While I was blogging and hyperventilating a few days ago about forgetting the business insurance, someone who is starting a business emailed me about the site and I realized that I’ve not even put a list of startup resources here on the blog yet. While many folks eagerly read every article about tech startups and their founders’ experiences with entrepreneur boot camps, and venture fairs, they often forget there are great resources out there for ALL startups. Here in the USA, the federal government’s Small Business Administration (SBA) is a great place to start when looking for guidance. They have a very nice checklist here as well.
Another great resource for an entrepreneur is the local business incubator. You might be surprised by how many small towns and other unexpected places have business incubators. One way to find one near you is to search the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) website here. Incubators often have a particular focus: agriculture, healthcare, technology, and so forth. If your business is a good fit for the local incubator, you may obtain low cost rent as well as great business technical assistance for your fledgeling company. In addition to NBIA, you might want to contact your state or local economic development groups to find incubation resources. I’ve personally supported businesses via volunteer work with a business incubator and I’ve benefited as the CEO of a company located in a technology business incubator. When considering becoming part of an incubator, look closely at their for-profit or non-profit status as well as the equity stake they might want in your company. In general, you’ll find the relationship to be a good thing–but talk with other entrepreneurs who have been part of the program you’re considering entering.
Finally, it’s always great to have access to folks who have “been there and done that” right? In this case, access to business executives is what you want. You can obtain free mentoring via the local chapter of the Service Corp of Retires Executives (SCORE). Here’s a link to their site.
OK, that’s a good start. More later.