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Small business owners: What’s your New Year’s resolution?


Small business owners, like everyone else, would be wise to make a few New Year’s resolutions. Entrepreneurs have so many responsibilities, from strategizing to meeting payroll to ensuring there are enough supplies, that it’s almost always possible for them to do a better job. Fortune checked in with the Small Business Administration to get a few ideas for worthwhile resolutions. Here are a few tips from Miguel Ayala, an agency spokesman.

1. Don’t be afraid to reach out for advice

One of the chief responsibilities of the SBA is, of course, to dole out advice to entrepreneurs in need of some help. Struggling? The SBA can be a resource. Its learning center hosts a library of videos about managing small businesses, online training courses and web chats with small business experts throughout the year.

“Whether you started with an SBA loan or not, have an existing business or not, our counseling services are available to all entrepreneurs to evaluate how your business is progressing, and look for opportunities to expand,” Ayala said.

2. Become a mentor and connect with others through social media

Another big SBA initiative is to help small businesses get the resources they need from district offices around the country. The organization offers in-person mentorship for a slew of different small business including businesses led by women, veteran’s and for those plagued by disaster.

Use of technology in business is an important element. “Assess your online presence,” Ayala advised small business owners. “Social media is the name of the game. What is your business doing to make sure that you not only have a website, but are using Twitter, Facebook and other platforms to grow your business? Are you connected with other similar businesses, networks, community chambers, etc.?”

3. Learn about getting a loan and scale up

Many small business owners dream about growing their companies beyond “small” to medium or large-sized operations. One way to do it, according to the SBA, is by taking out one of its loans. “Are you ready for your next step? Do you have a ‘crazy idea,’ but don’t want to risk all of your company’s resources on it?” Ayala told Fortune in advising entrepreneurs to check out the SBA loan program.

Small business owners can find out more details from the SBA’s “Facts About Government Grants” that explains the dos and don’ts for small business owners. Of course, businesses need to meet certain requirements for getting loans and grants and must report back to show that any money is well-spent. Swinging some financial assistance for your business may certainly help in 2015. “Talk to your credit union or banker about an SBA loan,” Ayala said. “Our loans don’t just help with your first step – they are there for your next step.”