Business Links You May Find Helpful
*** The following links are offered as sources of guidance as you begin your journey to build a new business. All have been found to be helpful, reliable and legitimate sources of information or services. We cannot promise however, that the use of any of these sources will in any way guarantee your success in business, as much of that will depend on your own skills, energy, personal input, and research. It is the responsibility of each individual to investigate the validity and usefulness of these resource links provided.
Small Business Administration and SBDC Links
Small Business Administration - Small Business Administration. Information about SBA guaranteed Lending, Classes Online and Great business Orientation
SBA Womens Online Business Center
SBA National Information Clearinghouse -- Major source of information for businesses. Here you can learn about: Marketing, Demographics, Financing, Franchising, E-Commerce, Taxes and Accounting, Women and Minorities, Industry Research, Home Business and much more.
SBA Small Business Recession Help
Small Business Watchdog -- SBA Office of Advocacy's blog site, keeping you up-to-date on their activities and efforts on behalf of small business. You can also ask questions about small business and its contribution to the economy, discuss the impact of regulations on your own business or industry, and connect with the small business community in your state or your region in particular.
HUBZones -- The HUBZone Empowerment Contracting program provides federal contracting opportunities for qualified small businesses located in distressed areas. Fostering the growth of these federal contractors as viable businesses, for the long term, helps to empower communities, create jobs, and attract private investment. The HUBZone Empowerment Contracting program was enacted into law as part of the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997. The program falls under the auspices of the US Small Business Administration.
SBA Business Disaster Loans -- SBA has partnered with Agility Recovery Solutions to offer business continuity strategies for small business owners via their “PrepareMyBusiness” web site. Visit the web site to access previous webinars, and to learn more about disaster preparedness. Since 1953, the SBA has provided more than $48 billion in disaster recovery assistance to 1.9 million homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes in the form of long-term, low-interest loans.
South Carolina Resources
City of Rock Hill’s “Open for Business” Program to assist entrepreneur’s wishing to start a business in Rock Hill, SC. “Government requirements, rules and regulations may sometimes overwhelm and discourage business people” --“our team members look forward to working personally with you on your project.”
Official Website for the State of South Carolina
SC Business One-Stop -- South Carolina Business One Stop or SCBOS is the official state web portal for anyone with a business or starting a business in South Carolina who needs to file permits, licenses, registrations, or taxes with the state. From the convenience of your computer at anytime, 24 hours a day – 7 days a week, you can take care of your important state filings, and pay for multiple filings and/or taxes with one credit, debit, or EFW payment.
Small Business Development Centers of South Carolina
SC Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) -- Ninety-three Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) - with over 300 local offices - form a nationwide network of dedicated procurement professionals working to help local businesses compete successfully in the government marketplace. PTACs are the bridge between buyer and supplier, bringing to bear their knowledge of both government contracting and the capabilities of contractors to maximize fast, reliable service to our government with better quality and at lower costs. To reach the SC Small Business Development Centers’ PTAC offices, call:
Scott Bellows - Program Manager, Columbia office
Phone: (803) 777-7877
John Goodwin - Orangeburg office
Phone: (803) 536-8445
Business Filings - Who and what must be filed with the SC Secretary of State
Carolinas Minority Supplier Development Council's, Inc. - Goal is to expand business opportunities for Minority Business Entrepreneurs (MBEs) and create mutually beneficial links between corporate members and MBEs.
South Carolina Department of Revenue -- File to collect, report and pay sales tax
SC Office of Small and Minority Business Assistance -- This directory is designed to help you identify hundreds of small minority businesses that can help you provide quality services at competitive prices, while expanding your influence in new markets.
South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership -- SCMEP is a private, non-profit group that provides South Carolina businesses with a range of innovative strategies and solutions to drive growth, eliminate waste, and develop resources.
North Carolina Resources
For North Carolinians -- Capital Opportunities for Small Business
Business/Entrepreneur Education and Training
My Own Business -A complete free online course on starting and operating your business. Excellent place to start.
Trademarks -- If you have developed an original product, created a logo to ‘brand” your business, or a slogan (tag line) that you wish to define your business, you need to check with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to 1) see if these things have already been trademarked by someone else; and 2) if not, register a trademark for whatever items/products/logos/slogans you wish to protect from use by others. Researching a trademark can be complicated, and you may wish to hire someone to do that for you. However, if you are confident in your ability to understand the process, have the time, and are willing to read through the explanations of what to do, and what search results on their database may mean, you can do the research yourself using the USPTO trademark database.
Have Entrepreneurial Kids? Look at this web site for kid-friendly information about money and business -- BizKids.
Operation Endure and Grow -- A program specifically for National Guard and Reserve soldiers and their families. An 8-week intensive training program to offer cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to National Guard and Reserve soldiers and their immediate family members. Funded in part by the SBA. $75 fee for this online course. Click on the link for more details.
