Small Business Resource Guide

Your blueprint to success: Drafting a business plan   Guidance from SCORE Volunteers
Why this is the most important first step to starting a new business and what should be included in it.  Thinking about what is needed for your enterprise to succeed, even before you “open the doors,” greatly increases the odds that you'll survive, and thrive.  [READ MORE]


From business planning to growth planning
Creation of a business plan is not a one-time exercise for success in small business ownership and operations.  The company leadership must continually evaluate what might have changed in the marketplace and internally since setting out to implement that first business plan.  And planning for growth is a logical next step, as most want their enterprise to become larger. [READ MORE] 


Which legal structure works best for your business?  U.S. Small Business Administration
Choosing the correct type of business structure when forming a new company can prepare it for the smoothest future growth and asset management. [READ MORE]


Borrowing to grow: Loans available to small business  By Patrick Holm, VP, Business Banking Officer, Anchor Bank
At certain stages, growing a business requires additional capital. In order to increase revenue, a company may need to invest in property, equipment, supplies, inventory, staffing or something else, but may not have the financial resources to do so. At these times, taking out a loan is often the key to unlocking future growth. Businesses facing these situations have a number of loan options to choose from. [READ MORE]


The SBA can help: Guaranteed loans in a nutshell  U.S. Small Business Administration
If you’re planning to start a business or expand an existing business, you might need financing help. SBA participates in a number of loan programs designed for business owners who may have trouble qualifying for a traditional bank loan. [READ MORE]


SBA loans from a banker’s perspective   By Paul Long, VP Business Banking Officer, Timberland Bank

As a lender, it’s absolutely humbling to hear stories about how people have sacrificed in order to achieve their dream of entrepreneurship. And as most business owners know, the biggest issue small businesses face is getting access to capital. [READ MORE]


Consultant, advisor, mentor or licensed professional? Which is right?  By John Rodenburg, Certified Business Advisor, Washington Small Business Development Center

Selecting an advisor can be daunting for any entrepreneur. John Rodenburg, Certified Business Advisor of Washington Small Business Development Center breaks down the topics of consultants, advisors, mentors and licensed professionals and which ones work for your business. [READ MORE]


Employee benefits: know what you want, get what you want  By Thomas Showalter, Human Resources Director, ConnectHR, & Jennifer Bundy-Cobb, Health & Welfare Services Director, Wilson Albers & Company
You’ve got your company set up, your business plan has started to pay off, and you’ve started making some profit. Great! But now, you need to take care of employees, and that means benefits. They’re crucial for you and your workers, and the regulations about them can, approached with no context, be daunting and overwhelming. Where do you even begin? [READ MORE]


You can’t manage what you can’t control   By Chris Lee, President, Sandler Training Olympia
Most managers plan. They set a goal for the year, work out how much revenue they need to achieve it, and then set sales quotas accordingly. Each month they ask their sales people whether they will hit their quota and which sales are going to close. As the month proceeds, they ask whether everything is on track to close and then put on the pressure towards the end of the month to make sure the salespeople are doing everything possible to close the prospects in the pipeline. [READ MORE]


'I hate selling (but I want business)' By Chris Lee, President, Sandler Training Olympia
There are two kinds of people who sell: those who live to sell and those who sell to live. [READ MORE]


Building your brand: Message effectively   By Shaun Carson, VP Marketing Manager, Heritage Bank
What is your brand? It’s the identity of your business. It is your values, your unique characteristics and what you do. Here are some things that can help you market your brand to your customers and others. [READ MORE]