for many people to start is by looking through books on the subject. In many countries, such as the United States, there are government agencies with a mandate to help small businesses succeed. Making use of these resources should be your first step. Finding a mentor or hiring a consultant can also be a big help, if you find the right person.
Every year there are many new books published on topics related to starting a small business. Some of them include location specific details showing nuances you should be aware of when you start a small business in that location. An example of this would be a book about how to start a business in the state of New York.
For the budget conscious entrepreneur, as so many need to be, many of these titles are available from your local library or can be borrowed from other libraries in your state through an inter-library loan program. State university libraries can be an even better resource if your state allows residents to access them. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in a library, or if you want to have the book handy as you go through the process, you may be better off finding a book at a local bookstore or ordering it online.
Not everyone likes to learn from books, and searching to find the right information in the hundreds of titles available can take a considerable amount of time. You may be able to shortcut this by making use of the resources made available by government agencies such as the Small Business Administration (SBA.) The SBA has considerable amounts of information available from their website (sba.gov), and they have a lot of other resources available in their many local field offices.
Through the SBA you can find information about securing financing, possibly even through one of their many programs designed to help businesses. They also offer training on things including how to write a business plan, business management, and marketing. Along with these programs and training, they also hold events in many localities for training and networking.
However, one of the best options you may have for really short-cutting the learning curve is to find a mentor or hire a business consultant. This is really only a shortcut if you find the right person who has the knowledge you need and can work well with you and your business. You can begin looking for a mentor by joining a business group such as the local chamber of commerce or an industry group. At the meetings you can ask around to find people who have already succeeded at what you want to do, and then ask them to help you.