There's a lot of it available out there... for you... and much of it is free. Help with your marketing, business management, and ways to stay competitive, cash flow positive, and ahead of the pack.
And in this economy, why not take advantage of it !
1. Network organizations
Business after hours, Chamber of Commerce meetings, BNI or similar business networks. Rotary, Jaycees, and other service organizations. Trade organizations like NARI, NAHB, CHBA (for you Canadians). Get involved, and get the word out on your business. Associate with those that are going through similar experiences, and brainstorm with them. Many of these folks are willing to share their advice and help you out. Hey, you may just shake hands with your next customer.
2. SCORE big time
I came across SCORE the other day (Service Corps of Retired Executives http://www.score.org/). Here's what they say about themselves:
SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business" is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide. SCORE is a resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
SCORE is headquartered in Herndon, VA and Washington, DC and has 370 chapters throughout the United States and its territories, with 11,200 volunteers nationwide. Both working and retired executives and business owners donate time and expertise as business counselors. SCORE was founded in 1964.
We are America's premier source of free and confidential small business advice for entrepreneurs.
Wow, I'd take them up on that one in a heartbeat. Just look at all the business templates that are available for your small but growing business:
3. Small Business Administration
The Small Business Adminstration (http://www.sba.gov/), or SBA, helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States.
Not only can they provide you with business planning, services, financing, marketing and a host of other tools, they can also help you find local State resources.
4. Economic Development Administration
Each State has one, and they all want YOUR business. They want you to succeed in their State. And they provide the tools to help you: access to capital, technical assistance, educational programs, peer groups and referrals to others in your situation who may be able to help out. Find your State's EDA here:
5. Free Software Productivity Tools
There are some great applications out there to make your job, and life, easier. Some of it will also raise you up a few notches in professionalism.
6. Free Website
If you don't have one already, get one. Many free "template" websites exist.
If you subscribe to BuildIT, we'll give you one, and even help you get it set up.
You need a web presence. Your customers want to see what you're made of. And you'll fare much better if you give them a business card with email@example.com on it as opposed to a Gmail, Hotmail, or AOL email address (save those for your personal email - for business, spend a few dollars and get a proper email address that brands your business).
We can help you get a domain (www.yourbiz.com) and an email address firstname.lastname@example.org pretty quick, and for just a few bucks. Call us.
OK, time for the shameless self promotion :-)
But seriously, BuildIT is mission critical for many construction businesses that are weathering this financial crisis. This is a productivity tool that keeps you organized, on top of your scheduling, and gives key people visibility into what's happened, and what needs to happen next. Use it right, it will put more time back into your life, and more $$ in your jeans.
So there you have it, just a sampling of tools and ideas geared to help you achieve more in your business.
Here's to your success !
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