The Small Business Administration should be your first stop. The Small Business Administration site stocks more than 500 shareware programs to start, finance, and expand a business. Check out Guides to Business Plans and Government-funded Programs.
The Department of Commerce promotes job creation, economic growth, sustainable development and improved living standards for all Americans by working in partnership with business, universities, communities and workers.
www.Smallbusiness.yahoo.com links you to Business Tools for quick lesson on basics like creating an income statement. Other handy features on Yahoo! Small Business: trade show listings and links to track overnight packages. For those who’ve caught dot-com fever, a special section covers building an on-line business.
www.Asbdc-us.org is the Association of Small Business Development Centers site, listing the more than 1,000 government-funded centers nationwide that offer expert help at no charge. Try its useful links on government grants and running a home-based business.
www.Onlinewbc.com provides advice from seasoned pros at your local government-funded Women’s Business center. Some 60 centers in 36 states-with more in the works-are designed to help women business owners get their companies up and running. At the site, you will gain access to articles on marketing, finance, technology, and more. Links to organizations such as the Service Corps of Retired Executives can match you up with an experienced adviser.
www.Ec2.edu.com gives you entrée into the start-up scene. Sponsored by the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, with one of the country’s biggest entrepreneurship programs, Ec2 provides info on new technology and hot businesses as well as links to sites like the hip ideacafe.com, which offers “cyberschmoozes,” hardware and software reviews, and advertising and marketing help.
www.womanowned.com walks would-be entrepreneurs through the launch process, from writing a business plan to raising capital. For those past the beginners’ stage, there’s advice on marketing and scoring government contracts on the Web. Best feature: A database searches your area for other women business owners.
www.Ceoexpress.com is an Elizabeth Dole favorite. On its opening page, you’ll find links to hundreds of useful resources, from top news and business dailies to technology magazines, time, weather, and health info. For financial pros. links connect to every stock, banking, and investing must-see site.
www.Nvca.org from the National Venture Capital Association, a trade group for venture capitalists and private equity investors, provides start-up financing news. Link to Venture Economics Information Services, A Thompson Financial Services division, for excellent data to target your search.
www.Usinvestor.com initially looks like an online infomercial complete with spinning dollar signs, but ir offers a matchmaking service for entrepreneurs and VC’s for just $8 a month. Better yet, they’re looking for small companies with sales in the $25,000 to $2 million range.
www.Tdfund.com is the site of a VC firm that offers up to a cool million in equity investments for small business with hot communications technology. Applying is free; fees come once you’re accepted. The Telecommunications Development Fund site’s downloadable data sheet spells out your business plan. For its efforts, TDF expects preferred security, a percent of ownership, a seat on the board, and a hand in management.
www.Businessexchange.com will save you from schlepping around the country doing road shows one-on-one. Instead, tap into American Venture Capital Exchange’s invaluable resource: venture clubs that let you pitch to an audience full of investors eager to pump money into the next hot company-maybe yours!
www.Garage.com carefully screens potential entrepreneurs and backers, with detailed applications, stringent reviews, and face-to-face meetings. But once on track, you negotiate your own deals for a cash infusion for your business.
www.Moneyhunter.com auditions serious pitchmeisters on-line for MoneyHunt, a public TV show on which entrepreneurs plead for cash.
www.bizplanit.com quick start offers a variety of business plan templates.