|Small Business Administration|
|Growth - Growing Your Home Business|
Founded more than 40 years ago, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has offices in 100 cities across the U.S. and a charter to help small businesses start and grow. The SBA offers counseling and administers a small business loan guarantee program. To find your area’s SBA office, check the white pages of metropolitan telephone books in your region under “United States Government, Small Business Administration.” To contact the SBA, you can write to 1441 L Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20416, or call the Small Business Answer Desk at 800-827-5722. You can reach the SBA on the Internet at http://www.sbaonline.sba.gov/.
The SBA also sponsors the 13,000 Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) volunteers, Active Corps of Executives (ACE) volunteers, Business Development Centers and Technology Access Centers.
The SBA offers numerous publications, services and videos for starting and managing a small business. Publications are available on products, ideas, inventions, financial management, management and planning, marketing, crime prevention, personnel management and other topics. The booklets can be purchased for $1 or $2 each at SBA offices or from SBA Publications, P.O. Box 30, Denver, CO 80201. Ask first for SBA Form 115A, The Small Business Directory, which lists available publications and includes an order form.
Another popular service is SBA On-Line, a computer bulletin board operated by the SBA. It receives more than 1,000 calls a day and has handled one million calls since it opened in 1992. If you’re familiar with computers and modems, you can access this resource by having your system call 900-463-4636. There is a small fee for use, currently about $6 an hour. The bulletin board includes extensive resources for small businesses as well as access to other government agencies. If you want to access a limited version of this popular bulletin board, dial 800-697-4636. It doesn’t have as many resources, but it’s free.
If you’re already traveling the Internet, SBA On-Line can also be accessed on the World Wide Web at http://www.sbaonline.sba.gov. For technical help or more information, call 202-205-6400.
A new SBA resource is the U.S. Business Adviser, an online clearinghouse located on the Internet at http://www.business.gov. You may also be able to reach this small business resource through your online service.
If you’re interested in applying for an SBA guaranteed or direct loan, call your regional office of the Small Business Administration. Even better, ask for the name of an SBA-certified lender in your area. The SBA loan program, notorious for its paperwork requirements, can be expedited by a lender who knows how to work within the system. You’ll get your loan faster. In fact, those bankers who have preferred-lender status can handle your SBA loan without the SBA even being involved.