As a small business owner, having access to the right information at the right time can save not only conserve precious resources but also save you a great deal of headache and heartache.
Those looking for information on the best free government resources have many very helpful sites to choose from. Most of the following list comes courtesy of SCORE, but I added a few of my own sites that are also worth checking out:
1. American Management Association The American Management Association provides information, seminars and e-learning courses on business management topics. At the top of the home page, AMA features an article or series focusing on a current business issue or topic.
2. Association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship (USASBE) The mission of the Association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship (USASBE) is to advance knowledge and foster business development, entrepreneurship education and research.
3. Business Nation Find info and links to local business resources. Select your state and get local business news, resources and links.
4. Business.gov The official resource to help businesses quickly find compliance information, forms and contacts from multiple U.S. government Web sites.
5. Department of Homeland Security The Department of Homeland Security’s Web site includes information to small businesses about potential business opportunities and keeping employees safe in the event of a terror attack.
6. Diversity 2000 This site offers a free database of Minority and Women Business Enterprises as well as contacts within Fortune 1000 companies.
7. Edward Lowe Foundation The Edward Lowe Foundation helps emerging growth businesses and second-stage business owners.
8. eVenturing eVenturing, run by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, delivers useful information, guidance and contacts to entrepreneurs.
10. Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOps) The sole source for federal government procurement opportunities that exceed $25,000.
11. Fedmarket.com Fedmarket.com offers free content including a “how-to” guide to small businesses interested in entering the federal marketplace. Fedmarket.com also provides products, services and federal sales training to small businesses.
12. FedStats This site lists statistics from more than 100 government agencies, useful when conducting market research.
13. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) FINRA, through the consolidation of NASD and the New York Stock Exchange, is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation, complementary compliance and technology-based services, which include market regulation, policy enforcement and dispute resolution.
14. GiveMe5.com American Express and WIPP.org come together to help women small business owners by educating them and offering tools to help to secure government contracts.
15. Hispanic Business Federal Guide Get information on 8(a) certification, procurement contacts within federal agencies, and grant information.
16. IRS Small Business/Self-Employed Web Site The IRS Web site offers a broad range of products, services and resources to educate and assist small business owners and self-employed professionals.
17. Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) A Federal agency established for the encouragement, creation, growth, and expansion of minority-owned businesses in the U.S.
18. National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) NASE is the nation’s leading Web resource for self-employed and micro-businesses. This site provides a broad range of benefits and support.
19. National Business Association The National Business Association keeps members up-to-date and informed on important issues impacting the self-employed and small business community.
20. National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (UIDA) A subsidiary of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, dedicated to developing American Indian economic self-sufficiency through business ownership.
21. National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) NFIB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group that represents the consensus views of its 600,000 members in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals.
22. Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices A wealth of immigration-related employment discrimination information can be found on this Web site.
23. Public Entity Risk Institute (PERI) PERI is a nonprofit that offers risk-management resources and training to small businesses. Look for their Risk Management for Small Business publication and their Workplace Safety Kit.
24. SCORE – Service Corps Of Retired Executives Recieve free counseling and business advice from experienced business professionals. This site also contains informative articles and links to various small business resources.
25. Social Security Online This site allows employers to process their W-2s for their employees. The process requires no special software.
26. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) The online CFDA gives access to a database of all federal assistance programs.
27. The Retailer Owners Institute The Retailer Owners Institute is dedicated to improving the financial professionalism of independent retailers.
28. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Center The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Center provides small business news and practical business advice. This is the largest national membership organization of chambers in the country.
29. U.S. Department of Commerce Department of Commerce offers information on foreign markets and international trade. Commerce also monitors and enforces compliance with U.S. trade laws and agreements.
30. U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) BLS is an agency for the Federal Government that produces labor economic data and statistics.
31. U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce National business membership organization for Hispanic entrepreneurs with a variety of how to information, national conferences and a membership spanning the nation.
32. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office This site contains everything you need to know about patents and trademarks.
33. U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) The SBA provides financial, technical and management assistance to help Americans start, run and grow their businesses.
34. USA.gov FirstGov is online collection of federal, local and tribal governments, information, services and resources.
35. Winning Workplaces Winning Workplaces is a nonprofit that provides small and mid-size employers with proven, practical and affordable people practices, tools and articles to help entrepreneurs improve their workplace practices.
36. WomanBiz.gov A site for woman business owners who are or who want to sell their products and services to the federal government.
37. Women Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century This site provides women with numerous resources, such as info on government procurement, access to capital, international business, and online workshops.
38. Women’s Business Enterprise National Council This national council serves as an advocate for women-owned suppliers, and helps women-owned businesses obtain certification.