8 Ways the Government Can Help Your Small Business

The government may seem indifferent to the needs of small businesses, as it rolls along spending like there’s no tomorrow while small banks and businesses struggle to just keep up. There are some ways that the government can help, however, and here are a few of the top sites to look for guidance on everything from business plans to building plans.

1) The granddaddy of them all, the Small Business Association, offers general advice about starting a business, along with counseling, mentoring, SCORE teams, and how to apply for loans, government contracts, and disaster assistance. Go to sba(dot)gov for a long list of articles aimed at answering questions for new or aspiring entrepreneurs.

2) From the Department of the Treasury, to the United States Department of Agriculture, just about every agency has a program embracing small business. Many have the Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization link, along with other service provisions, but pick an agency, and find out what they have to offer small business. The Department of the Treasury offers information on things like State Small Business Credit Initiative information and Small Business Lending Fund.

3) The Federal Business Opportunities site at fbo(dot)gov claims over 25,800 listings of opportunities to do business with the federal government. No matter what business you are in, it is likely that the government spends money in that sector.

4) If you have product to sell, and want to try to sell it overseas, check out the export dot gov site, where export related information such as trade leads and export counseling can help you open up a whole new market.

5) At business.usa(dot)gov you will find a broad range of business topics under one umbrella, from starting, financing, and growing a business, to learning about taxes and credits, beginning or expanding exports, and learning about veterans opportunities or health care changes.

6) At the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer site, you will find resources for applicants, investors, and agencies, connecting small businesses that wish to do research and development work for the government with products that have commercial value. Go to sbir.gov/about/about-sbir to learn which agencies are participating, and how to engage in the three-phase program. Statistics on the site point to over 15,000 firms receiving $21 billion for research and development projects, awarded seven patents each day through the work of 400,000 scientists and engineers.

7) What to do with all of that excess stuff. With its own garage and attic full of things they do not want or need, this site is the gBay of the United States, offering government goods at auction. If your business needs equipment, you just might find it here, and might get a good deal on it as well. govsales.gov/html/about-us.html features different items at any given time, but often has computers, boats, cars, office equipment, jewelry, homes, and land listed on its auction site.

8) For ten years of statistics collected by 100 agencies, head to fedstats.gov. Searchable by agency, by state, or an A to Z search, this is one of the most comprehensive statistical databases on the web. Need to find a stat for your state? It is probably here.

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