Do You SBA?

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers advice, help, and a wealth of information, most of it for free.

Have you visited the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Web site? If you haven’t, shame on you. If you have, then you already know how great it is, especially for the small business owner.

About 90 percent of all small businesses fail each year. Pretty dismal statistics. But the federal government is out there, ready and waiting to offer every small business owner or entrepreneur the help they need to be successful – obviously about 90 percent of these businesspeople do not take advantage of what their tax dollars are providing by way of the SBA and its Web site, sba.gov.

The federal government realizes that the country has a grave stake in the success of small business in the U.S. Here are some eye-opening statistics (from the SBA Website, of course). Small businesses:

    • Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
    • Employ half of all private-sector employees.
    • Pay more than 45 percent of the total U.S. private payroll.
    • Have generated 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade.
    • Create more than 50 percent of non-farm private gross domestic product.
    • Supplied more than 23 percent of the total value of federal prime contracts in fiscal year 2005.
    • Produce 13 to 14 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms. These patents are twice as likely as large firm patents to be among the one percent most cited.
    • Are employers of 41 percent of high tech workers, such as scientists, engineers, and computer workers.
    • Are 53 percent home-based and 3 percent franchises.
    • Made up 97 percent of all identified exporters and produced 28.6 percent of the known export value in fiscal year 2004.

These statistics make it more than obvious that if all small businesses suddenly went up in smoke, the United States would basically just implode. No small wonder the federal government has put so much muscle behind the SBA. It’s a big wonder why more folks don’t take full advantage of it.

Take a Web trip to sba.gov. Here’s some of the things you’ll find just on the home page alone:

    • Starting Your Business
    • Financing Your Business
    • Managing Your Business
    • Business Opportunities
    • Health Savings Accounts
    • Business Laws & Regulatory Assistance
    • SCORE (Service Core of Retired Executives).This service is invaluable. You get one-on-one counseling from a retired executive who is donating his time to help other businesses succeed. You need look no further for a mentor.

Need to write a business plan? The SBA can help with instructions and examples, and even a free online business planning workshop. Not sure how to finance your business venture? The SBA can help with information on how to apply for a loan and a list of lenders who actively seek to lend money to small businesses. The SBA even underwrites certain types of loans.

No idea how to market your business? The SBA can help with information all the way from marketing basics to a free online marketing course.

Local SBA offices are located all over the country. You can find your local office by using the search feature on the home page. Give them a call. Or visit sba.gov online. Find out all the things the SBA can do for you.

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