Seems there’s an app for everything these days, but the SBA, in partnership with Palo Alto Software (which built and donated the app), recently launched their own app. And, I must say, it’s pretty nifty – and free. It’s only available for iOS right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if an Android version arrives in the future.
Currently designed more for the budding entrepreneur than the established business owner, the app contains a “Startup Calculator.” You enter your current assets and expenses, recurring and otherwise, into it and the calculator summarizes what your “Total Startup Cost” is. While this is incredibility useful, users should note that the total cost of starting up will likely fluctuate, meaning you shouldn’t take the sum the calculator provides as written in stone.
However, once you’ve calculated your projected costs, you can read about what to do next, namely how to go about finding funding and writing a business plan. They list two types of funding: investment and borrowed money. Those two options actually are the only ways to fund a business. If you’re planning on using your own capital; you’re the investor; if you’re crowdfunding, every person who donates is an investor. Loans – from banks, family, friends, and others – are all borrowed money. It definitely makes you think about what type of funding you want to use to start your business.
One of the most difficult parts of starting a business is finding resources that provide guidance. The app strives to solve this with a search function. One can search for SBA locations (either around you or around a certain zip code), and the locations of their partners, including:
Discount and overlook this feature at your own risk. These government programs are in place specifically to help business owners succeed, but far too many business owners do not take advantage of them. One of these partners, or the SBA itself, is likely to have an office in the larger metropolitan areas.
There’s also the ability to tap into the SBA’s Twitter feed, and watch videos covering everything from the recent National Small Business Week presentations to What The Affordable Care Act Means for Small Businesses to their Disaster Assistance Program. The videos are pulled straight from the SBA’s YouTube channel, meaning they’re updated automatically.
All in all, it’s a pretty great resource to keep in your pocket. Seeing as this is the first iteration of the app, I wouldn’t be surprised if more functionality is introduced in the future.