Someone once said that starting a business is a lot like jumping out of an airplane and assembling the parachute on the way down. But your success doesn’t have to be uncertain. There is power in networking, people who can help you along the way, and resources you can tap into to grow your business. Here are some local sources of assistance that all entrepreneurs should have in their tool box for a firm footing.
Small Business 101
Since the 1950s, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has been assisting small business owners by delivering loans, contracts, and counseling sessions among other services. A quick zip code search for your area nets you the location of the nearest office – in this case the Houston District Office at 8701 S. Gessner Drive, Suite 1200 – as well as Resource Partners like The Lone Star State Capital Corporation and the University of Houston International Trade Center.
Find a Mentor
SCORE stands for the Service Corps of Retired Executives and is a partnership with the SBA. It is this group of experts you can choose from to find someone who can help you with the day to day challenges common to small business owners. If you’re starting out, SCORE can help map out your road to success. If you’re already established, they can help you become more profitable. The best part is SCORE’s services are free of charge and confidential. Visit here for their locations and hours in Houston and here to find out about upcoming workshops and small business meetups.
Carve Out Your Space
BakerRipley is operating restoration centers in communities hard hit by Hurricane Harvey. What this means for you is that at the BakerRipley Harbach Campus, 6225 Northdale Street, business owners can find affordable event space for rent. There are also yoga and other fitness classes to help you with that ever challenging work/life balance. Visit them online, or stop in on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or Thursdays from 2-6 p.m. Arriving early is a must because the center has limited capacity for immediate needs during the hours of operations.
You don’t have to be one of the more than 1,000 member companies of the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) to take advantage of the events that they offer, but doing so makes them free or gets you a discount. Want to see how the GHP can benefit you? Reach out and make reservations for a complementary Learn and Lunch event. The GHP Associate level membership starts at $1,000 but if that expenditure isn’t in your budget at the moment, check out their Small Business Resource Center for additional resources and tools.
Find Your People
Author and business writer Rhonda Abrams says that there are more than 37,000 industry and professional associations in the U.S. More likely than not, there is an association for you. See for yourself. Is there another resource that’s been invaluable to you? We’d love to hear about it.