How to Get Help Starting a Business
Starting a business venture isn’t for the faint-hearted. It’s one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do in your life. But it’s also the scariest. You may be passionate about getting your new company up and running, but you likely have plenty of questions.
No business owner needs to tackle everything on their own. Instead, get help starting a business using a combination of free and paid resources.
Why entrepreneurs seek help when starting a business
You came up with this awesome business idea. Perhaps you have a background that makes you the perfect person to provide a service or sell an innovative product. Some entrepreneurs have various skillsets that translate well into business ownership, like a strong knowledge of business law or accounting practices.
However, few people are experts in every critical skill, like business planning or marketing. Internet research only gets you so far. And often, you may find that you’re spending too much time learning when you need to be growing your business. That’s why entrepreneurs get help in areas like:
- Accounting and taxes
- Legal setup, legality, licensing, business law, and insurance
- Business planning and marketing
- Logistics like seating, parking, or business layout
- Human resources for hiring recruitment and retention strategies
Top questions from entrepreneurs starting a business
Depending on your expertise, you may have many questions about business ownership. Acquiring the correct answer affects everything from your taxes to legal liabilities. Common questions owners ask when starting a business include:
- What is a business plan, and why do I need one?
- Do I need a business license or extra insurance?
- What legal aspects should I worry about?
- Do I need to do a monthly cash flow analysis?
- How much will it cost to start my business?
- What kind of documents do I need to get a startup loan?
Easy ways to get help starting a business
Between online forums, business mentors, and small business services, entrepreneurs have access to experts at every step. While some resources give you a general overview, including templates or examples, others provide in-depth consultations with personalized advice. Explore your options and get your questions answered using these fantastic small business resources from:
- Local, state, and federal sources
- Entrepreneur forums
- Social media groups
- Free or low-cost online courses
- Mentors, coaches, or consultants
Get help with your business from local, state, and federal sources
Use nonprofit and community services to get help in starting a business. Many offer online content, frequently asked question pages, and provide access to free or low-cost mentoring. If you have questions about startup funding or need help finding local services, then each of these organizations are here to help.
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)
The best place to start is with your local small business development center. With nearly 1,000 locations throughout the US, SBDCs offer business consulting and training, including free or low-cost sessions. These centers collaborate with experts at the local and regional levels to assist startups.
US Small Business Administration (SBA)
The Small Business Administration is a wealth of resources for small business owners. It offers on-site consultations along with a website chock full of information. For instance, on the SBA website, you can:
- Take online courses to plan or launch your business.
- Learn about SBA-backed government loans.
- Qualify to secure small business government contracts.
- Find local events on startup or operational topics.
SCORE is a “resource partner” of the SBA. Along with a rich library of online resources, SCORE also offers free business mentoring in-person or remotely. Its comprehensive website gives entrepreneurs access to assistance like:
- Live and recorded webinars
- Interactive on-demand courses
- Local workshops
Local Chambers of Commerce
Head down to your local Chambers of Commerce to explore resources for starting a business in your area. These centers connect you with other business owners, help you find funding, offer free marketing, and assist with advertising.
Although you’ll find loads of free or low-cost advice online, some of the best resources stem from industry-specific associations. Start by searching the directory of associations. Tailor your search by choosing your state and category. For instance, you’ll find lists of associations specific to:
The site touts more than 32,000 records of associations, so it’s a fantastic place to uncover new resources and networking opportunities.
Participate in entrepreneur forums
An entrepreneur forum is a fantastic spot to talk with seasoned entrepreneurs and other like-minded individuals. You’ll find many conversations about starting a business. Some even offer startup documents that are free to the public. Browse these entrepreneur forums to get answers to your pressing questions.
StartupNation Community Business Forums
With more than 13,000 posts, StartupNation is the go-to place for entrepreneurs. Find answers about finances and funding options, building a website, or protecting your ideas all in one spot. Or read success stories for extra inspiration.
BizWarriors Small Business and Entrepreneur Forum
Explore conversations about starting your business on the BizWarriors forum. The site says it’ll help you “plan, finance, promote, and grow your business.” Along with advice and tips, this group offers a resources board and a spot to showcase your new company.
Small Business Forums
The Small Business Forums cover all areas of starting and running a business. You’ll find categories for legal issues, advertising, taxes, and much more. Find comments and answers to questions about:
- Hiring a business coach
- Renting a storefront
- Scheduling or payroll software
Digital Point is one of the largest online communities for entrepreneurs. There are currently over 2,342,793 discussions, 17,599,031 messages, and 864,606 members. You can find comprehensive answers to nearly every startup business question.
Explore More Popular Forums
Are you looking for more community-based resources? Consider this list of forums geared towards startup entrepreneurs:
- The Fastlane Forum
- Reddit Entrepreneur Forums
- Small Business and Startup Forum
- The Admin Zone
- Linked Small Business Innovators
- Business Advice Forum
Join business startup social media groups
Social media groups are another way to rub elbows with entrepreneurs and crowdsource solutions. Both Facebook and LinkedIn offer a wide variety of groups. If you’re searching for a specific question, you can search for posts containing your keywords.
The best part about social media groups is that you can join communities that support general business questions or join industry-specific groups.
For example, the private group Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, and StartUps on Facebook help you “grow through peer-to-peer learning, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and connections to experts.” If you’re starting a restaurant, consider joining Restaurant Owners Startup & Growth for industry-specific advice and tips.
On LinkedIn, the Startup Specialists Group is an online global network for entrepreneurs and startups. However, you can join the Food Business Startup group to explore franchise options or plan a menu.
Take free or low-cost online courses
Another way to get help starting a business is by taking a digital class. Although more time-consuming, an online course can guide you through different startup projects, from inbound marketing to search engine optimization. The best part is that you’ll acquire skills to help yourself tackle business ownership. Consider classes like:
- Free Excel courses and guides on Udemy
- The Bean Counting 101 course on accounting
- Hubspot Academy classes in marketing, sales, and service
- How to Start Your Own Business Specialization on Coursera
Hire an expert consultant, coach, or mentor
Doing everything yourself isn’t always the best option. If you’re spending hours finding a solution, you’re taking time away from other business startup tasks. There are some aspects of business ownership that you want one-on-one help with.
After all, you may love designing landscapes or helping clients eat organically. When it comes to crunching numbers or developing a marketing strategy, it feels like you’re running in circles. Enlisting help from a consultant, coach, or mentor helps you tackle startup projects while making the best use of your resources.
You can get help with industry-specific issues, like creating a pricing strategy for your restaurant menu or general business assistance, such as developing a business plan. Many consultants offer options such as:
- Video conferencing
- Email consulting
- Face-to-face meetings
- Telephone consultations
Need help starting a business?
Few companies are built based on the knowledge of one person. Instead, entrepreneurs rely on professional advice, community forums, and low-cost resources. Set your company up for success by enlisting help and building relationships with other business owners. Start today by finding a hospitality or wellness expert.