Working in the midst of other MOMeos on a daily basis, I am surrounded by some of the most creative people in business today.
Constantly in awe of their resourcefulness and out-of-the-box thinking, I was surprised to find how few are familiar with some of the best business resources available. Perhaps we’re making things harder than they need to be, or maybe these resources simply aren’t talked about enough.
Whatever the reason, some of the easiest and most accessible tools for business building are going unnoticed and untapped. Luckily, that need not be the case any longer. The following are four areas to find the business resources and tools to help businesses profit and grow.
Universities and colleges
Students offer a continual supply of new blood. Forging relationships with department heads at local colleges and universities can prove invaluable for small, medium and large businesses alike. That goes double for entrepreneurs who take the old standard of being low on both revenue and time to new extremes.
By becoming a part of the curriculum in classes such as International Business & Logistics and Marketing & Public Relations, you have access to passionate, enthusiastic students each semester. For school credit, they can perform business analysis, design marketing campaigns, and keep your business on the cutting edge for little to no revenue.
Students are hungry to learn first-hand. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of their enthusiasm.
Government and non-profit organizations
Although perceived by some during his campaign as out of touch with small business owners, President Barack Obama’s administration wasted no time drumming up plans to support entrepreneurs. MOMeos should be on the lookout for new business incubators – programs intended to accelerate entrepreneurial opportunities and foster growth in start-up companies.
Usually non-profit organizations (NPOs) backed by government funds, these incubators are a main focus of the new plan for small business growth in America. Since they’re often attached to universities, they’re also another reason to connect with local colleges. With a wide variety of structures available, there is an incubator to fit almost any start-up.
Offering grants, education, office space, administrative support and more, a well-matched incubator can truly be almost one-stop shops for business success. In fact, incubators like these are credited for encouraging Silicon Valley’s booming growth. Plus, the unique focus incubators place on entrepreneurial success gives MOMeos an edge in their utilization.
One such NPO dedicated to the education of entrepreneurs and small business owners is SCORE, “Counselors to America’s Small Business.” A resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Association, SCORE has 11,200 volunteers and 370 offices nationwide.
They offer mentoring both online and in-person, low-cost workshops, informative how-to articles, even business templates. The mentoring is doled out by the organization’s volunteers – working and retired executives and entrepreneurs with years of experience and wisdom to share.
In a global economy, it’s far too easy to lose sight of local associations – they can make all the difference.
From the Mall Association where our brick-and-mortar stores are located, to the casual monthly breakfast group founded and run by other local entrepreneurs, membership is worthwhile. Even if your initial participation is limited to social interaction, these associations offer an in-person support network otherwise hard to come by –filled with other forward-thinking business people.
Added to the value the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and local Chambers of Commerce offer, local associations are often an integral contributor to lasting success. Accreditation with the BBB can aid in establishing credentials and legitimacy for small and startup businesses.
Equally as important as local associations are online groups. They offer feedback and support day, night and every hour in between.
Twitter and Facebook have taken the social networking world by storm, but online resources for professionals don’t end there. Some communities like ideablob are geared specifically for entrepreneurs and inventors. They offer space not only to connect with like-minded people, but financial incentives to do so.
In fact, the user-submitted idea voted best by the community each month is awarded $10,000 by the community’s sponsor, Advanta.
No matter the stage of growth your business is at, utilizing every tool available is always good advice – especially those specifically designed to support entrepreneurs.