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How Do I Start a Small Business?

Here are some tips, tools and resources for budding entrepreneurs

Ask Sid: Starting a Small Business: gourmet cafe

If you're thinking of starting a business, information and mentoring is available. — Photo by S. Joel/Getty Images

En español | Q. I want to start my own business. Where can I get information and help on how to go about doing it?

A. The Small Business Administration (1-800-827-5722) has numerous tools for budding entrepreneurs, including tips on writing a business plan, getting financial assistance and securing contracts. Another great resource is SCORE, whose 13,000 volunteer counselors include working and retired business owners and executives. Type in your ZIP code to find a local office.

See also: AARP and SBA team up to help 50+ entrepreneurs

You'll always want to check the Internal Revenue Service's Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center, for tax forms and information. Also, contact your local chamber of commerce to network with local suppliers and customers.

If your plan is to start a nonprofit enterprise, check out this useful online tutorial from the Foundation Center, which helps nonprofit groups learn how to solicit grants. You can also contact your state's nonprofit association and Michigan State University's Nonprofit Virtual Library — these sites offer a wealth of information on starting and running a nonprofit.

Your local chapter of the American Bar Association can refer you to local attorneys who can help in the necessary legal paperwork.

Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues. Check out the Ask Sid archive. If you don’t find your answer there, send a query.

You may also like: 5 myths about Canada's health care system.

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