V-Wise -- Program for Women Veterans -- 3-Phase program: 35-day online, self-study course focused on the basic skills of entrepreneurship and the language of business; a 3-day conference to expose participants to accomplished entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship educators from across the US; and ongoing support and mentorship online through a network of mentor partners. For more information, click on the V-Wise link.
US Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization -- serves as the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) advocate, to assist and support the interests of small businesses. A related mission is to provide outreach and liaison support to businesses (large and small) and other members of the private sector concerning acquisition related issues. This link provides a wealth of information to assist veterans in starting a business or gaining government contracts for existing businesses.
Assistance for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses -- Multiple Award Schedules, Government-wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs), and PBS Construction and Service Contracts are all avenues that service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses can use to work with GSA and the rest of the federal government. GSA several solutions for service-disabled veteran-owned small business owners looking for federal government business opportunities.
Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) -- Offers cutting edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship & small business management to post-9/11 veterans with disabilities resulting from their service to our country. The EBV is designed to open the door to business ownership for our veterans by 1) developing your skills in the many steps and activities associated with launching and growing a small business, and by 2) helping you leverage programs and services for veterans and people with disabilities in a way that furthers your entrepreneurial dreams. Click this link to watch a video and find a link to download an application to attend.
Women in Business Resources
SBA Womens Online Business Center
York County Professional Business Women’s Association -- Local networking organization for woman entrepreneurs and woman-managed businesses.
Women's Business Enterprise National Council -- Become certified as a Woman-Owned business. The WBENC certification for women-owned businesses is one of the most widely recognized and respected certifications in the nation. Accepted by thousands of corporations within the country and a number of federal and government agencies, your WBENC certification will be an important marketing tool for expanding your company's visibility among decision makers in corporate supply chain diversity and procurement.
Blue Suit Mom -- Resource links for entrepreneurial working women
Womens Business Centers -- State links for women's business centers
Information on Franchises and Franchising Issues
My Franchise Law -- Listing of Franchise attorneys, articles on franchise issues and legal issues.
100 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying A Franchise (article)
Answers to the 20 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Franchising (courtesy of Entrepreneur Source)
SCORE (Senior Corps of Retired Executives) -- A nonprofit organization of volunteer retired executives assisting in educating and helping in the formation, growth and success of small businesses. Wherever you reside in SC, there are SCORE offices relatively close to you in SC, or in nearby NC:
~ Columbia, SC Office ~ Greenville, SC office ~ Myrtle Beach, SC office ~ Charleston, SC office
~ Charlotte, NC Office ~ Asheboro, NC office ~ Southern Pines, NC office ~ Hendersonville, NC office ~ Wilmington, NC office
Factoring -- What Is It? -- Factoring can be a good option for select businesses -- not all. This link will explain the process for you, but know that this may not be a practical solution for your particular business. If after you read this information, you believe this is something you’d like to explore, contact a CPA for futher guidance and explanation.
Prepare My Business -- In partnership with the SBA, Prepare My Business gives you the tools to create a disaster plan for your business, no matter how big or small that business may be. Whether the disaster is a natural disaster, man-made, technical or electrical, you need to be prepared to protect your assets, yourself and your employees from disaster that could close your business either temporarily or permanently.
All Business -- Answers for your small business questions
Legal Issues - Legal information, lawyer profiles and a community site
Martindale Legal Directory:
IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service
Small Business Taxes and Management
From Corporate Turn Around -- Information for small businesses facing financial crisis
American Association of Franchisees and Dealers
Entrepreneur Magazine - Small business help available from Entrepreneur Magazine
Ideacafe - Idea cafe financing section, how to clean up your credit report, venture capitalists, etc.
Inc. Com - The Daily Resource for entrepreneurs
Bloomberg - Links to capital, franchising, marketing options, etc.
Business plans and samples - Business plans and samples
For Your Business Web Site: Click here for links regarding naming, building, monetizing, and promoting your web site.
Alternative Financing & Funding Information
There are alternatives to financing beyond your local banks. Although we always suggest you try to get your small business loan from the bank with which you generally do business, sometimes for one reason or another that is not possible. We offer the following information to better your understanding of how small business lending works.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) as you have read, does make funds available for small business loans. They guarantee the loans so banks will not lose it if your business fails; but the money is still all administered by banks and loans are given out according to each individual bank’s criteria, and specifically by banks that have an SBA Loan Officer. Ask if your bank has an SBA Loan Officer on staff. If they don’t, you aren’t likely to get an SBA funded loan from them as they don’t have the information they need to process such a loan. And don’t shop around too much applying for loans. Every time you apply for a loan, points are taken off your credit score. Do your homework before actually making an application for a loan. Know your own credit score before you go and ask at the bank, what credit score THEIR bank requires to give you an SBA loan. If they require a score higher than yours, don’t apply -- you won’t get the loan, and you’ll end up hurting your credit score needlessly. They also require a significant investment of your own funds, as a rule. 100% loans are not very likely to be approved in the current economy.
