There is no substitute for expert advice. Visit a BusinessSource Center near you for help with growing your business. Receive free, hands-on guidance on business planning, taxes, marketing, and much more.
There are many non-profit organizations that provide free or low-cost services to support small businesses. Many are specialized in the types of businesses they support, such as healthy food businesses, businesses interested in exporting, or women-owned businesses. Check out the Resource Finder to find a non-profit that can help meet your needs.
A Chamber of Commerce is a business network that connects its members with ideas, resources, and each other. Chambers of Commerce also frequently lobby on behalf of businesses for laws and policies that are favorable to its members. A Chamber can be organized around a specific region, such as businesses located in the Valley, around a specific type of business, or around another affinity, such as an ethnic group. Find a Chamber that suits you and your business.
Los Angeles has a huge amount of talent, including professionals who can provide expertise to support and protect your business. A few of the common types of professional assistance that are utilized by business owners include:
Lawyers: Lawyers can provide assistance for many of your business needs. From helping you to incorporate your business, filing a patent, reviewing leases or contracts with suppliers and vendors, or protecting you in the case of an employment or civil lawsuit, having a lawyer who you work well with and trust will likely come in handy.
Accountants and Bookkeepers: The difference between an accountant and a bookkeeper is subtle, but important if you're trying to find the right skill set to help your business. An accountant is specialized in providing high level financial expertise, such as analyzing your business operations and profitability, or preparing your taxes. A bookkeeper, in contrast, can support you in your day-to-day financial transactions, such as preparing invoices, completing payroll or recording financial transactions into your ledger.
Business Brokers: In the State of California, a business broker is a licensed professional who specializes in selling, buying, and evaluating businesses. If you're interested in buying an existing business, or selling your own business to someone else, a business broker can help you to find a buyer or seller, evaluate the value of a business, and help to structure and negotiate a deal.
Insurance Brokers: An insurance broker can help you to purchase the right insurance to protect yourself and your business. Typical business insurance needs can include liability insurance, property insurance, business interruption insurance, workers' compensation insurance and home office insurance. You can also work with your existing insurance provider to assess your options, but you shouldn't assume that your business needs will be covered under your personal insurance policy.
Designers: Having someone with a design eye can help you to market your business, rebrand your store, or make sure that the interior and exterior of your business, as well as your business materials, are professional and attractive to customers.
Business Process Professionals: A business process professional is someone who specializes in evaluating business operations and recommending improvements that will help to optimize and streamline your work. For instance, they might recommend a new point-of-sale system that can help you better track your inventory, or ways to automate repetitive actions, such as billing or phone calls, that will help to increase your employee productivity and efficiency.