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According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are approximately 25 million small business in the United States. They account for 47% of all sales, 55% of innovations, and 35% of all federal contracts. And the rate of small business bankruptcies are at the lowest point in 19 years!
Taken together, the SBA's research points toward one big conclusion: starting your small business today, including small home-based "micro-enterprises", is a great idea!
Assuming you are in the United States, the SBA, and its affiliated organizations SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and SBDCs (Small Business Development Centers), are perhaps the most valuable sources of advice and education available to the micro-entrepreneur.
After you've decided what your ideal small business will be, how do you find out what resources are available for you at the SBA?
One of the first steps is to call the SBA (1-800-827-5722, 9am-7pm East Coast time) and request publication OPC-2, "Your Business and the SBA". This publication is a summary of the large array of services available to you from the SBA.
Next, go to you local library, and ask the reference librarian for a copy of the SBA's "How to Start a Business in [your state]". It contains all the state- specific details, such as licensing requirements, for every state.
*------------- TIP --------------* Even better, check you local used-books store for a copy. I picked up a copy for my state at a used-books store for five dollars! *------------- TIP --------------*
Since you have Internet access, why not take advantage of the SBA's wealth of online information? The main site is located at http://www.sba.gov
While you're there, sign up for one of the SBA newsletters at http://web.sba.gov/list/
Then, go to http://www.sba.gov/starting/indexsteps.html The series of pages starting here will take you step-by-step through the process of starting your business--from "Your First Steps", through "Do Your Research", through creating business plans and finding counseling.
Finally, visit http://www.sba.gov/classroom/ which features a series of online courses ideal for the micro-entrepreneur.
The advice of friends, family, and associates are certainly valuable. But by taking advantage of the Small Business Administration's offerings, you can be sure you are getting researched, accurate, timely, and professional advice. The SBA is designed especially for you, so if you want to do as much as possible to ensure the success of your venture, don't waste this valuable resource.
Mike Morgan is the editor of The Moonlighting Parent Newsletter, a free biweekly featuring articles of interest to parents who want "just a little" more money each month. Subscribe now at Bison Creek Desktop Publishing < http://bisoncreek.com >