It’s once again my favorite time of year, National Small Business Week! For the entire week, there are a ton of free resources, webinars, and events both on the web and in your town.
I’ll be celebrating National Small Business Week with #Smallbizchat LIVE from New York. It’s a video broadcast, on Facebook Live sponsored by FedEx on May 3, 2017 8-9pm ET. Follow my Facebook fan page to watch the show. This year’s broadcast will feature interviews with Author, Dorie Clark, Government contracting expert Twyla Garret, Muhammad and Rahim Diallo, the Ginjan Bros, creators of Ginjan Organic Ginger Juice. We’ll be taking live questions from Twitter for our experts and giving away prizes too, so be sure to log in and watch.
The SBA’s Plan for This Year’s Small Business Week
For 54 years, the Small Business Administration has led the way in celebrating entrepreneurs like you and me during Small Business Week, and has encouraged other small business entities to get involved.
This year’s festivities will start in Washington, DC, on May 1, where Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon will acknowledge and award notable small business owners from all across the US. The rest of the week will include online educational events, as well as in-person events in New York City, Indianapolis, Dallas and Fresno, California.
The Small Business Administration: More Than One Week of Benefit for Entrepreneurs
If you think that Small Business Week is the SBA’s biggest accomplishment, you’re wrong. The SBA offers many resources for small business owners, so if you’re not familiar with all of these perks, it’s time you are.
SBA Loan Programs
If you’re looking to take out a small business loan, having one guaranteed by the SBA is a wise choice. Many banks offer SBA-approved loans, and these typically offer lower interest rates than other types of loans. The SBA also offers microloans, real estate & equipment loans, disaster loans, and grants, so see what you’re eligible for.
Assistance in Becoming a Government Contractor
Federal entities like the IRS and various military branches hire vendors for a ton of services — from marketing to lawn care — but those vendors have to be approved government contractors. And yet many entrepreneurs shy away from applying to become federal contractors because they fear the process is too complicated for them.
Not to worry. If you don’t have a clue how to become one or how to enter a bid on a project, the SBA offers free training resources to help you. On this government contracting portal, you can find out if you qualify to become a contractor, as well as learn how to register as one, get your D-U-N-S number, and figure out your NAICS code. Once you’re set, you just have to apply for federal contracts and start raking in the money!
Help in Certifying Your Business
Did you know your business might qualify to be certified as a particular type of business that could win you more sales?
- 8(a) Business Development Program: for disadvantaged businesses
- Woman-Owned Small Business: for businesses with 51% female ownership
- HUBZone: for small businesses in urban and rural communities to get access to federal procurement opportunities.
- Veteran’s Business Outreach Center: assists veterans in starting or growing a business
Each of these programs is designed to help people like you do more and go further as entrepreneurs. The help is there for the taking.
Small Business Development Centers
No matter where you live, there is likely a Small Business Development Center within driving distance; there are 900 in the US. These centers offer free and low-cost small business consulting and services to help you launch and grow your business.
Women’s Business Centers
Similar to the Small Business Development Center, the Women’s Business Centers provide small business resources specifically targeting women. There are often educational programs for economically or socially disadvantaged women to help them even the playing field in the business world, as well as networking opportunities.
Yet another free resource the SBA offers is its SCORE offices. The primary service offered through SCORE is free small business mentoring. Whether you need help with marketing, legal matters, accounting, or something else, you’ll be paired with an experienced business professional who can answer your questions and guide you to smart business decisions.
US Export Assistance Center
It can be daunting to try to figure out how to export products to other countries. Each one has its own set of rules, and you worry you’ll accidentally break them. But the US Export Assistance Center is designed with you in mind; each office has export professionals who can answer your questions, as well as educational seminars on topics that will sharpen your export skills.
ScaleUp America Communities
A business that is thriving is one that can bolster the local economy by providing additional jobs. That’s exactly what ScaleUp America is all about: providing resources to growing businesses to help them support the local community.
As you can see, the Small Business Administration is truly an unrivaled resource for so many amazing tools that can help you as an entrepreneur grow!
Remember to tune in on my Facebook page when #SmallBizchat goes LIVE from New York on May 3, 2017 at 8pm ET!