STL Key Business Resources
If you're thinking about starting a business in the St. Louis area, there are a set of key business resources online that can help you get on your way. Each is extremely well done, current, and keyed to local conditions. eWeb's top choices include:
- Evaluating Your Business Idea
- This guide walks you through a feasibility analysis - the major questions you need to know before you can start your business with a true sense of control. If you plan to get help from a Missouri State Small Business and Technology Development Center Office, having this form filled out will move your consulting along quickly.
- Starting a New Business in Missouri
- This is the granddaddy of guides for Missourians. It covers all the topics related to starting a business, including legal forms of organization, registration and licensing, taxes and financing. Done by the Missouri SBDCs and other government organizations. It is a great free alternative to those "How to start a business in Missouri" books you can find for $30 at the bookstore.
- IRS Small Business Center
- This listing is from the IRS and is the page listing all resources that apply to small businesses and the self-employed.
- Missouri Small Business Guide
- This website includes business start-up information and forms for business law in Missouri.
- SBA St. Louis Small Business Guide
- Provides a great listing of Federal programs and services (including contracting and SBA loan programs). Has extensive directory of local resources. Another local guide with a strong tech component was developed by Washington University in 2011. The SBA's own online resource (which moved from Business.gov) is available here for the general guide for starting your business and here for SBA-Help Locator which will connect you to resources at the city, state or zip-code level.
Grants and Loans For Small Business
Somewhere between financing from the 3 F's (Family, friends, and folk) and VC is where angel investing comes in, but there is also grants (alias "free money") and loans from the government. These can come from any level of government. Two good listings are those from USA.gov and the Missouri Business Portal or Missouri's Department of Economic Development for state programs. When possible, look for the Missouri Catalog of State Assistance Programs which gives the most complete listing of opportunities.
Three Key Phone Numbers
For free, reputable help, you can't beat these three sources: SCORE St. Louis (Service Corps of Retired Executives) at 314-539-6600, ext. 242 [NOTE: they also provide help via email!], the Missouri Small Business Development Center in St. Louis at 314-241-1511; and the Federal SBA at their toll-free number SBA's toll-free number: 1-800-U-ASK-SBA (1-800-827-5722), or locally at 314-539-6600.
Local Media Resources
The "Big 3" of Entrepreneurship Magazines (search for "angel" to find articles):
The Entrepreneurship / Small Business Versions of the Major Business Magazines (search for "angel" to find articles)
Professional Organizations Concerned With
Angel Investing and Venture Capital
Major Reports on Angel and VC Investing