1) Forming a Business, Step-by-step - Mass.Gov http://ow.ly/1ab4U
This is a link to the Mass.gov website with the basic nuts and bolts of starting a business. This site gives you info on forming the business entity, tax info, licensing and permits, dee bee aaayyyssss, and the rest of the boring stuff that nobody wants to know about but unfortunately it covers the basics of what you MUST know if you want your business to actually legally exist. This information is not specific to Central Massachusetts business owners but nevertheless is one of the first places to go if you want to start a business.
2) Small Business Administration - Small Business Planner http://ow.ly/1abhg
3) Local Chambers of Commerce
Depending on the geographic location of your business or more importantly the geographic location of your target customer base, you are going to want to get on board with the local Chamber of Commerce. Two of the best options in Central Massachusetts are the North Central Mass Chamber of Commerce and the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce . The local Chamber of Commerce offers networking opportunities, affordable options for health insurance for small businesses, educational seminars, and numerous other resources for new and existing small busniesses.
4) ShopLocalLeominster.com http://ow.ly/1absp
ShopLocalLeominster (The Leominster Small Business Association) is a great resource for new business owners that are looking to open up shop in Leominster. This is a group of over 100 businesses that gets together regularly to network, share ideas about being in business, and is a free resource for promoting your Leominster business. The Leominster Small Business Association has a great website which lists all members and their websites, offers advertising opportunites, and has a list of resources for your small business.
5) Facebook http://ow.ly/1abzt
Though Facebook comes in at number 5 on this list of resources for small business owners in Central Massachusetts, it's value and importance are certainly worthy of the number one spot. Whether or not you're an internet guru, a "newbie" to the "googles", or you have no idea what the world-wide-interweb is all about, you need to have a facebook fan page for your small business. Though a relatively new stream for advertising your small business, Facebook is clearly the future of connecting with your customers. This is free advertising...and free advertising costs less than paid advertising...(right?) Just go online (or have one of your kids go online for you) and do a quick search for some of your target keywords (again, ask your kids what this means)...you'll be amazed to find out how many of your competitors are already on Facebook and taking away your potential business...(see also Twitter)
6) SCORE Small business mentoring and training http://ow.ly/1abJY
I won't get into too much about SCORE but I will say that one of the most important things you probably haven't done yet is writing a business plan. If you've written a business plan for your new business, or if you need help writing your business plan, you need to contact SCORE. The easiest way to get in touch with a SCORE representative is through the North Central Mass Chamber of Commerce and probably through any Chamber of Commerce I'd be willing to bet.
7) The Central Mass Real Estate TrendMill http://ow.ly/1abNI
This is probably my favorite online resource for any new or existing business in Central Massachusetts. If you want to be in business in Central Massachusetts you need to find space for your business. Certainly you can run your business out of your home but at some point you're going to require a more professional space for your business than your dining room table. The Central Mass Real Estate Trendmill is my blog which you are reading right at this moment. You can find out about office space in Leominster, industrial space, renovated mill buildings, and a whole bunch of other real estate related information for your business.
8) Apex Properties Website http://ow.ly/1abSk
9) Domain Names & Web Hosting - Go Daddy http://ow.ly/1abWq
As was the case with number 5, Facebook, don't think that because I listed GoDaddy as number 9 it's less important than numbers 1-8. If you're going into business you have to have a website and one of the easiest and most affordable options for your new website is GoDaddy.Com. Here you can register your domain name, ie. www dot yourbusinessname dot com, and also set up your email account ie. your name at yourbusinessname dot com. These days having a website ranks up there above advertising in the yellow pages in my book (I don't actually have a book but if I did it would be in there).
10) Let me know what you think should be Number 10 on my list
If you're looking for help with navigating your way through any of the above options, please don't hesitate to contact me and I will see to it that you get the help you need. If I can't help, I will be sure to find you somebody that can...