Web sites designed with small firms in mind

With one click of the mouse, the free information from these Web sites can save you time and money--and help give your business a competitive edge.

U.S. POSTAL SERVICE (www.usps.com). This Web site is guaranteed to cut down on your time standing in post office lines. It offers mailing address information, an online order supply catalog, Express Mail tracking and postage rate calculation.

AMERICAN EXPRESS SMALL BUSINESS EXCHANGE (www.american express. com/smallbusiness). Your one-stop source for keeping your business up to par, this easy-to-navigate site features expert advice, your American Express account information, a business directory and a guide to creating a business plan.

HOME BUSINESS ADVANTAGE (www.homebusinessadvantage.com). This online business directory has all the answers for those working from home. The site offers discounts on services, features successful home-based businesses, a business directory, links to other sites and answers to readers’ questions.

IN BUSINESS (www.officedepot.com/inbusiness). This site by Office Depot is for entrepreneurs at all stages. It features a business handbook, downloadable work templates, a forum for business entrepreneurs to share ideas, updated articles and discounts on office supplies. A newsletter offers opinions, articles and product reviews.

SCORE (www.score.org). This Web site sets up entrepreneurs with members of the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). These volunteer retired executives offer free business counseling through e-mail. You can also link to other helpful business Web sites and information about real-life workshops and local chapters.

GETSMSRT (www.getsmart.com). This site by GetSmart on consumer borrowing has a section geared specifically to financing your business. The interactive Business Finance Center asks you a series of questions and, based on your answers, offers advice on the best source of financing and how to obtain it.

ACROSS THE WEB