(Note -- you must have completed a viable Business Plan before applying for any kind of business loan or investment funds -- download our Business Plan template to get started on yours, then call the Winthrop Regional SBDC for information on scheduling a free consultation with an SBDC counselor to help you fine-tune your plan in preparation for applying for funding.)
SC Consumer Affairs -- Information on licensed credit counseling agencies throughout the U.S.
BusinessFinance.com -- Information source for lenders of small business funds. NOTE: Loans are always dependent on your credit score.
Business Loan Funds -- This is a listing of other resources you may find helpful. Note that while we agree that sources in the main listing are appropriate, we make no recommendations for these listings, most especially those paid advertisers listed to the left of this site, as we have no knowledge of them or their methods of operation.
Celtic Express Loans -- Specializes in working with small businesses for SBA loan financing. NOTE: Before applying for any kind of business loan, call the SBDC nearest you to schedule an appointment for them to look over your business plan and financial projections, etc. Any lender today will be expecting this information to be thorough and well-thought-out.
Angel Investors -- The non-profit Angel Capital Education Foundation (ACEF) directory of angel groups (private investors) in the U.S. and Canada, as well as other resources that may be helpful to entrepreneurs, investors, policy makers, students, and entrepreneurial support organizations.
Angels in the greater Charlotte, NC area:
Angel Investor Resources in South Carolina:
Angel Deals -- Connecting qualified entrepreneurs and investors
Smart Funding Solutions -- Provides options for commercial lending for business owners who cannot get traditional funding.
Y Combinator -- Y Combinator is a new kind of venture firm specializing in funding early stage startups. We help startups through what is for many the hardest step, from idea to company. Investing mostly in software and web services, and prefer to invest in groups with a lot of technical depth.
Other Venture Capital Companies:
Funding Post -- Introducing entrepreneurs to investors through networking events held throughout the US.
Prepare Yourself for Business -- Learn to Earn Links
Dale Carnegie Training -- Personal development training courses since 1912. Giving people in business the opportunity to sharpen their skills and improve their performance in order to build positive, steady, and profitable results. Various seminars are scheduled in Charleston and Columbia, SC throughout the year. For information on a seminar in SC, call (843) 884-4848; for information on seminars in or near NC, call (336) 292-6102.
CDL School -- Visit Truck-School.com to find out how easy it is to get CDL training and become a professional truck driver.
Banks and Lending Institutions in our SBDC Region:
Marketing Your Business
5 Easy Steps to Create A Marketing Plan -- Offered by Microsoft
Marketing for Small Business -- from About.com’s Small Business Information pages
Trade Associations and International Trade Information
SC Trucking Association -- The mission of the South Carolina Trucking Association, Inc. is to utilize the resources of the motor carrier industry, to enhance the ability of its members to efficiently, safely & profitably serve the transportation needs of the state, region & nation by providing educational opportunities, compiling & distributing essential information & conducting aggressive programs of advocacy.
US Export Assistance Centers -- Personalized assistance by professionals from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Export-Import Bank and other public and private organizations.
Foreign Trade Regulations -- The U.S. Census Bureau’s official source for U.S. export and import statistics and responsible for issuing regulations governing the reporting of all export shipments from the United States. If you're searching for import or export statistics, information on export regulations, commodity classifications, or a host of other trade related topics, this is the place to get the information you need.
Selling Farm Products to Overseas Markets -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agriculture Service has many resources, products, and services that can help your company explore the potential for international sales. Whether a beginning or experienced exporter, USDA-FAS Exporter Assistance benefits small and medium-sized companies that sell food or agricultural products, equipment or technology services.
South Carolina and North Carolina General Information
WSOC-TV - Channel 9, Charlotte, NC
York County Business News -- Be familiar with the York County, SC business climate -- what’s happening and what’s going on that could affect your small business operation. Subscribe by email to stay informed.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
IRS Guide to Starting a Business and Keeping Records
Internal Revenue Service - IRS tax information
EEOC Small Business Information - enforces the federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of an individual's race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability
U.S. Business Advisor - exists to provide business with one-stop access to federal government information, services, and transactions.
U.S. Department of Commerce - International Trade Delegation - an export promotion service designed to match small and medium-sized US companies with agents and distributors in international markets.ur goal is to make the relationship between business and government more productive.
U.S. Department of Transportation - Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Small Business Information - EPA environmental information and contacts for small businesses.
Asbestos and Small Business Ombudsman - serves as a conduit for small businesses to access EPA and facilitates communications between the small business community and the Agency.
U.S. Census Bureau. Local demographics provided.
Chambers of Commerce
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Start-Up Toolkit
York County Regional Chamber of Commerce - Serving York County, SC including the Area Councils of Rock Hill, Tega Cay and Fort Mill.
Greater York Chamber of Commerce - Serving the communities of Hickory Grove, Smyrna, McConnells, Sharon and the Town of York.
Chester Chamber of Commerce - Serving Chester County, SC
Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce - Serving Lancaster County, SC
Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce - Serving Cherokee County, SC
Union County Chamber of Commerce - Serving Union County, SC