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

Successful entrepreneurs never stop learning about their industry, business and customers. Moreover, they provide ongoing training and professional development opportunities to upskill, engage and retain employees. Celebrate Small Business Month and enhance your company year-round using free resources for small businesses. Each of the following tools can improve skill sets within your company and support your learning objectives.

1. 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 and interactive tools for small business owners. You can also 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 are available to veterans, National Guard and reserve and military spouses.
  • Emerging Leaders Initiative: If you have at least one employee besides yourself, have been in business for three years and have annual revenues of at least $250,000, consider the seven-month Emerging Leaders program.

[Read more: 7 SBA Programs Every Small Business Should Know About]

2. HubSpot

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

Achieve certifications through online courses, such as:

  • Digital marketing.
  • Inbound sales.
  • Growth-driven design.
  • Content marketing.
  • Digital advertising.
  • Sales management.

Also, check out HubSpot’s Website Grader. Enter your company’s website and email address 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.

3. Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)

SCORE provides many resources for entrepreneurs, including webinars, interactive courses, free 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.

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 interactions happen virtually so that you can communicate with your mentor via email, phone and video.

[Read more: What Is SCORE and How Can You Use It To Help You Start a Business?]

4. 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.

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.

If you’ve had to cut back on your trade show activities or want to offer employees professional development opportunities, consider registering for free events through Constant Contact.

5. 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.

But don’t stop there! LinkedIn has a small business resource center packed with free content. It offers virtual events, free online courses and livestreams. The online sessions are geared toward entrepreneurs at all levels, including managers and leaders, talent acquisition professionals, remote workers and sales teams.

6. Constant Contact

Constant Contact is an online marketing platform tailored to small businesses. It offers various tools for email, social media, online stores and websites. Constant Contact also provides educational webinars, seminars and local events year-round. If you’ve had to cut back on your trade show activities or want to offer employees professional development opportunities, consider registering for free events through Constant Contact.

7. Docracy

Docracy is an open-source collection of contracts and other legal documents provided by social communities. Although these templates aren’t lawyer-vetted, Docracy gives links to the original source, a version number and approximate age. It offers social proof for each legal document, including the number of times it’s been signed, viewed, saved and downloaded.

Docracy is also Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign Act) compliant. You can download and customize documents then electronically sign them. Docracy adds a timestamp and lets you store your contract for free.

8. HR.com

Manage human resources effectively with a free membership and resources from HR.com. It provides 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.

Free resources for small businesses consist of:

  • HR compliance posters.
  • Industry trends and research papers.
  • HR certification prep courses.
  • More than 5,000 educational webcasts.
  • Recertification credits.
  • HR forms, templates and tools.
  • Publications in more than 13 verticals.

9. TaxJar

TaxJar (acquired by Stripe in 2021) is a cloud-based program that automates sales tax calculations, reporting and filing across all sales channels. It supplies plenty of free resources for small businesses, such as compliance guides, calculators, webinars and videos. Check out the resource center for state-specific insights or sign up for educational webinars or join question and answer (Q&A) sessions with tax experts.

10. Google

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. The Google for Small Business page provides a wealth of information for small business owners, helping you navigate SEO, advertising and marketing.

Course topics include:

  • Getting your business online.
  • Standing out on Search and Maps.
  • Understanding SEO.
  • Gathering insights.
  • Starting an online store.
  • Using email marketing.
  • Advertising online.

[Read more: 6 Training Platforms to Facilitate Employee Development]

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.

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To stay on top of all the news impacting your small business, go here for all of our latest small business news and updates.

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.

Interested in a small business membership?

Find out how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce can help your company grow and thrive in today's rapidly-evolving business environment. Connect with our team to learn how a small business membership can benefit your bottom line and help you achieve your goals.

Published March 28, 2022