List of Business Resources
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about business resources? Is it money, labor or equipment? While these are important tools for any business, there are many other things you need to remain competitive and relevant. The resources of a business organization can be tangible or intangible and may include software programs, customer databases, copyrights and more.
Whether you want to start a business, secure funding or increase productivity in the workplace, there is a wealth of resources available. These can be classified into several categories, including physical, financial, intellectual and human resources.
For example, your inventory, equipment and office buildings are all tangible assets, or physical resources, without which you would not be able to work. You also need skilled employees (human), industry know-how (intellectual) and access to capital (financial).
No two businesses have the same needs. However, any company big or small relies on certain resources to carry out its activities.
A small marketing agency, for example, can be operated from home and does not require machines and equipment, storage space, raw materials or physical office space. However, it does need a quality computer system, visual and audio equipment, software, analytics tools and a virtual office. It may also need access to other companies' resources, such as customer data and market reports.
The resources of a business organization may also include distribution networks, warehouses, intellectual talent, cash, lines of credit, patents, trademarks, buildings and land. For example, in the case of a computer manufacturer, its resources would be:
- Physical resources: plastic, hardware parts, glass, electronic components, factories, storage facilities, equipment, buildings and inventory.
- Financial resources: credit, cash, loans, bonds and bank deposits.
- Human resources: employees.
- Intellectual resources: patents, proprietary knowledge and customer data.
As an entrepreneur, you may need to get your business up and running or expand your operations. Hiring a lawyer or a financial adviser to guide you is not always an option, especially if you are on a budget. Luckily, there are plenty of free resources you can use to keep yourself informed and educated.
The Small Business Administration, for example, offers helpful tips and step-by-step guides for entrepreneurs. All you need to do is to access SBA.gov and search for information on starting a business, getting a loan, applying for licenses and expanding your operations. You can visit the nearest SBA district office or regional office for one-on-one training and counseling. The SBA also connects startups with lenders, which can be helpful if you need capital to launch or grow your business.
Another helpful resource for small business owners is SCORE Willamette. The organization provides free mentorship, affordable workshops and access to educational materials, tools and documents for starting and running a business. You may also access the free resources provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the local chamber of commerce and other government agencies.
Small businesses can also take advantage of free online resources. For example, if you need help with your business plan, you may use the free templates provided by Bplans and SCORE. The SBA's business plan tool is designed for startups and includes everything you need to map out and organize your business.
E-books, podcasts and community forums are all excellent sources of information. The Bank of America Business Forum, for instance, connects entrepreneurs and small business owners. Members can ask questions, exchange ideas and discuss topics related to business financing. Another option is to join LinkedIn groups, which provide a wealth of information on how to grow your business, increase customer engagement and gain a competitive advantage.
There are also free online resources for website design, analytics, search engine optimization, accounting and social media marketing. LegalZoom, for example, offers free legal forms that you can customize according to your needs. BizStats provides free business statistics that can help you gain a better understanding of your target market. Skype and Asana allow you to work remotely, share files with your team members and collaborate on the go.
No matter what your business goals are, there are resources available to you to help you achieve progress. Think creatively and use all that is at your disposal.