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Idea Exchange: Where Do You Typically Go for Business Advice?

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Idea Exchange: Where Do You Typically Go for Business Advice?

By ZanetaB
Published: March 23, 2010

The monthly Idea Exchange is where the Business.gov team presents a question to the community for feedback on the content, features or services provided by Business.gov. In June we asked members Where Do You Typically Go for Business Advice?

No matter what stage your business is in, finding sound and experienced business advice can help you run your business smoothly. The Guide to Small Business Assistance & Training lists services that cover all aspects of starting and running a business, from getting a loan to developing business plans and marketing strategies.

Luckily, there are various counseling and training programs available to help you get started and expand your small business, but you might not know where to start.

To find out, we tapped into the experience of our community members, who submitted feedback on the resources that they use for business advice. Here is a summary of the resources our members found most valuable:

  • State and Local Resources - Complying with business regulations and obligations means understanding your state and local government laws. Many government offices provide checklists to help with starting and registering a business. Your State Business License Office is a good resource for this type of information.
  • Federal Government Agencies - Agencies that are listed as the absolute source for information such as the DOL, IRS or SBA, tend to provide a wealth of information for small business owners- and many in the form of free online materials. For example the SBA's local offices provide contacts to help you find expert advice in your area.
  • Non-Profit Associations - Non-Profit Associations like SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives Association) provide free mentoring, business counseling, and low-cost workshops. You don't have to look far to find free advice - there are active, non-profit advisors right here, within our community! Check out our new blog, The Industry Word, which is a platform for notable small business professionals to share their small-business expertise with community members.
  • Economic Development Agencies - Like SCORE and other non-profit associations, economic development agencies provide training resources for business owners to help start, expand and retain their business. Most agencies are local and can be found by going to your state's business resources.
  • Groups and Associations - Professional associations may provide up-to-date information on trade standards, ways for peer-to-peer networking and many more advantages for businesses in that industry.
  • Professional Services - Accountants, lawyers, banks and other professional services used regularly by businesses for their advice services.
  • General Online Tools - Using networks such as LinkedIn or business forums provides peer-to-peer contact with other business owners who share advice through experience. It is also common to just search for the information you need. Here are tips on how to use the features of Business.gov Search.

Thanks to all who shared the resources they depend on for business advice. We hope this information will be useful to the newbie small business owners who are looking for help and don't know where to turn first.

What's Next for the Idea Exchange

The current idea exchange What Government Data Would Be Useful to You as a Small Business Owner?, started in early July will run until August 4. You still have time to submit your thoughts and vote on the ideas you agree with by clicking Kudos!

We encourage your feedback and are really looking forward to hearing your ideas.

Message Edited by ZanetaB on 07-29-2009 01:09 PM

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Excellent post, this actually answers a large majority of the questions asked on this forum... Keep up the great info guys - thanks for all your help! Tom Addison Lawsuit Loans Message Edited by NicoleD on 09-30-2009 12:57 PM
In addition to the small business and professional services information provided by the government, I find great information from Inc. and Fast Company magazines (and their websites). -Aaron Street, Publisher, LawyeristMessage Edited by NicoleD on 09-30-2009 12:57 PM
I always rely on paid consultants. I never ask friends, family or peers. Hawaiian shirts are a competitive market, and more people think they know something than actually DO know something about the industry. That is to say, wearing a shirt does not make you a shirt expert.
Excellent post, this actually answers a large majority of the questions asked on this forum... Keep up the great info guys - thanks for all your help! Tom AddisonLawsuit Loans Message Edited by NicoleD on 09-30-2009 12:57 PM

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