BIZTIPS - May 6, 2007

Biz Tips: Use the Sources the Experts Use
Sunday, May 6, 2007
By Art Hill

If you've been reading this column for a while, you know that we often cite internet-based sources of information. Nobody likes re-typing long internet addresses, so here's a tip -- go to our Blue Mountain Community College website (www.bluecc.edu), click on Business / Industry (upper left), then BIZTIPS Article Reprints. When you find the BizTips column you want, just click on the internet links and go straight to the referenced websites.

Business research that used to take hours of reading in distant libraries now appears on your desktop with a few clicks and well chosen keywords. A young friend in Wisconsin was looking for business resources, and found a 5.0 million (Euro) European Union grant for U.S. companies with partners in Europe. The grant is limited to one country, but fits his needs perfectly. This week he will form an L.L.C. and apply for the grant. Zero to sixty in a half dozen clicks!

If everyone has access to information like that, where do business professionals go for information at their level of expertise? Our statewide Small Business Development Center network is assembling those sources for our business counselors. Jimmie Wilkins, Director of the Salem SBDC and native of Pendleton, shared a few links with her colleagues this past week. Here are some examples.

A free site www.smallbizu.org by Creative Union offers training in what might be considered business basics -- accounting, marketing, etc. But more advanced offerings are coming soon including the Entrepreneurial Master Class. Even the basics are presented in detail -- one is 3 hours with 195 slides and narrations.

Legal information is available at www.nolo.com. While it's no substitute for an attorney, the information here is deep and wide. For example, there are free guidelines for forming a Limited Liability Corporation, and inexpensive software and forms for doing it yourself.

Business owners concerned about leaving the business to their family or employees can participate in the Austin Family Business program at OSU www.familybusinessonline.org. The books and articles available here are just the beginning in this award winning program.

Women business owners should definitely check http://count-me-in.org. No explanation needed. You'll see why when you get there.

Finally, www.morebusiness.com has marketing guidance, but much more -- from finance and funding to sample contracts.

Some of these sites are portals to other sites, others charge subscription or per-use fees. Some offer valuable information at no charge plus links to other fee-based sites. Generally, Internet-based information is competitively priced. Individual documents and expert references once available only in bound volumes costing thousands are now downloadable for less than $20.

So limber up your mouse button and travel the sites of the experts. We'll share others in future columns, but the time to get started is now. What you find today may change what you do in your business at 8 am tomorrow morning.


Content © 2007 East Oregonian