When looking for small business support, you have to make sure that the company you're working with is legitimate. It's a real challenge when you find a business that is really into helping people like you and wants to give you their best efforts in return. However, finding a legitimate company shouldn't be an issue. All you need to do is know where to look. With that in mind, here are some of the best places to get small business support from:
o Small Business Support Organizations (SBO) – Small Business Organizations can provide small business support on many different levels, and are a great source of information for any potential clients. If you have questions about business ownership, financing, sales, marketing, accounting, or any other aspect of owning a business, a SBO can answer those needs. The great thing about a SBO is that they will provide unbiased information on any given topic, so you know whether or not a particular company is worth working with. Of course, you should take care to avoid companies or professionals who charge too much for their services. A good rule of thumb is to ask at least 2 SBO referrals before choosing a company or professional to help you out.
o Blogs and forums – There are many online discussion forums and blogs where small business owners can chat, ask questions, or give advice. Be wary of any professional service that makes a pitch to buy their product or service right away. Professional service providers usually encourage their clients to ask questions, learn more about a service before buying, or providing feedback on a product or service. If a service provider acts like this, move on to the next possible professional service provider.
o Blogs and podcasts – Many people these days have turned to podcasts and blogs in addition to regular newspapers to keep up with current events, trends, and what's going on in their lives. This is a great way to get small business support, as well. People are always looking for information about local businesses, local events, new products, and anything else they want to know. By regularly posting on your blog or podcast, you can attract more potential customers to your small business website.
o Networking – If you're a skilled professional who does small projects for friends and family, consider approaching other professionals in your line of work and asking them to refer you. You can get small business support in this way, as well. Just be sure you provide quality service and you work hard to build a good reputation. In most cases, you won't be able to make a lot of money from referrals, but it can help you to find some ideal business partners. Also, other professionals will often appreciate the extra help around the office if they don't have time to focus on their own business.
There are many other ways to get small business support. You can look through small business forums, online business directories, and contact other small business owners you know. You can also look for small business support groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. When you use social media to market your business, you have a captive audience that is interested in what you do. The key to getting small business support this way is consistency and building relationships.
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