5 Local Resources You Need for the Sake of Your Business

local small business resources

Everyone and their mother loves to chime in with half-remembered statistics of how businesses fail in the first two years — or was it five? So much encouragement surrounds you as begin this venture. Family members raise their eyebrows while friends encourage you to do what you love. Of course, you know there’s more to running and maintaining a business than what these well-meaning folks suggest.

Long work days deprive you of sleep, and you meet milestones while missing others. It’s all business. You’re willing to take all the help you can get, whether you’re side hustling or spearheading the small business lifestyle full-time — as long as it’s relevant. Use these five local small business resources to empower your  business and for the sake of sustainable growth — and your sanity.

Participate in Networking Meetups

Does your industry have a trade association with a local chapter that meets regularly to network and exchange knowledge? Attend these socials and networking meetings.

Check with your chamber of commerce for networking opportunities. Look at community boards in coffee shops and the library. Search online for a Young Professionals Organization or Professionals Under 40 (or Over 50). Rotary International likely has a club in your area to join as well for networking. When you find your network, you will find your people.

Become a Member of Coworking Spaces

Coworking differs from incubators and involves utilizing a shared business space, which you access for the price of a preferred membership level. You can book a conference room and have access to software and services you may not be able to afford on your own. You can rent a small office or desk. Coworking spaces also cultivate environments perfect for community and networking among other small to medium-sized business owners.

Millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2030, and coworking spaces are expanding into smaller cities and “flyover” areas in parts of the Midwest in response to a generation who increasingly prefers the freelance or entrepreneurial life. Small business owners can also look forward to more industry-specific coworking spaces for techies, creatives and more.

Take Advantage of Local Business Incentives

Small business owners can take advantage of local business incentives to fund their operations and accept beneficial tax cuts. Whether starting or expanding your business, economic incentives will cultivate sustainable growth, such as claiming enterprise zones, foreign trade zones or SBA Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) zones. Various loans and grants also help fill the gap when you’re struggling with navigating private investments and total project costs.

Research the Small Business Administration (SBA)

The Small Business Administration (SBA) learning center hosts many free online classes to help you overcome challenges to starting, financing, marketing and managing a small business. It also provides access to loan information and guidance for preparing loan and grant applications. The SBA also works with local partners to provide local assistance, such as through the Women’s Business Center and Veteran’s Business Center.

Visit and Join Your Chamber of Commerce

Everyone, from tourists to new residents, first visit the chamber of commerce in their area for resources on the city and its surroundings. Add your business to your local chamber as one way to get the attention of such new visitors and residents. You can also arrange to leave your card or brochure at the chamber.

Your chamber also hosts various events, workshops and small business news announcements for you to stay on top with a successful business in the community.

Starting a side hustle or growing a small business can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.  But it doesn’t have to be that way. Your business becomes successful and sustainable by lifting up other businesses and resources in the community and joining forces to learn from one another.

Get out there and network at meetups. Set up shop in a coworking space until you find the perfect real estate for your business. Take advantage of business and economic incentives. Look into what training the SBA and Chamber of Commerce offer. Your community provides more resources for business success than you may think. Grab the reins and see where the possibilities lead!

Sarah Landrum

After graduating from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR, Sarah moved to Harrisburg to start her career as a Digital Media Specialist and a writer. She later founded Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to helping young professionals navigate the work world and find happiness and success in their careers.