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Growing a business is difficult. It takes a lot of skill, hard work, and a little bit of luck. When you discover new challenges or a need capital to grow your business, it never hurts to look outside your organization for help. We have compiled this list of the top 6 resources all small business owners should be aware of to get over the tough spots.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps Americans start, build, and grow businesses. The SBA was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist, and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise, and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.

The SBA has established financing options to help business at different stages grow and innovate. These options include:

The 7(a) Loan, the SBA’s Largest Financing Program

If you’re unable to get conventional financing and you meet the eligibility requirements, you can use a 7(a) loan to buy real estate, equipment, or inventory for your small business. It may also be used for working capital, to refinance business debt or purchase a small business.

CAPlines

Meet your revolving capital needs with a line of credit. CAPLines can be used for contract financing, seasonal lines of credit, builder’s line of credit, or for general working capital lines.

SBA Express Loan

Featuring a simplified process, these loans are delivered by experienced lenders who are authorized to make credit decisions on behalf of the SBA. These can be term loans or revolving lines of credit.

Community Advantage Program

Financing for women, veterans, low-income borrowers, and minority entrepreneurs who are just starting or have been in business for a few years. Participants in this program receive free business counseling as they work with a community-based financial institution.

Microloan Program

Eligible businesses can get started or grow with working capital or funds for supplies, equipment, furniture, and fixtures. Borrow from $500 to $50,000 and access free business counseling from micro lenders.

504 Certified Development Company Loan Program

If you do not qualify for traditional financing, but would like to purchase/renovate real estate or buy heavy equipment for your business, ask about the 504 loan program. It provides competitive fixed-rate mortgage financing through a lender and a Certified Development Company.

SBA local small business development centers

Small Business’ Development Centers (SBDC) conduct research, counsel and train business people in managing, financing, and operating small businesses, provide comprehensive information services, and access to experts in a variety of fields. Each SBDC encourages local efforts to meet small business needs in its area. SBDCs develop and maintain partnerships among community organizations and agencies at the local, state and federal levels, to create broad networks of public and private resources at the community level. You can find your local SBDC at sba.gov.

Local Business resources

Many states and cities have established a variety of programs designed to stimulate business growth. They often provide special financing and tax credits for small business. You can find your local resources at usa.gov/state-business.

Your state and city chamber of commerce are great education and networking resources. A chamber of commerce typically requires you to be a paying member to access their resources and attend their events. Membership dues vary.

SCORE mentoring and educational resources

SCORE is nonprofit organization that partners with the U.S. Small business administration (SBA) to provide free mentoring and educational opportunities for small business owners. You can find a SCORE center near on the SBA website. You can also take advantage of their digital resources on their website score.org.

Local and national financial institutions

If you’re in need of financing one of the easiest places to get loans and credit will be at a bank such as Bank of America or a credit union. Business owners have access a variety of financial products. Some of the most common are:

Medium term loans

Debt is paid over a long period of time at a low interest rate. These loans generally have strict requirements and require the business owner and the business to have a good financial history.

Short term loans

These loans have a high interest rate and are paid over a shorter period of time. Generally these loans have more lax requirements.

Business lines of credit

These work similarly to credit cards were the borrower has a pool of funds that they have access to. The borrower only needs to pay off the money they have pulled from the reserve with any interest that has accrued. Business lines of credit are generally only available to businesses with a good financial history.

Business credit cards

Business credit cards work just like a personal credit card. Borrowers can use their personal credit history to obtain one.

Co-working spaces

Co-working spaces are great resources for small business owners who need working or meeting space. They’re a great option for business owners who don’t need or can’t afford a traditional office space. Co-working spaces routinely offer conference rooms, open and private working spaces, and fast internet. They hold networking and educational events to promote and build community. You can find a co-working space near you at coworker.com.

Running and growing your business will never be simple, but there are plenty of resources out there to make it a little easier. XcelHR is always here to help you manage and run your payroll, benefits and Human resources needs, so you can focus on bringing your vison for your business in to reality. Contact us today.