One of the great things about being in business for yourself these days is that there are a lot of helpful resources to be found. Back in the day, especially the pre-Internet day, entrepreneurs were mostly on their own. They would rise or fall based on what they knew or – more accurately – did not know.
Not now. Today, not only are there more resources, but they are also far more readily available. Not knowing, and not having help, is mostly a thing of the past.
In particular, there is especially a lot of help for women and veteran small businesses aimed at encouraging small business ownership among these groups. Here are some of our favorites:
Resources for Veteran Entrepreneurs
What with their ability to follow a mission, their commitment to teamwork, and mastery of follow-through, veterans make great entrepreneurs. Here then are some of the best small business resources available to them:
SBA Veteran Programs: Not surprisingly, that best friend to small business, the Small Business Administration, has a lot of resources for the veteran entrepreneur. For example, Operation Boots to Business is a program for military service personnel transitioning to civilian life.
The Veterans Administration: Similarly, the VA has a great small business resource center, the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal. Offering help for everything from starting, to financing, to growing a business, this is a great place for the fresh and seasoned veteran entrepreneur alike.
Veteran Entrepreneurship Courses: According to Bunker in a Box CEO Todd Conner, “Bunker in a Box is designed to be a first-stop for exploring entrepreneurship.” Using videos, online tutorials, and articles, veterans can embark on 14 “missions” that teach entrepreneurship. Along the same lines, but in person, Patriot Boot Camp offers entrepreneurship training programs in various cities nationwide.
Resources for Female Entrepreneurs
While women face unique challenges when it comes to business, they don’t have to go at it alone. Community, funding, training, mentoring and much more are available both on and offline. Check out:
The SBA: Any woman looking to launch a career in entrepreneurship should begin their search by going to the SBA Office Women Business Ownership Home Page
SCORE: At SCORE, either online or off, you can get free, confidential, expert business mentoring from coaches nationwide.
Female entrepreneurship training: IGNITE straddles the line between veteran and female entrepreneurship. Designed especially for female veterans, IGNITE is a one-day entrepreneurship training event offered in cities nationwide.
National Association of Women Business Owners: NAWBO has chapters throughout the country that sponsor educational meetings and networking events. NAWBO's website includes online entrepreneurial training and resources.
Entrepreneurship Websites: The internet is full of sites designed to inspire, educate, and empower women. Some offer free content, some are membership sites, and some are geared toward conferences or education. Popular sites include Woman Owned She Owns It the Female Entrepreneur Association. You can find others by searching for websites and blogs for women entrepreneurs.
- Check out this collection highlighting how to embrace the unique challenges women face and thrive as small business owners.
Financial Resources for all
All entrepreneurs should know about the funding options available from the Small Business Administration. The programs below are great options, whether you are a woman, veteran or any other type of small business owner:
The 7(a) Loan Program: This bread-and-butter program is one of SBA's primary lending vehicles. It provides very favorable terms on loans to small businesses unable to secure financing on reasonable terms through normal lending channels. One important thing to note is that the SBA does not make loans itself. Instead, it guarantees loans made by private financial institutions – banks, credits unions, and so on.
SBA CAPLines: Need working capital? This is the place to go.
Microloans: The expedited SBA Microloan program offers small business loans, up to $50,000.
CDFIs: Also known as local loan centers – provide capital, mentoring and financial advice supporting small businesses, affordable housing and nonprofit organizations operating in lower income communities.
Yes, it is fun to start and grow a small business, but it also can be lonely and difficult. Fortunately, there is plenty of help available today making it less so.
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success.© Steven D. Strauss
Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice. Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation