A man working from home sits at a table. He holds an electronic table in his hands, but his smiling face is turned toward his laptop.
Trying to keep costs down? There are plenty of free business resources online. — Getty Images/filadendron

Being a small business owner comes with many responsibilities, and learning the best practices for growing one’s business takes time. However, plenty of free resources are available to help fast-track entrepreneurs to success.

Below, discover resources you can take advantage of during Small Business Month (May) and beyond.

Amazon

Amazon’s Small Business Academy provides a wealth of free resources, ideal for both aspiring and established entrepreneurs. These resources include live events, podcasts, and on-demand classes, along with access to a network of like-minded business professionals. Additionally, they offer practical guides for starting and growing a successful business, and specific resources catered to those interested in selling their wares on Amazon’s store.

Amazon’s Founders Table event series, in particular, is an excellent resource for those just starting on their entrepreneurial journey. Small business experts and successful entrepreneurs share insights on industry trends and practical growth strategies during each event.

[Read More: 7 Marketing Trends Every Small Business Needs to Know About in 2024]

America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)

America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) is a nationwide network that supports small business growth. The network has nearly 1,000 local hubs sponsored by top educational institutions, state economic development agencies, and private partners. America’s SBDC provides free consulting and affordable training to new and established businesses.

The nonprofit’s website provides ample resources like infographics, checklists, and templates. America’s SBDC even hosts annual conferences, virtual summits, and other educational events that cater to small businesses at no cost. The network promotes programs like The Inclusivity Initiative, which aims to empower small business communities and support their growth and development. So far, more than 10 states have accepted the challenge, working toward a more inclusive future.

Google

A Google Business Profile, formerly Google My Business, can drive customers to your brick-and-mortar storefront and online platform. It also offers many free tools for entrepreneurs and small teams, including Google Workspace and Google Drive. The Google for Small Business page provides a wealth of information for small business owners, helping you navigate SEO, advertising, and marketing.

The small business lesson collection helps you research your market, develop a business plan, and prepare to request funding. Also, check out the Grow with Google small business showcase on YouTube. It offers more than 250 videos covering topics like project management and data analytics.

HubSpot

HubSpot is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) tool offering free and paid courses. It also provides the HubSpot Academy for ongoing education geared toward your entire team, including leaders, department supervisors, and employees. There are dozens of programs, including free online courses and longer certification sessions, and you can display earned badges on websites and company bios.

Also, check out HubSpot’s Website Grader. Enter your company’s website and email address in HubSpot’s Website Grader and click “get your score.” HubSpot grades your site based on performance, search engine optimization (SEO), mobile, and security. It also provides a list of recommendations for site improvements.

HR.com

Manage human resources effectively with a free membership and resources from HR.com. It has e-learning lessons, webcasts, and virtual events. You can learn about upcoming changes to regulations and help your HR employees achieve Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certifications, among others.

[Read More: 4 Human Resources Tools for Small Businesses]

IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center

The IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center is a comprehensive resource designed to assist small businesses and self-employed individuals with their tax needs. It caters to those filing Form 2106, Form 1040 or 1040-SR, or Schedules C, E, or F, and small businesses with less than $10 million in assets.

Small business owners can access a range of free tools and information, including forms, instructions, and tips, to help ensure businesses comply with tax laws. The resource provides insight into starting, operating, and closing a business, as well as how to handle employment taxes and common expenses and deductions.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional-focused social media platform used by entrepreneurs globally. You can showcase your company and build relationships with business customers and future employees. It’s also a key spot to highlight your expertise as an entrepreneur in your personal profile. Get started with LinkedIn’s Action Plan for Small Businesses. It’s a five-page guide to completing your page, growing your follower count, and posting the right content.

But don’t stop there! LinkedIn has a resource center packed with content for business owners. It offers reports, checklists and guides, and certification programs covering everything from employee development to important metrics for success. We recommend How to Use LinkedIn Learning for existing businesses, as it offers guidance through the expansive library of over 20,000 courses about branding, lead generation, and hiring.

MIT Open Learning Library

Expand into a new industry and explore diverse courses through the MIT Open Learning Library. These self-paced lessons are free to download — no registration required. Most courses include interactive content and exercises, which provide immediate feedback. These sessions are a great free resource for businesses wanting to offer professional development options for employees.

National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE)

Networking groups for entrepreneurs can help you develop local and national connections. NASE represents companies with 10 employees or fewer. It has free resources for small business owners and offers many more tools for members, including unlimited access to consultants for tax, retirement, finance, and operations questions.

NASE also provides member-only scholarships and grants, including the NASE Growth Grant. The grant helps entrepreneurs pay for training programs, business courses, and other small business investments.

National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB)

As the “voice of small business,” the NFIB is an advocacy organization representing small and independent businesses across the United States. The nonprofit strives to protect the rights of small business owners to own, operate, and grow their businesses. The NFIB provides a business legal center, webinars, and referral services. Additionally, small business owners can benefit from the NFIB’s business insights and reporting, exclusive networking events, and educational content like its Small Business Rundown podcast.

The NFIB’s membership program is another resource where entrepreneurs can take advantage of increased access to resources, discounts on purchases made through NFIB partners, and a stronger voice in the program’s advocacy efforts.

National Retail Federation (NRF)

As the largest retail trade association in the world, the NRF advocates for the interests of the retail sector. The NRF provides education on best practices, cutting-edge research, and extensive networking opportunities. Notably, the NRF’s 2024 Annual Retail Sales Forecast, along with its holiday data and research on seasonal trends, provides valuable insights to small business owners, enabling them to plan and execute successful campaigns.

The organization also hosts virtual and in-person events across the country. The NRF Retail’s Big Show, in particular, is a large-scale, annual event that delivers expert insights into the retail industry and provides networking opportunities for participants.

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)

SCORE provides many great resources for small business owners, including webinars, interactive courses, business templates, and local workshops. SCORE partnered with Google and the International Downtown Association (IDA) to develop a free digital readiness series. Each module provides digital tools, webinars, and videos on how to grow your business with Google.

Recently, SCORE added The Startup Roadmap. It’s an excellent guide for individuals wanting to start a company. An entrepreneur can complete the step-by-step tutorial alone or with a mentor. It has 12 modules, which you can complete in any order. Each module offers actionable steps, free resources, and other online tools to complete the steps.

You can find SCORE events and workshops near you by entering your state or zip code and filtering the results according to business stage, topic, and format. SCORE also offers mentorship opportunities to any citizen or permanent resident who owns a business or wants to start one. The sessions can take place in person or virtually via email, phone, or video.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

As the world’s largest business organization, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce advocates for business-friendly policies, supports local chapters, and provides free resources for entrepreneurs. You’ll find many virtual events and informative guides on small business topics and can network within your community by joining a local branch.

Check out the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business page. It displays events, a Small Business Weekly Forecast, and current initiatives. Remember to register for CO—'s Small Business Day event featuring small business experts. It takes place on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, at 12 p.m. ET.

Bookmark these links to stay informed with regularly updated content:

  • Local chapters: Get involved at the local level by finding a chamber of commerce in your area. There are thousands of local chapters in 57 states and territories offering community networking opportunities.
  • Chamber OnDemand: View videos, forums, and interviews with experts, business leaders, and government officials on the Chamber OnDemand platform. Browse by topic or series, such as technology, economy, and government policy.
  • CO—by U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Start your morning or end your day by expanding your small business knowledge on CO— by U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It delivers fact-based articles on best practices for how to start, grow, and run your company. Plus, you can get expert tips from industry leaders and small business owners.

[Read More: Small Business Month Events to Register for Now]

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Learn how to start, grow, or sell your business using the SBA’s free resources. The SBA offers informative content, interactive online tools, and a video library for entrepreneurs. These range from business planning solutions to mentoring services.

You can explore export assistance programs and financial resources. Both help grow businesses and enable entrepreneurs to strengthen their market position. Or learn how to qualify for government contracts, get funding for your company, and explore business certifications.

Check out these SBA tools and content:

  • Small Business Development Centers: Attend in-person events and get individualized assistance from small business centers near you. Enter your zip code to find your local SBDC.
  • SBA’s Ascent: Explore Ascent — a free learning platform for women entrepreneurs — by choosing your journey and topics to master. Content options include fireside chats, self-assessments, discussion guides, and exercises.
  • Learning center courses: The SBA’s learning center video courses cover starting up to selling your business and everything in between. Most topics have several videos, with many around a minute long.
  • Boots to Business: If you’re a transitioning service member (including National Guard and Reserve) or a spouse with access to a military installation, check out the Boots to Business program. Alternatively, Reboot courses, which offer one- and two-day classes on business fundamentals, are available to veterans, National Guard, Reserve, and military spouses.
  • T.H.R.I.V.E. Emerging Leaders Reimagined: If you have at least one employee besides yourself, been in business for three years, and have annual revenues of at least $250,000, consider the six-month T.H.R.I.V.E. Emerging Leaders Reimagined program. It provides MBA-equivalent knowledge, and you’ll create a three-year strategic business growth action plan.

Verizon

Verizon Small Business Digital Ready is a one-stop resource center for entrepreneurs and small business owners looking to access coaching, networking and funding opportunities, and educational content. The hub features more than 40 online courses packed with expert guidance on various topics crucial for small businesses at any stage of development. Additionally, it enables entrepreneurs to engage in personalized coaching sessions and workshops with industry experts, offering tailored support and professional insights.

To date, the program has been instrumental in supporting small businesses. The Small Business Digital Ready program has provided over $1 million in funding annually to entrepreneurs and hosted over 200 virtual and live events in its time.

[Read more: Things to Do in Small Business Month to Grow Your Company]

This story was originally written by Jessica Elliott.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Applications are open for the CO—100! Now is your chance to join an exclusive group of outstanding small businesses. Share your story with us — apply today.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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