With a new year on the horizon, it's a perfect time to dream about the future and set new goals and resolutions. If your plans include starting a new business, the best place to begin is with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The SBA has offices across our region, and lenders, counselors and resource partners who work in right here in your community. With their help, we have been knocking down obstacles for entrepreneurs and small business owners for almost 60 years.
In fact, for the fiscal year that just ended, we helped provide 632 loans to small businesses in Washington. Nationwide, SBA had our biggest year ever.
How can SBA help you ring in the new year?
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Have you jotted down a few ideas on paper and need someone who can help you formulate a business plan? The SBA or one of our resource partners is a great place to start. You can find local help by going to www.sba.gov/ direct and typing in your ZIP code.
Or, check out www.score.org, a volunteer organization, with more than 350 chapters and more than 10,000 mentors, many of whom have "been there and done that" when it comes to starting a business.
The best part is that SCORE mentors can often help you for free.
Are you already a small-business owner?
Many small business owners have come to SBA over the past year, looking for ways to reinvent their business and grow in the face of tough economic times. Whether it's getting an SBA loan, winning your first federal contract, or learning the ins-and-outs of exporting, the SBA and our resource partners can help get you the information you need.
Why is all of this so important?
Economists agree that small businesses are a big part of the solution to getting our economy moving again and creating jobs that we lost in the recession.
So, if you are thinking about starting or growing a business in 2012, let SBA help you.
There's no time like the present to have that first conversation with the SBA or one of our resource partners in the Tri-Cities. Then, celebrate the new year!
-- Calvin W. Goings is the Region 10 administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration. He oversees small-business programs and initiatives in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.