Q: What are your suggestions for books, articles, or online assistance to coach small business owners/entrepreneurs on how to present their ideas/products to large retail companies?
A: There is lots of information to help entrepreneurs get their ideas to the marketplace. The Service Corps of Retired Executives’ (SCORE) chapters (800-634-0245 or www.score.org) can provide expert problem-solving assistance to small businesses. Representatives can help you prepare financial statements, business plans, and other documentation, as well as give you contacts and management advice. The Direct Marketing Association (212-768-7277) has 4,600 members involved in all aspects of direct marketing. It also publishes books on designing a direct marketing campaign and marketing products and services overseas. You can also purchase a membership list, which provides small businesses with the names of members, such as advertising agencies and printers. Also, Small Business Development Centers (518-443-5398) are available in each state to provide assistance in business development, financing, and procurement.
Tap into the blackenterprise.com website and enter the Small Business Forum. You will be able to share ideas and gain insight from fellow small business owners with similar questions, comments, concerns, advice, and information. There are prompts to guide you in becoming a registered member. Once accepted, you will have access to existing categories of information as well as the ability to submit new ideas and categories, enter messages and search for specific articles that have appeared in be. You will also find useful internet links to other small businesses, enabling a virtual network of information exchange.