Here’s Where to Find Free (or Low-Cost) Expert Advice for Your Small Business

There are three reasons entrepreneurs don’t seek professional help: they don’t know it’s available, they assume it’s not needed, or they think it’s too expensive.

All three of these are wrong.

We all need help, and asking for it reveals strength, not weakness. According to a Harvard study, people who seek advice appear more competent than those who do not.

And while it can feel lonely at the top, there are actually a variety of resources available to entrepreneurs in every stage of their business life, whether you haven’t yet launched your company or you’ve been in business for years.

Julie Cripe, President of Bank of the Ozarks’ Government Guaranteed Lending Division says, “A big problem many entrepreneurs encounter is how to afford professional help at the point when their need is the greatest; usually when their financial resources are most limited. Help doesn’t have to cost money, but you do have to know where to look.”

Cripe suggests looking into the free counseling and workshops, as well as the low-cost training services, that are available through Small Business Development Centers, which are administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and SCORE, its volunteer arm.

There’s at least one Small Business Development Center in every state and you can find your local office at SBA.gov.

Cripe says, “Services include, but are not limited to, helping small businesses with financials, marketing, production, organization, engineering and technical problems, and feasibility studies. Special programs include international trade assistance, technical assistance, procurement assistance, venture capital formation and rural development.”

An easy way to get started is to sign up for the SBA’s free 3-day Virtual Conference that takes place May 1 – 3, 2018 during National Small Business Week.

It will feature educational webinars, mentoring sessions, networking opportunities, and resources on topics including online marketing, financing, customer service, cybersecurity and more from industry experts like Visa, Google and Paychex.

You can pick and choose what sessions you want to attend, and then participate from your office or home computer.

Which brings up a possible fourth reason entrepreneurs don’t seek help: they don’t think they have time.

Wrong again.

 

Adam Lucas holds a Finance degree and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. His work has appeared in many major outlets including AARP.org and GoBankingRates.com.

 

 

Julie Cripe is the President of the Government Guaranteed Lending Division of Bank of the Ozarks.  Contact her at 281-999-9207.