5 Myth Busters on Getting Help for Your Small Business
Perhaps you have discovered that the right path for you at this time is to go out on your own. After 30 years in the corporate world, including over a decade at Microsoft, I made that decision. It isn’t always easy, and you might miss the security of a corporate job but starting a business can be very satisfying.
For those of you traveling down the entrepreneurial path, and if you are out there pounding the pavement for financing, resources and other support, one of the best kept secrets in the business world is the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA is an often-overlooked government resource that might provide the help you need for your small business.
Let’s bust some myths.
Myth #1 – The SBA only helps with business loans.
The truth is SBA does more than help secure small business loans, even though its loan programs are among the more well-known parts of the agency. But I have a secret to share: the SBA also provides help with business education, economic development, business coaching, mentoring, and training to help small business owners with financing, marketing, taxes, and business licensing and certifications.
I attended a great presentation at a WBENC event, of which I’m a member, and I learned about unique women and minority-owned small business support organizations who partner with the SBA. There are so many resources available! Are you tapping into them?
Myth #2 – I have to join SBA to get help with my business idea.
The truth is you do not need to join the SBA or become a member to get assistance or access resources. It helps make the American Dream of business ownership a reality. The SBA is a go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government. It provides entrepreneurs and small business owners with resources and support needed to start, grow, and expand their businesses. The SBA offers services through a network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.
Myth #3 – The SBA helps only existing small businesses.
The truth is the SBA helps small businesses at all stages to thrive whether you are just starting out or expanding your existing business. The SBA offers expert advice, counseling and training to help along the way. The SBA defines small as under 500 employees – check out its Size Tool to see how you measure up.
Myth #4 – I must have a business plan in place before I can get help.
The truth is you can get help from an SBA resource partner to create your business plan. Because knowing where to start can be challenging, working with a mentor or counselor from SCORE, a Small Business Development Center, Women’s Business Center or a Veterans Business Outreach Center can help guide you through each stage.
If you like a more autonomous approach, the SBA has tools to help make writing a business plan less intimidating. Take their free online course, How to Write a Business Plan, or use their Build A Business Plan Tool that helps simplify the process, or use the SBA’s Business Planning Guide and view sample business plans.
Myth #5 – The SBA has free money to help me start my business.
The truth is the SBA does not give money to start or expand small businesses. The SBA works with non-commercial organizations, like nonprofits, educational institutions, and state and local governments, to provide grants that aid in small business development.
So, while the myth of getting free money is busted, the reality is the SBA can assist in securing loans to get your small business up and running. Like me, you may not know which funding instrument, if any, you should seek; give yourself permission to ask the “stupid questions” to an SBA coach!