Even in the best of times, building and running a small business is challenging. But 2020 has been anything but the best of times for most small business people. COVID-19, government lockdowns and street protests are just a few of the challenges small business people have had to overcome.

Luckily for entrepreneurs, however, advice, support and funding can be found. Indeed, almost any small business person can get personalized guidance and access networks of support – often for free. They just need to be willing to put in the time and effort to find, look and listen.

In Search of a Mentor

A good place to start is SCORE, a network of 10,000 volunteer mentors who help small businesses succeed. On SCORE’s site, you can apply for a free mentor, often a retired CEO, banker or entrepreneur who wants to give back. The U.S. Small Business Administration supports SCORE. Listen to a recent chat on my podcast with SCORE’s CEO Bridget Weston.

Next stop might be America’s Small Business Development Centers, also an arm of the SBA. The ASBDC operates 1,000 centers nationwide where small businesses get free consulting and training. SBDC helps with business planning, accessing capital, marketing and using technology to grow. Thryv recently partnered with ASBDC to complete a study on how small businesses are doing during COVID.

In the world of small business consulting, check out Gene Marks and Barry Moltz. Gene and Barry are experts who help small businesses grow. Both write and speak extensively and offer tailored consulting services (for a fee). Check out our recent webinars with both Gene and Barry and other small business experts.

In Search of Funding

For borrowing money, check out MultiFunding. This national business leverage advisor and brokering firm helps small- and medium-sized businesses across America find debt financing for their companies. MultiFunding has placed over 700 loans in 47 states. MultiFunding’s Ami Kassar discusses how to navigate COVID-19 loan forgiveness here.

Another stop on the money trail is Lendio, which is a popular middleman between the small business and over 300 lenders. Lendio will gather your information and help you decide if you qualify and which lender and program is right for you and your business.

It should be said, all of the advisors above have helped many small businesses navigate the government’s COVID-19 loan programs including the PPP and EIDL programs. They can provide insights into issues such as repayment of government loans and the changing requirements of each program.

In Search of a Fresh Approach

If you are considering franchising, check out FranNet, which is a match-maker between you and your potential franchisor. FranNet is one-stop shop for all franchise information and services at no cost and no obligation to the potential franchisee. I recently chatted with FranNet CEO Jania Bailey – check out our discussion here.

Finally, to keep up with the best sources of small business information, check out my podcast, Winning on Main Street, where I interview today’s small business experts. Simply go to Apple Podcasts, Simplecast, Stitcher or Google Play on your smartphone and subscribe free.

Thanks and remember – if you make it through these tough times you will be even better positioned to succeed on the other side!

About Gordon Henry
Gordon Henry hosts the popular small business podcast “Winning on Main Street,” where he interviews leaders in the small business community about the tools, technologies and tactics small businesses can use to get ahead. Gordon is Chief Strategy Officer at Thryv, the leading small business software.