Owning a business presents obstacles as well as opportunities. Fortunately, many of these obstacles shrink in the face of government resources designed to stimulate commerce. Business owners can reap the rewards of monetary assistance, specialized training, and government contracts. Every level of government offers online guides and forms to assist all business owners, from the beginner to the seasoned veteran. As a business owner, getting support is key to maintaining a successful business.

The following resources are crucial for a thriving business venture:

Business Development
  • All About Copyrights: A page that explains U.S. copyright laws and how they protect small businesses.
  • Build Your Business: Detailed resources and information from the Wisconsin government that could be valuable to any business owner.
  • Starting a Business: An outline of the steps involved in planning and starting a new business.
Financial Assistance
  • Business Oregon: A site run by an Oregon state agency that offers business resources, including information about opportunities for financial assistance.
  • Loan & Grant Programs: A page of loan and grant opportunities for rural businesses from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's rural development site.
  • GovLoans.gov: A list of government loan programs available to companies.
  • Financial Assistance Division: Information about financial assistance programs available to small businesses that take on transportation-related contracts.
Laws and Regulations
International Trade
  • UNCITRAL Texts and Status: Lists of the documents put out by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law—the agency that deals with international arbitration, transactions, and transport.
  • International Trade Administration: The website of an organization that focuses on fair trade and compliance with trade law.
  • About Foreign Trade: The U.S. Census Bureau page that links to statistics on all American import and export goods.
  • Export Basics: Tools for businesses preparing to pursue international profits.
Workplace Issues
  • Prohibited Employment Policies/Practices: An overview of discriminatory practices that are illegal in U.S. workplaces.
  • Compliance Assistance/Outreach: A list of resources to help employers comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements. OSHA focuses on increasing safety standards while preventing work-related accidents.
  • About the ILO: A page explaining the International Labour Organization's mission to promote equal rights and opportunities in the workplace on an international level. International employers can look to the ILO for support as they seek to provide a positive workplace for all workers.
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963: A U.S. law that prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of sex in their salary decisions.
Buying and Selling
Agencies and Gateways
  • Latest Contract Opportunities: A tool from the Minority Business Development Agency, a federal organization focused on building and sustaining minority-owned businesses.
  • National Women's Business Council: The website for the federal advisory council that serves as a voice for women entrepreneurs. NWBC operates on an executive, legislative, and judicial level.
  • Supplier Diversity Office: Information about the Massachusetts state agency that lends support to businesses owned by minorities and women. This agency also helps other government agencies fulfill their affirmative action quota.
  • Small Business Gateway: Environmental information resources from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

About the Author

Adrian Ludwig is a senior account executive at Crest Capital, where he captures incremental online sales typically lost by standard vendor finance programs. Adrian works in nearly every industry vertical, providing leases and loans for equipment, vehicles, and software. Check out his most popular piece: The Difference Between Good Debt and Bad Debt.