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You're Invited! Take a Sneak Peek at the New SBA.gov Web Site

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You're Invited! Take a Sneak Peek at the New SBA.gov Web Site

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: October 20, 2010 Updated: June 6, 2011

Something's brewing over at the Small Business Administration (SBA), and it's good news for small business.

This fall, the SBA is re-launching the SBA.gov Web site.

Complete with bells and whistles, the new SBA.gov will provide small business owners and entrepreneurs, with an interactive and customizable online experience that will serve up the targeted resources they need to help them succeed in business and create jobs.

If you've ever browsed the SBA.gov Web site in its current form you'll know that the site has traditionally functioned as a repository of valuable information about SBA programs and services. However, the site relied heavily on non-search engine friendly PDF documents to communicate content, making it a little harder than it might otherwise be for small business owners to find the information they needed.

The new SBA.gov is going to change this!

According to SBA Administrator, Karen Mills, the goal of the SBA.gov re-design project, is'to build a site that helps small businesses do what they do best: grow businesses and create job' through better information, more effectively and dynamically targeted to user needs.

To get a taste of what is to come, the SBA has launched a micro site: www.sba.gov/next that explains the vision behind the re-launch, as well as the benefits it hopes to provide to small business owners and the extended community of financial lending institutions.
















While the SBA is't giving all its plans away yet, here are some of the highlights of what you can expect from the new SBA.gov:

SBA Direct - Delivering the Answers You Need

There are more than 29 million small business owners in the U.S., many of whom have the potential to be served by the SBA. That's a large and scattered demographic with a variety of needs. To better serve these diverse needs, the new SBA.gov will include a dynamic new Web tool, called SBA Direct, which will allow users to personalize their experience of SBA.gov based on their geographic region, business type, and business needs. Read more about what to expect from SBA Direct in this post on the SBA.gov/next micro site: SBA Direct - Get Ready to Personalize Your SBA.gov Experience.

Enhanced Search Tools

As mentioned above, if you've tried searching for anything on the current SBA.gov Web site before this past summer, odds are the results returned by the old search tool were cumbersome to say the least, and at times irrelevant to your needs. This was a big area of frustration for many business owners.

The good news is that SBA has already made great strides towards improving the search function on its site and in fact has already rolled out a new Google-powered search tool that not only makes search a breeze, but it is also optimized to improve the ranking of SBA.gov content on search engines - helping business owners find what they need even if they search from outside the SBA.gov domain. Take a look at the new search function from the dedicated SBA.gov search page.

SBA Embraces Social Media

Another early insight into the new SBA online strategy was the launch of the SBA's social media presence in June of this year. You can find and follow the SBA on Facebook*, Twitter* and YouTube*.

More to Come

Don't expect everything at once, the new Web site will launch in a phased approach with future enhancements to include an entire SBA community where agency officials, small business owners and others can interact with each other.

SBA will also launch new features that will help small businesses benefit from SBA services. As Administrator Karen Mills explains: ... we're working to connect small businesses in need of capital with lenders in less time through the site and also looking to expand the number of federal contracting opportunities available to small businesses through dynamic web tools

The SBA.gov redesign is a flagship project for the agency that forms part of its' Open Government Plan with a goal of building an online presence that is transparent, participatory and collaborative. You can read more about the project and contribute your suggestions at www.sba.gov/next.

* Note: Hyperlink directs reader to non-government Web site.

About the Author:

Caron Beesley


Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

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