50 percent of new businesses fail within five years, and only one-third make it to their ten-year anniversary. Those statistics are intimidating. But, there are ways to make sure your business is among the few that are able to thrive long term.
What do you need to do to ensure your business is successful? You can start by understanding all the resources out there designed for entrepreneurs.
Keep reading to learn about the entrepreneurial resources that every business owner needs to succeed.
You can’t get very far into starting your own business if you lack funding. It’d be nice if we all had wealthy family members who could give us the money we need to start our businesses. That’s not the case for most of us, though.
Luckily, there are lots of options out there for small business loans and grants.
Small Business Loans
One of the first entrepreneurial resources that every business owner should look into is the Small Business Administration (SBA).
The SBA helps entrepreneurs get government-guaranteed business loans with low-interest rates and long-term repayment options. Loan amounts range from $30,000 to $5 million with 7-8% APR. There are a few caveats that come with these loans, though:
- SBA loans are generally reserved for people with good personal credit
- It takes quite a while to go through the application process
- These loans are best for one-time large investments like purchasing real estate or equipment
If you aren’t able to get a loan through the SBA, you can look into loans and lines of credit from your personal credit union. Depending on your credit score and ability to repay the loan, you may have higher interest rates.
Only about 1 in 5 businesses that apply for a loan from a bank are approved. If you’re not that 1 in 5, you can look into online lenders who make the loan application process simpler. Online lenders are also faster and often offer competitive interest and repayment rates.
Small Business Grants
Small business grants are another option for financing your business. Grants will allow you to get your business off the ground without having to worry about repaying debt. Some organizations to look into for small business grants include:
- Government agencies like Grants.gov, BusinessUSA, and the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
- Your state’s Economic Development Agency and Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
- Grants from large corporations like FedEx, Miller Lite, and LendingTree.
Your business is only as good as the employees you bring on to help you run it. So, your employees are some of your most important entrepreneurial resources.
When you’re looking for people to help you run your business, it might be tempting to hire friends or family members. But, you need to ask yourself if they are really the best people for the job? You should seek out individuals who have excellent track records and expertise that will be directly valuable to you as a business owner.
Ideally, you will be able to get referrals for the right kinds of employees from other people in your industry. If this isn’t the case, though, you can reach out to local staffing agencies and executive search firms. These companies are experts at finding the right people to fit your specific business needs.
Virtual Employees and Outsourcing
In-person help is important. But, you also shouldn’t underestimate the benefits of outsourcing and relying on virtual employees.
A virtual assistant (VA) is a great place to start. A good VA will help you stay organized and make you a more efficient business owner. They’ll handle the day-to-day busywork that can quickly pile up and give you space to focus on more important aspects of your business.
Another task that you’ll definitely want to outsource is your bookkeeping. You need to stay on top of your finances as a business owner. But, it’s also not an efficient use of your time to handle your bookkeeping yourself.
Bookkeepers, like VAs, are important entrepreneurial resources. They take over a menial task and free up your time to focus on creation.
It’s okay if you don’t have anyone who can handle your bookkeeping for you. Services like Bench.com can connect you with a professional bookkeeper for a monthly fee.
As you’re probably starting to see, there are lots of benefits that come with outsourcing different aspects of your business. As your business grows, you might also want to consider outsourcing things, including:
- Social media marketing
- Web design
- Content writing
When it comes to entrepreneurial resources, education is one of the most overlooked — but most valuable — resources out there. Education doesn’t necessarily mean a university degree, either.
As a business owner, you should always be looking for ways to learn and improve. You need to stay on top of the latest trends and techniques and be able to share what you learn with your employees.
Listed below are some education-related entrepreneurial resources that every business owner should look into.
Global Accelerator Network
Global Accelerator Network (GAN) is a great resource for startup companies. It’s comprised of over 70 accelerators located in 100 cities across six continents. This program provides startups with short-term, mentorship-based programs to help new entrepreneurs launch their business.
Since it was founded in 2010, GAN has helped 4,700 startup business. Eighty-five percent of startups that work with GAN stay in business and continue to operate successfully all over the world.
Startup Grind connects more than 1,00,000 entrepreneurs in 250 cities and 100 countries. The community provides entrepreneurs with lots of resources, including:
- Networking events
- Partnerships with organizations like Google for Entrepreneurs
- Media opportunities
Coursera is an online community allows you to enroll for free in tons of different courses. These courses are taught by professors from some of the world’s best universities. Whether you want to learn coding, marketing, or any other skill, Coursera probably has a class for you.
Udemy is an online learning marketplace similar to Coursera. It offers more than 42,000 courses and helps more than 14 million students grow and gain the knowledge necessary to excel in their field.
More than 5 million business practitioners use Strategyzer to grow their business and understand their customers. A specific tool that Strategyzer offers, Business Model Canvas, is one of the best entrepreneurial resources out there.
Business Model Canvas helps you put together a one-page business model. This model will guide you through every aspect of your startup journey.
As stated above, a virtual assistant is a great resource that frees up your time to focus on other aspects of running your business. But, you might not have the financial resources to pay for a virtual assistant when you’re in the early stages of starting your business.
Luckily, there are lots of free or low-cost entrepreneurial resources to help you stay organized and run your business efficiently.
Thanks to Evernote, there’s no more digging around for pieces of paper with random ideas scribbled on them!
Evernote app makes it easy for you to keep track of notes, ideas, photos, and links. Evernote sends all of these things directly to the cloud and makes it possible for you to access them from all your devices.
An expense tracker makes record-keeping easy. It also helps you understand your — and your employees’ — spending habits.
An app like Expensify makes it easy for you and your employees to scan receipts to keep track of expenses. It also automates the reporting process and can be integrated into other digital accounting platforms.
Stencil is an app that helps you make an unlimited amount of images and memes, which are great for social media marketing and brand building. You’ll see your engagement increase dramatically when you make use of this app for your business.
Like it or not, you have to pay taxes as a business owner. When you’re new to the business world, dealing with taxes is almost always overwhelming. That’s why the IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center is such an invaluable resource.
The website provides you with all the information you need to stay on top of your taxes and make sure you’re prepared to make payments on time. There are also lots of resources to help you understand things like deductions and tax credits.
It’s easy to get caught up in “the grind” as a business owner. But, your mental health matters, too. If you get burned out too quickly, you’ll be more likely to give up before your business can truly flourish.
Taking a break to de-stress might seem like the last thing you should do when you’re trying to get your business off the ground. In reality, though, taking a break every once in a while might be the best thing you can do for your business.
You’re more prepared to tackle challenges and handle the inevitable failures and setbacks that come with running a business when you take the time to regroup.
Some resources to help you de-stress include:
The Pomodoro method helps you manage your time effectively. The method calls for 25-minute work seconds followed by a five-minute break. There are lots of online timers out there that are already set for these intervals; all you have to do is hit “start.”
Online therapy programs like Talkspace are a great option if you’re struggling and need to speak to someone about the stresses that come with running a business. These programs make it easy for you to talk to a professional therapist without having to leave your home or office.
What Are Your Favorite Entrepreneurial Resources?
What are entrepreneurial resources are essential for your business success? Have you used any of the resources on this list? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.