According to a 2005 SBA report, small businesses with fewer than 25 employees spend 45 percent more money per employee than larger firms to comply with federal regulations. It’s a staggering statistic, but something that strikes a likely chord with most small business owners.
From tax laws to labor laws, business licensing to workplace safety, there are numerous burdens on small business owners. Of course, there are also abundant opportunities that the government affords this sector – from loans and grants to free business training and advice.
So how do you navigate this maze of government laws, regulations and programs?
Gateway to Government
The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides a range of resources, free training, and programs that aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns. If you haven’t checked out their tools, services, and local resources visit www.sba.gov to find out more.
Taking this mission of helping the small business sector one step further, in 2004, an e-government initiative was launched to help small businesses get all the regulation and compliance information they need – in one place. The result was Business.gov.
The site is designed with a host of useful small business guides and tools to help save small businesses time and money by providing a single point of access to Federal, state and local compliance resources from a single Web site.
Many of the features of the site are quite unexpected. Take a read of Anita Campbell’s 10 Ways Business.gov Can Help You Run Your Business from her Small Business Trends blog for some useful insight into how you can get the most from the site.
How do I?
One of the most valuable features of Business.gov is that prospective and existing small business owners no longer need to spend hours scouring Google and hundreds of .gov sites to find government compliance information, forms, and other small business resources.
Business.gov has even compiled a list of some of the most commonly asked questions from small business owners. If you can’t find your answer, you can contact Business.gov directly and they will point you to the right resources.
The FAQs below, copied from the site, are just a glimpse of the type of information that small business owners commonly search for, and find, on Business.gov:
- How do I get a small business grant or loan?
- How do I find grants for women owned businesses?
- How do I write a business plan?
- How do I start a home based business?
- How do I register a business name?
- How do I search or register a corporation?
- How do I obtain a business license?
- How do I get info on employment laws?
- How do I bid on government contracts?
- How do I find info for self-employed or independent contractors?
- How do I get free workplace and labor law posters?
- How do I find statistics and market research data?
- How do I learn about exporting products?
- How do I get info on energy saving rebates and credits?
Business.gov recently opened up a new online community to provide small business owners with a forum in which to discuss and share information about starting and operating a successful (and compliant) business.
According to the Business.gov’s Web site, the community gives entrepreneurs easy access to business experts and a forum for sharing experiences and expertise with others. You can access and join the community here. You can also follow Business.gov on Twitter.