All good. Thank you.
Free Resources for Small Business Owners
Owning and operating a small business can be overwhelming. There are so many things to know outside your area of expertise. Listed below are the resources available to Washington business owners – and these resources are free.
Owning and operating a small business can be overwhelming. There are so many things to know outside your area of expertise. One way to beat the stress is the have the assistance you need to successfully run your business. Listed below are the resources available to Washington business owners – and these resources are free. The information is not exhaustive but provides good places to start in a variety of areas. I listed resources for a few cities but note that most cities not listed will likely provide similar assistance.
Small Business Administration Counseling & Assistance
The SBA provides support to small business owners directly and through resource partners such as SCORE and the Women’s Business Centers. This is the first place to start to find answers to any questions you have about starting and operating your business. They also provide resources for loans and grants.
IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center
The IRS website provides relevant forms, news and helpful online and in person workshops. It also provides helpful information for specific industries such as e-commerce or construction. Please note that there are IRS offices in most cities in Washington. They will answer your questions and assist you in filing your federal taxes for free (certain restrictions apply).
Washington State Department of Revenue Workshops and Education
The Washington Department of Revenue provides an excellent and underused resource. Upon request they will send a tax consultant to you to review your records and assist you in calculating your state taxes correctly. You will not be audited if errors are found – and most importantly, they will provide an official letter outlining their recommendations. If you are audited in the future you will simply need to demonstrate that you followed the recommendations and you will not owe additional tax or penalties.
They also provide helpful classes that are specific to your industry.
Washington Labor & Industry Small Business Center
The Department of Labor and Industry has small business liaisons that are ready and able to assist you. This is a helpful resource for areas such as worker’s compensation and wage and hour regulations. They also have classes on safety, COBRA and HIPAA. It is better to gain knowledge in this area before you need it than wait until after you have an issue.
City of Seattle Resources
The City of Seattle taxes are complicated and I recommend contacting the city directly (or have an expert do so) to ensure that taxes are paid correctly. They provide in person classes to educate business owners about the city taxes. In addition to the standard Business and Occupation (B&O) Tax there are several others including the Square Footage Business Tax and Employee Hours Tax. This site includes information for all City of Seattle taxes and forms and access to set up electronic payment.
City of Tacoma Resources
The City of Tacoma provides incentives, loans and assistance to businesses interested in opening in their city. Their site also includes tax information, forms and other relevant information such as available properties for lease.
City of Bellevue Resources
The City of Bellevue provides several classes to outline your responsibility as a business owner. These include classes specific to the Bellevue Business and Occupation Tax (B&O) and classes in conjunction with the Washington Department of Revenue that include all of your tax obligations. There is also the Bellevue Entrepreneur Center that provides consulting resources and micro-loans.
City of Everett Resources
The City of Everett website provides tax, zoning and incentive information. The Everett Chamber of Commerce website provides resources in all areas of small business in their Business Resource Center.
There are professionals that specialize in bookkeeping, taxes and specific accounting software that can make these aspects of your business much less stressful. In most cases it is best to hire an expert to assist you in setting up your books to avoid problems as your business grows. Reviewing the free resources and gaining the knowledge specific to your business is a great way to help in screening these consultants and ensure that with their help or without you are following all relevant rules and regulations. This knowledge is accessible, helpful and powerful – and most importantly, it is free.
Learn more about the author, W.M. (Wendy) Gillihan, CPB,....
Comment on this article
Posted by Terra Paley, Los Angeles, California |
Aug 06, 2009
Posted by Wesley LeFebvre, Seattle, Washington |
Aug 06, 2009
Great list of resources, thank you!
Posted by Kevin McLallen, Covington, Washington |
Aug 07, 2009
Hi Wendy, great article and excellent list of resources. Thank you for putting them together.
Kevin | KidsDesk.net
Posted by Charles Perkins, Seattle, Washington |
Aug 09, 2009
Great article. There are also nonprofit agencies that can help with many business needs.
One good one to consider is Evergreen Business Capital. They help small businesses that are looking to purchase real estate for their business or equipment. These are SBA loans, but they will walk you through the paperwork.
Posted by Laura Yon-Brooks, MA, LMP, Seattle, Washington |
Oct 17, 2009
Wendy I wanted to tell you how much for article has helped me. Your information and resources led me to the exact kind of help that I was looking for.
All the best, Laura
Posted by Shaun Lawrence, Irvine, California |
Oct 29, 2009
Very informative for new business owners. Many business owners dont realize the resources available. I recommend them to my clients. Shaun Lawrence, CPA, Los Angeles
Posted by Kathryn Cuff, Seattle, Washington |
Nov 13, 2009
Great article! I also want to add that the U.S. Department of Labor's website (www.dol.gov) is extremely helpful for business owners, especially small business owners. Handy resource for answering those questions ranging from overtime to leave time.
Posted by W.M. (Wendy) Gillihan, CPB,..., Seattle, Washington |
Nov 14, 2009
I included a Department of Labor website link in the article - but mine is specifically for small business owners. L&I provides a team of small business trained specialists which is extremely beneficial.
Posted by Gerald Grinter, Seattle, Washington |
Oct 07, 2010
Wow! Great article! This is great information for new business owners. As people start businesses we don't realize the resources available and the people that can help point us in the right direction. I'll keep this article close and pass it on. I also love how once a list like this starts, how others begin to share their lists and resources. I love Biznik.
- small business resources
- department of revenue