Lifting the veil on financing for small businesses is no easy task. Yet finding the right funding solution is critical to every owner’s success.
There’s a massive amount of information, including thousands of websites and books devoted to the topic. You can also get an opinion from your friends at the dog park or supermarket. Getting the right answers for your specific situation from a credible source can be difficult. While one site may promote the latest trend of crowdsourcing, others may steer small business owners only to traditional banks, alternative lenders and credit unions.
Fortunately, there are government agencies, nonprofit associations and professional organizations that are focused on helping provide resources to small business owners to make the best decisions for funding.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) manages BusinessUSA for small business owners. This website includes the Access Financing tool, which identifies potential state and federal funding sources for small businesses. BusinessUSA also provides information on other types of financing in its extensive library of resources.
Your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) can help you find special loan and grant programs in your area. The SBA oversees this program, which has more than 900 local service locations. Nearly every location provides small business owners access to online resources and tools to help identify locally administered funding programs.
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is a federal agency dedicated to helping minority-businesses in the U.S. The agency does not provide loans or grants for businesses, but its national network of MBDA Business Centers provide financial counseling for small business owners seeking to start or expand.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business organization representing the interests of more than three million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions. The organization’s Small Business Nation project includes a website featuring a multitude of resources for small business owners, including information on financing.
The National Federation for Independent Business (NFIB) is an advocacy group for small businesses at both the state and national level. NFIB’s website includes extensive free resources for small business owners about various types of funding.
The National Association of Self-Employed (NASE) offers a wide range of resources and tools to help you run your business successfully, including a substantial online library and NASE consultants, who provide information on a number of topics, including financing.
My Own Business Institute (MOBI) at Santa Clara University offers free online courses for small business owners, including classes on the best ways to finance your business.
SCORE is a non-profit organization with 320 local chapters across the U.S. SCORE matches up small business owners with mentors to help advise entrepreneurs with all aspects of starting and growing their business. The organization’s website includes a number of resources about different types of financing, such as a recent webinar on Choosing The Right Financing — Where to Find Capital to Grow Your Business!