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The Small Business Resource and Communication Guide

Every Company Begins As A Start Up

Back in 2000, a group of people decided to start a new business built around VoIP. They had realized how important high quality communications was to them and decided that they should start a business to give other companies better communications through hosted VoIP. That’s how M5 Networks, now part of ShoreTel, was born. New start ups and small businesses have to be able to focus scarce resources, learn and adapt quickly.

As you think about how you can change the world with you new great idea, take a look at the resources below to help get you there.

Start Up Business Ideas

Starting & Growing your Small Business – This is a great resource for anyone ready to start a small business. This guide answers many of the basic questions new entrepreneurs have as they begin planning a new business.
Business Ideas – This website for the Entrepreneur magazine holds a wealth of information for anyone considering starting a small business. Topics on this page include start up ideas, as well as ten fast growing industries that anyone planning a small business should consider.
Eight Best Industries for Starting a Business – Presented by INC. Magazine, this slideshow presents eight growing industries that hold good potential for small business owners.
Best Business Start up Ideas for 2013 – This article presents online business start up ideas. Many online business industries are low entry with the potential for strong growth well into the future.
Turn Your Ideas into an Income Stream – Specific goals are needed for successful business start ups and this article gives three great tips for turning your ideas into a steady income.
Choosing A Start up Business – According to the author of this article, a successful business depends on 99% passion and 99% hard work so be sure to choose a business you love!
Business Start up & Fact Sheet – This is a helpful resource to use as a checklist when planning your new business.

Business Plans

Your Business Plan has Potential Super Powers – A business plan that is carefully thought out and written down with goals and timelines can greatly increase your chance for a successful small business. While it may not be your idea of a super power, the objectives a business plan can help you achieve are outlined in this article.
Free Business Plan Templates & Resources – In addition to free sample business plans, you have access on this site to videos explaining how to use the samples to form your own small business plan.
Build Your Business Plan – The Small Business Administration (SBA) offer valuable resources and tips on their website.
Writing A Business Plan – While this example is a business plan for a small winery, you can use the sections as a guide when setting up a proposed plan for almost any small business.
Seven Key Sections of a Business Plan – While you may think there is no need for a business plan before you try to secure financing, the truth is that a well thought out plan will help you examine all areas of your new business and increase your chances of making your venture profitable. This article highlights the seven keys every good plan should answer.
Start up Business Plan Template – Here is an extensive business plan template you can download as a PDF. Each section provides you with questions to consider before moving onto the next section.
Tactical Business Plans – Tactical business plans help you map out short term goals with a plan to move your business forward. Tactical planning should be detailed, flexible, and measurable.

Communication and Outreach

Communication, Outreach and Marketing Strategies – While this extensive resource is written for private schools, most is also applicable to any small business organization. Designing and implementing a communication plan with your target audience in mind, clarifying the message you want to present to the public, and maintaining a consistent brand across all lines of communication are just a few of the key topics covered here.
Cause Marketing – Cause marketing teams a small business with a non-profit endeavor to benefit both parties and raise public awareness of a cause.
Sponsorship: An Overlooked Tool for Small Business – Well designed and targeted sponsorship by small businesses can reach your market audience while supporting worthy causes or local community outreaches.
What Every Small Business Needs to Know about Being a Sponsor – Before you or your business simply writes a check in return for signage or an ad at a local event, there are things you need to know to make your sponsorship an effect part of your marketing plans.
Managing Your Small Business Outreach Program – An effective outreach plan can help you engage customers, raise awareness of your services, and foster community trust. This document can help you design a program that fits your business goals and purpose.
Community Outreach Tips and Event Ideas – This PDF document contains helpful tips for community outreach that businesses of any size should explore!
How to Start A Community Outreach Program – While we often associate the word ‘outreach’ with a church or faith based program, small businesses can help develop community outreach programs to meet needs and develop a relationship with their target audience at a grass root level.

Marketing Plans

Develop A Marketing Plan – This outline from Southern Illinois University provides a good outline to consider as you begin developing your small business-marketing plan.
A Five-Step Approach to Marketing Strategy – The American Marketing Association outlines a realistic five-step approach to developing a marketing plan.
A Marketing Plan is Necessary for Small Businesses – Published by Michigan State University, this article shares the importance of an ongoing marketing plan for small businesses.
Marketing Strategy – The Harvard Business School presents a wealth of marketing strategy articles here on this site.
Marketing Strategy Concept & Functions – This PDF document gives in depth information concerning the importance of marketing strategy for all businesses.
Business Plan Resources – This page is part of the resources available through the University of Utah and provides links to resources that can help you research and write business and marketing plans.
Writing A Marketing Plan – This resource will help you understand the difference between a business plan and a marketing plan. All the important elements of a marketing plan are discussed in detail.


Sources for Funding a Small Business – This page lists funding sources for small businesses in Wyoming but also contains links to federal funding sources that businesses throughout the nation may access.
The Information Revolution in Small Business Lending – Historically, small businesses had to depend on local funding options. With online access to multiple lenders, this is rapidly changing.
Financing of a Small Business – This paper discusses the importance of relationship between small businesses and financial resources for working capital.
The Importance of Financial Planning for Small Businesses – To create a sound financial plan, all business owners should consider these eight important areas and concerns.
Starved For Financing – This 2009 article raises questions still relevant to today’s small business owners.
Financing Your Business – Published by the University of Nebraska, this guide helps identify various sources of funding and their potential use in your business.
Bank Size, Lending Technologies, and Small Business Finance – This report examines the advantages of bank size and new technology when searching for small business financing.

Other Resources

Ten Important Questions to Ask before Starting a Business – Starting a business is certainly not an overnight project. Here are ten questions anyone researching business ownership should ask before getting started.
Native American Business Resources – This is a list of resources designed to assist Native American entrepreneurs within tribal organizations as well as individuals located anywhere throughout the US.
State and Federal Resources for Small Businesses – Published by NSU, this is a helpful resource list for small businesses.
Helpful Links to Small Business Website Resources – This page contains helpful links to online resources for small businesses.
Selecting Employees for Small Businesses – Selecting the right employees is an important factor in your business success. This report offers tips to finding the right employees the first time.
Small Business: Causes of Bankruptcy – While it may seem discouraging to hear that less than half the small business that make it through the first year will remain in business by the end of the fifth year, this report also contains encouragement for the new business owner. Small businesses in the US provide over 44% of total salaries!
Small Business: Myths & Realities – Sorry, it is not true that small business owners get rich quick. However, the good news is that you do not have to be a naturally gifted entrepreneur to run a successful business. For more myths and realities surrounding small business success, read this document!