When you’re starting a business, it’s crucial to be savvy, otherwise you run out of money and run into issues.
The good news is that the days needing a $10,000 custom website and keeping a shoebox of receipts to keep track of your finances are over.
There are more affordable options for business owners like us and it's never been easier to start a business on a low budget. To help save money where it really counts, here are the top resources for starting a business you need to know about. While this list isn't totally comprehensive, it's the ideal place to start.
You can also find local business resources by choosing your state from the list below:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington D.C.
- West Virginia
Small Business Resources for Entrepreneurs
Business Formation Resources
ZenBusiness is an affordable online incorporation service that makes sure all the proper documents are filed and your business is 100% legally set up. If you are nervous about filing mistakes, this service is excellent.
Incfile is another reliable service especially if you are interested in starting a nonprofit. Not only will Incfile take care of the nonprofit formation process for you, but they also offer a year of free registered agent services even in the basic package.
4. Small Business Administration (SBA)
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal agency dedicated to providing the necessary resources to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. From business guides to funding programs to local assistance, you’ll find plenty of support so you can achieve your professional goals.
As a partner of the SBA, SCORE offers a comprehensive network of business mentors that provide entrepreneurs advice and support. The organization also offers online business resources, webinars, and courses.
6. Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers a plethora of small business services, including consulting, training, planning, and marketing. Simply search by zip code or state to find your local SBDC.
7. Howtostartanllc.com Business Center
Howtostartanllc.com's Business Center offers free entrepreneurial resources, tools, templates, exclusive discounts, and more. It’s completely free to sign up for an account, where you can then access important business resources through a personalized online dashboard.
Business Planning & Brainstorming
8. TRUiC Business Ideas Generator
Struggling to come up with or narrow down a business idea? The free TRUiC Business Ideas Generator is here to help! All you have to do is select some of your interests, refine your search, and you’ll get a list of business ideas best suited for you!
9. TRUiC Business Name Generator
Brainstorming business names? The TRUiC Business Name Generator is completely free and easy to use. Simply search using keywords related to your company and select your industry. The tool will then generate a list of unique, creative business names. You can even instantly secure the domain name!
LivePlan is your secret weapon if you need to develop a solid business plan. It walks you step-by-step through the entire process with video tutorials and example business plans so you can spend less time planning and more time building your business. You can also read our best business plan software review.
11. TRUiC Business Plan Generator
If you want to write your own business plan and don’t want to use a software, the TRUiC Business Plan Generator is the perfect solution for you. It offers a step-by-step guide for creating your business plan by asking simple questions. Save your answers at any time, and once completed, you can download the free PDF.
Best Business Resources for Accounting & Taxes
Hiring an accountant can save your company thousands of dollars in taxes each year. 1800Accountant offers a variety of helpful services such as small business tax support, bookkeeping, payroll, and more.
Xero is an accounting software tool that makes accounting quick and painless. Transactions are automatically fed into your accounting software, eliminating the need for manual entry. Invoices can be created, customized, and sent on the fly.
While small businesses are required to file a tax return just once a year, business owners are permitted to pay estimated taxes quarterly. TurboTax lets you file taxes without assistance from an expert (recommended for the very least complicated returns only). You can also check out our review of the best business tax software.
Building a business website is easy with GoDaddy! The website builder allows you to have a fully functional website within minutes. Features include 24/7 support, analytics, website security, and more. There’s also a free trial offered, so you can determine whether the service is right for you.
16. Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer has an Online Legal Subscription for all your legal needs. Need to ask a lawyer a critical question about your business? Need to customize legal documents so your business is protected? How about having that legal document looked over by a professional? That’s exactly what your subscription includes.
Registered Agent Services
17. ZenBusiness Registered Agent
ZenBusiness offers high-quality and affordable registered agent services for your business. Along with registered agent service, you’ll receive expert customer support and online document access. For some alternatives, visit our review of the best registered agent services.
Best Business Resources for Logo Design
18. TRUiC Logo Maker
Designing a logo is a vital step in building your business’s brand and establishing brand recognition. TRUiC's Free Logo Maker allows you to create your own company logo in minutes! Just follow the simple steps and you’ll be able to download a high-resolution logo design to use immediately. For alternatives, read our review of the best logo makers.
Press Release Services
Sending out press releases for your company is an excellent way to increase brand awareness and generate publicity. SiteTrail is a great press release distribution service because of its affordability and well-written press releases by actual journalists.
Business Model Resources
20. TRUiC Business Model Canvas Creator
How will your company make a profit? TRUiC’s Free Business Model Canvas Creator will help provide the necessary perspective on how your business will reach success. Just like the business plan generator, you can save your answers at any time and download a free PDF of your business model canvas once it’s complete.
