While working for oneself may provide viable employment for those in reentry, there are a lot of things to learn in order to successfully do so.
And an excellent way to come up to speed on the various aspects of establishing a small business is through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s SBA Small Business Learning Center.
On the center’s website, you will find an online classroom that provides access to advice and guidance that will help you get started in your efforts. And, once your business is established, there’s information on how to help it grow.
The material is presented in a series of short – mainly 30-minute – online courses on subjects that include:
- Understanding your customer
- Buying a business
- Creating a competitive advantage
- Customer service
- Cybersecurity for small businesses
- Establishing values for your business
- Financing options for small businesses
- Finding and attracting investors
- How to prepare a loan package
- How to write a business plan
- Introduction to crowdfunding for entrepreneurs
- Social media marketing
In order to take any of the courses, you just have to click on the icon next to the course description, fill out a registration form, and you’re ready to go.
Need more help?
The site also includes a Local Assistance interactive map where you can search for the nearest Small Business Administration District Office and other organizations that provide training, mentoring and counseling to those who want to start their own businesses. Many services are free of charge. Others have reasonable fees.
If you’ve done the research and decided that starting a small business is what you’d like to do, there’s a Business Plan Tool that provides a step-by-step process to help you put one together.
Then you might want to contact SCORE, a nonprofit organization that pairs people who want to start small businesses with one of its 10,000 volunteer mentors who have experience to share.
And if you’re looking for funding for starting your business, here are some resources that may be able to help you.