VtSBDC advisors maintain a large toolbox full of helpful business resources. Feel free to browse through these tools and templates prior to and after contacting your area small business advisor as you chart your path to entrepreneurial success! Check out Tips and Tools section of our blog for an extended walk through on various resources below.
Proper finances and bookkeeping are cornerstones to successful business ownership. The links below should help business owners keep things on track.
- Know Your Number$ Webinar Series – These financial literacy webinar shorts are guided VtSBDC staff with the goal to empower entrepreneurs to feel confident in their financials.
- Creating Monthly Financial Projections – Monthly Projections are an important tool for running your business in “normal times”. During the pandemic, they are doubly so. Follow this link for examples, worksheets and explanations.
- Cash Flow Template – Appropriately predicting cashflows is the best way to plan for your business’s future. This comprehensive workbook will show HOW cash is flowing.
- Year-End Accounting Checklist – To help with the process of preparing your year-end items for your tax preparer, this complete checklist will empower you to understand your business’ financial picture and know the important questions to ask.
Business planning can be the key to turning a great idea into a successful business venture. The links below provide some of the tools to help get you there.
- Business Plan Template – A business plan is the cornerstone of your business. It’s essential for financing, strategic planning, management and more.
- Business Model Canvas – This video, from the creator of the Business Model Canvas, will walk you through the importance of this tool and how to use it.
- Business Model Canvas Template – The business model canvas is a quick way to see the key components that make up your business in one snapshot. There are many templates online, one free advisor recommended BMC builder is canvanizer.com.
- Business Planning Book
- Business Plan Worksheet
Here are some start-up resources. More information and reviews from our clients on our
- Start Your Own Business Guide – Step by step guide for successfully starting a business in Vermont
- Does it Have Legs? – A visual to help you contemplate if your business has what it takes to stand and survive.
- Start Your Own Business Workshop – This beginners workshop will help prepare you to meet with an advisor and start your business on the right foot.
Marketing & Sales
Having a marketing and sales plan is integral to your small business success. The links below provide some important resources for ensuring your marketing efforts are maximized.
- Marketing Plan Template – An effective marketing/communications plan will help you create awareness of your business, build relationships with your stakeholders, and will ultimately generate leads for your products or services.
- Online Presence Guide – No matter what stage of business you’re in, this tool will offer best practices for your website and help set you up for success as you continue to refine your online presence.
- How to Use Your Business Story – The typical elevator speech starts out “Here is what we do and who we are…” Instead, we want to write this version from the customer’s viewpoint.
- Google Business Profile – Stand Out on Google with a Free Business Profile
- Know Your Social: Facebook Expert tips on the key elements of a Facebook Business Page, and what makes a good Facebook post, will help make your social media efforts more engaging and effective for your business.
- Know Your Social: Instagram Expert tips on the key elements of an Instagram Business Page, and what makes a good Instagram post, will help make your social media efforts more engaging and effective for your business.
- Know Your Social: Linkedin Expert tips on the key elements of an Linkedin Business Page, and what makes a good Linkedin post, will help make your social media efforts more engaging and effective for your business.
- Know Your Social: Email Marketing Expert tips on how to create attractive and engaging content for an email marketing campaign including writing eye-catching subject lines and developing calls to action that inspire engagement and sales.
Management and Operations
Solid management and efficient business operations can be a challenge for many small business owners. The links below provide tools to ease that burden and ensure your business runs smoothly.
- Strategic Planning Guide – Map out your written plan to help your business reach specific goals, objectives and define your purpose
- Business Management Matrix – There are many layers to running a business and it’s important to know where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
- Entrepreneur’s Weekly Schedule – Time is the most valuable resource you have. No matter what stage of business you are at, it’s important to consider how your personal life fits with your business responsibilities.
We understand COVID-19 has created stressful conditions on your business and you may have difficult decisions ahead as you consider the best options for you, your business, employees & customers.
- COVID Grant and Loan Dashboard – To help business owners document and organize important information on each loan and grant your business has receive.
- Disaster COVID-19 Business Lending & Grants (State & Federal) – For detailed information, including eligibility, deadlines, and how to access COVID-19 related federal, state, regional loans & grants.
- 2021 COVID-19 Roadmap – As a business owner, you will have to continuously assess and respond as the pandemic impacts your staff and your customers. Staying informed and nimble is key.
- Disaster Recovery Guide – Surviving any disaster is complex. We have created a 72-page bound workbook containing all the steps needed post-disaster to create the most successful and sustainable outcome for Vermont’s businesses.
Managing staff and human resources obligations is a challenge many small business face, especially once they decide to hire employees. The links below provide answers to many of your human resources questions.
- Vermont Department of Labor – Follow this link to find the Vermont Department of Labor webpage which is comprised of four major divisions; Workforce Development, Labor Market Information, Unemployment Insurance, and Workers’ Compensation & Workplace Safety.
- Hiring Best Practices – Follow this link to go to SBA.gov to find ways to establish a basic payroll structure to help you hire employees and how to manage employees properly with a general understanding of state and federal labor laws.
SBA Learning Center
The SBA offers a variety of online courses to help you start and run your business.
- How to Create a Business Plan? – Research, plan, and document your ideas.
- What needs to be done to launch my business? – Turn your business plan into a reality.
- What should I do to Manage? – Master day-to-day operations to run your business.
More Business Resources
VtSBDC has created specific business guides, and sourced helpful materials on other key business topics as listed below which can also be accessed through the navigation bar at the top of this page.
- Veterans Business Services – Military personnel have specific needs as business owners. That’s why VtSDBC has created guides for Veterans who are deploying and returning.
- Exporting/Importing – 97.7 percent of American companies that export are small businesses. Work with our advisors who are International Trade and Export specialists to find out how your business can get started.
- Protecting Your Intellectual Property – This section in our resources continually growing as VtSDBC works with specialists and local partners to find the most relevant information and resources.
Do you have a plan in place to transition your business? Do you have questions about business value, taxes, financing, legal arrangements, and other areas? Here are some helpful resources to review for a start. Your VtSBDC Area Advisor is ready to assist you when you’re ready to talk.
- Succession Planning Checklist – Planning for succession is a multilayered, lengthy task in the best of times. Use this checklist to help you along the way.
- Closing Checklist – If closing your business is the difficult conclusion that you have reached, use this checklist to guide you.
- Bankruptcy – In winter of 2021 VtSBDC hosted Vermont Law School in this two-part webinar series. This covers bankruptcy from both the point of view of a creditor and business owner filing for bankruptcy
- Buying and Selling Book