Running a small business as a solopreneur can be a lonely life. Working long hours to keep things running all by yourself, it can be easy to feel as though you’re the only one who is struggling. But you’re not — and help is available. The irony is that many solopreneurs don’t ask for assistance, even when there are valuable and affordable resources out there providing expert advice and support to help them reach their goals.
Being a solopreneur doesn’t mean going it totally alone. Take advantage of any and all resources that you can find to help you meet and exceed your business and personal goals. There is no shame in borrowing great resources from someone else’s game. Here are a few to get you started.
The U.S. Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration has a wealth of free resources available for solopreneurs. The SBA is not just about loans. If you’ve never set foot in a local SBA office, visited a Small Business Development Center, or taken an SBA training program, the SBA’s Create Your Business Plan section of its website is an excellent place to start. If you’re not sure how to write a business plan, this free resource will walk you through each section, telling you what to include and how to make it stand out.
Your State’s Small Business Development Center
Each state runs its own small business development center, a valuable free resource for small business owners and solopreneurs. For example, the Tennessee Small Business Development Center offers free local and virtual business advice from experienced business owners, local and virtual training, and local and nationwide referrals, along with a variety of other tools. It also provides access to business advisors and special events. Check out the SBA’s list of small business development centers by state here.
SCORE is the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, with more than 10,000 volunteers in 300 chapters. As a resource partner of the Small Business Administration (SBA), SCORE has helped more than 11 million entrepreneurs through mentoring, workshops, and educational resources since 1964. SCORE’s Business Plan page is another fantastic and free small business resource loaded with online business workshops and podcasts. Free mentoring is also available – both in person and via email. The retired executives who serve as SCORE volunteers are an unheralded national treasure, yet few solopreneurs tap into their knowledge.
ShopKeep Small Business 101
ShopKeep’s blog has a section called Small Business 101 that is entirely dedicated to planning and executing a new small business launch. This free small business resource is loaded with information and tools for each of the following topics: Inspiration, Planning, Structure, Finance, Regulations, Insurance, Location, Store Design, Equipment, Inventory, Staffing, Marketing, and Growth & Exit Strategies. Solopreneurs can easily adapt these resources to meet their own goals.
Entrepreneur.com is loaded with articles, questionnaires, templates, and interactive business planning tools, as well as in-person mentoring, online workshops, and podcasts. These free small business resources contain a wealth of information tailored specifically for small business owners and solopreneurs. The Business Plans Forms and Templates page is loaded with business plan guidelines, checklists, templates, and models. This section also includes links to related categories such as Marketing Forms and Templates, Entrepreneurship, and Finance.
Local Business Owners
Chances are, there are other local businesses like yours that could provide a wealth of advice and help. Smart solopreneurs look around their town and find ways to team up with other local solopreneurs and entrepreneurs, whether it’s to market their business, form a mastermind group, or just commiserate over dinner and drinks. It costs nothing to organize a monthly meeting with a few other business owners, and a lot of great ideas could come out of it.
Local Community Colleges
Local colleges can be a great source of education and resources for solopreneurs and small businesses. If your local college doesn’t offer the education or resources you need, let them know. Many learning institutions are focused on meeting the needs of their local business community, so they want to hear from you. They might design a new course to suit your requirements or invite you to be a speaker at a business course, helping to build your reputation and attract new business.
If you haven’t taken the time to explore the site on which you’re reading this blog, do so today. We provide outstanding support to solopreneurs that includes business models, websites, social media, content creation, book publishing for your business, and more. In addition to this blog that is packed full and regularly updated with great solopreneur-related content, we offer personalized counsel and services to help you meet and exceed your business and personal goals.
Here’s eight resources to get you started. What are some more resources that you have found to be valuable in your journey as a solopreneur? Share them with us in the comments!