Congratulations to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for a great new redesign of its flagship SBA.gov website. The recent release is a huge improvement. This has always been the granddaddy source of official information on small business in the United States. For years its had thousands upon thousands of pages of information about starting a business, running a business, finding financing, government programs, small business research. It’s always been the first place for real businesses to look for real information.
But it has never been this easy to navigate or this well organized. There was just so much information, it could be hard to find and sift through it all.
I’ve spent some time with it since it came out just a couple of weeks ago, sort of in the holiday lull, and I like it a lot. The new version is a lot easier to use, meaning categories are easier to understand and searching is more logical.
The new site highlights a new SBA Direct tool designed to help users navigate quickly to information on specific topics like financing, marketing, and business planning. It also leads you to local resources quickly. The idea is to make it “hyper local.”
The team in charge looked deeply at analytics showing the actual usage patterns of the previous site, meaning what topics business owners looked for depending on their industry and stage of growth, and so forth. They also used advances made at the related business.gov information site, which is much more social with blogging and forums. As a frequent blogger on that site, I’ve seen the progress as it has evolved.
I’ve been a fan of the SBA for 20-some years now, during both Democratic and Republican presidential administrations, during booms and recessions, without ever having taken out an SBA loan for my own business. What I get from the SBA is reliable information; programs like SBA local offices, Small Business Development Centers, Womens’ Business Centers, and SCORE, and small business leadership.
For small business information, analysis, statistics, not to mention tutorials and step-by-step guidance, www.sba.gov is the first place to go.