Business Insurance Resources
21. Commercial Business Insurance
Commercial Insurance is a comprehensive and easy to use service that will match you with the best insurance provider for all different types of Business Insurance products such as General and Professional Liability Insurance, Workers' Compensation, Property Insurance. They provide coverage for a large variety of businesses and offers convenient phone support from 7AM to 7PM (CST).
Kickstarter is a global crowdfunding platform based in the United States. The company’s stated mission is to help bring creative projects to life. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing. No one will be charged for a pledge towards a project unless it reaches its funding goal.
23. Small Business Credit Cards
Getting a small business credit card will help you separate personal and business finances, build business credit, and earn rewards. Check out this comprehensive guide on Small Business Credit Cards to learn more and find the right credit card for your company.
24. Small Business Grants
Small business grants are a great funding resource for entrepreneurs. This guide to Small Business Grants will further explain exactly what a business grant is, the different types of business grants, and how to qualify and apply for a small business grant.
25. Small Business Loans
Another funding option for entrepreneurs, small business loans can help you grow your business, but it’s important to know exactly how business loans work and if you’re ready to apply for one. This Small Business Loans guide will introduce you to the types of business loans available, business loan tools (calculator, quiz, etc.), and more.
The government is getting incredibly picky about business owners tracking those random expenses for everything from paper for your printer to gas for your car. Rather than using a random shoebox, Expensify lets you to scan or take a snapshot of your receipts using a smartphone.
27. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free way for you to find out where your visitors are coming from, how long they are staying, and so forth. Almost all website builders let you integrate your Google Analytics account for free. Make sure you do it!
28. Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is another awesome free solution for your website to see what technical problems you may have as well as what search terms are bringing visitors to your website. Almost all website builders let you integrate your Google Analytics account for free. Make sure you do it!
Online Marketing & Lead Generation
If you'd like a more sophisticated lead generation tool than GetResponse's built in features, LeadPages is an awesome online marketing tool you can use on any website. This tool you can use it's A/B testing so you can see what's actually working and cut out what isn't.
30. Help a Reporter Out
Help A Reporter Out is an online resource for news people (traditional and new media) to find sources for their stories quickly. By subscribing to their website and receiving the emails for people looking for information in your area of expertise. AKA free publicity for your business.
Best Business Resources for Online Advertising
31. Google Adwords
Google Adwords is a great way to bid and target specific keywords related to your business or product in hopes that people will click through your ad and make a purchase. PPC advertising is something you really want to understand before you invest in - it can get really expensive.
32. Facebook Ads
With Facebook Ads, you're able to target exactly who you want to see your ad. For instance, if you just want 30 year old women in Alaska who have one child and a college degree to see your ad - you can do that. It's a little creepy, but very targeted.
Upwork is a freelancer platform that connects you with the right talent for your needs business'. They have a safe and easy to use interface that allows you to connect with your perfect writer, website designer, SEO analyst, and anything else with freelancers from around the world.
We have used their platform multiple times and have had great results.
FreshDesk is everything you need to deliver incredible customer support online. They make it easy for you to talk to, serve, and thrill your customers so they keep coming back. All through a personalized and clean dashboard. The best part? You can get started for free.
35. Survey Monkey
Survey Monkey is one of the coolest online survey makers online, thanks to their impressive free option. It allows you to ask many types of questions, including text, ranking and multiple choice. This is a great way to get to know and understand your customers.
Online Security & Peace Of Mind
LastPass is the tool you need to keep all of your passwords safe and simple. 'MyDogSkip' isn't going to ward off those hackers anymore. You're going to take your passwords a step further if you want to stay safe online these days. Only remember one master password, and keep the rest locked up and easy-to-find in the LastPass password manager.
37. Google Alerts
Stay on top of your business and personal brand by setting up Google Alerts to be notified anytime someone mentions your name or your business' name. This is a great way to show your appreciation for a kind review or make it right with a negative one.
Unroll.me is a must use tool for your email inbox. Cleaning out the spam in your life is as simple as plugging in your email address and manually unsubscribing from the random email newsletters that have your information. Give it a shot. It's awesome. (and free!)
Productivity & Collaboration Tools
Evernote is a great app to jot down your thoughts for later in the form of 'notes'. A "note" can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten "ink" note. Share your notes with teammates or keep them to yourself.
You should always be learning, but it's hard to keep track of the articles you want to read throughout the day. Pocket is an app that makes it easy for you to save links and articles to one place to read at a more convenient time.
41. Google Drive
Google Drive is like Microsoft Office, but free. (we like free) Plus, instead of having to boot-up your Word or Excel documents through the installed software on your computer, Google Drive is just a click away. Your files in Drive can be reached from any smartphone, tablet, or computer. So wherever you go, your files follow.
42. Google Calendar
Google Calendar is a free web based way to keep all of your important business and life events in one place. You can share your schedule, work offline, and much more. Keep track of your daily to-do list, organize multiple lists, and track important deadlines with Google Tasks. Create and update your tasks from Gmail or Calendar; they sync so your changes automatically show in both places.