New York restaurant owner Karl Williams has been struggling in Harlem.
Since opening gourmet coffee shop Society Café in June 2005, he has seen the recession hit his bottom line hard.
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“At the beginning of 2010 it really hit a point of make it or break it,” said Williams.
That’s when the 35-year-old Yale graduate went looking for small business resources and quickly found there were many programs to choose from.
“I think a lot of entrepreneurs turn their nose up at the idea that someone is going to tell me how to run my business. Or [say] ‘I will figure it out myself. I will put my head down and work hard and get it done,’” said Williams.
But he found there is something to getting outside advice.
For Williams, a helping hand came from the Clinton Foundation/ Inc. Magazine mentoring program.
“It pairs highly-successful business leaders and entrepreneurs…with small business owners who are running high-growth potential businesses,” explained Parisa Sabeti, the head of Clinton Economic Opportunity Initiative.
Williams said since becoming involved in the program, he has seen many improvements to his businesses that have helped create growth during a difficult time.
Top 5 Resources from the Small Business Administration
In addition to the Clinton Foundation’s entrepreneurship program, there are plenty of other free resources out there for small business owners. Pravina Raghavan, the district director of the Small Business Administration, an independent agency of the federal government, gives FoxBusiness her top five:
1. Small Business Development Center
“This is a great resource. You can get high-quality free business training, workshops and counseling. It’s partially funded by the SBA and usually can be found at universities in the area."
2. Women’s Business Centers
“These centers are not just for women, they were developed for them, but men are also allowed to use all the resources. Similar to the Small Business Development Center, they offer one-on-one counseling. The only difference is they have different funding partners.”
“Score is a volunteer organization that counsels entrepreneurs. The counselors are other entrepreneurs and some of them have been volunteering 30 or 40 years. They can teach you how to write a business plan, how to get financing, and it’s as easy as signing up online and making an appointment.”
4. Government Contracting Assistance - The Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers.
“Twenty-three percent of all government contracting needs to go to small businesses, so people should take advantage of these contracts. PTACS provides education on how to get registered, how to get bids. A lot of the procedures are very regimented.”
“It’s not just an enforcement agency, it also provides education on what tax credits small businesses should be receiving and how to take advantage of it all. It provides information on what small business owners should be asking their accountants, and with $12 billion new tax credits passed as part of the jobs bill last Monday, this is a good place to go.”