The U.S. Small Business Administration recently retooled its website to make its tools and resources more accessible to the nearly 30 million enterprises nationwide that are eligible for its services. Launched just before Christmas, the improved SBA.gov offers improved design, navigation, and — most importantly — more helpful content for businesses in all industries. In particular, a new feature called SBA Direct allows visitors to choose what information appears on their screen by providing their ZIP code and a basic company profile, and then selecting topics they’d like to know more about.
“SBA Direct allows visitors to personalize their browsing experience according to their business type, geography, and needs,” administrator Karen Mills said in a Dec. 21 press release. “SBA Direct then delivers relevant and targeted information on all aspects of running a business, such as the steps involved in getting started, business growth strategies, and how to stay compliant with current laws and regulations. [It] also provides information on the available SBA programs that can help businesses succeed, such as financial assistance, exporting and government-contracting opportunities, counseling, and training.”
In addition, the revamped site integrates Business.gov resources (compiling data from across government agencies), uses location-based maps to pinpoint local resources, lets users rate content, and promises more accurate, relevant search results. The lattermost makes relatively quick work of finding the site’s wealth of green and sustainable business information, although both could be far more prominently displayed in the drop-down boxes on the homepage. There’s a veritable treasure trove of sustainability resources to be had, including:
- A Green Business Guide, which provides tips for getting certified, conducting market research, and adding ecological messages to advertising and marketing strategy.
- Green Business Case Studies, which discuss how companies like Whole Foods and Ben & Jerry’s achieved success through sustainable practices.
- Myriad tips for adopting Green Business Practices, from recycling and reducing office waste to developing green products and implementing a full-fledged environmental management plan.
- A primer on Environmental Grants & Loans, with links to additional resources for financing energy efficiency projects and getting small business innovation loans.
If you have an opportunity to check out the new SBA site, please let us know what you think. Which aspects do you find most useful in your sustainability efforts? What other resources would you recommend to small businesses like yours?