Small Food Business Stats
Small business in the United States is thriving. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, as of 2017, there are 29.6 million small businesses operating in the country. This makes up 99.9% of business within the U.S. The 57.9 million people employed by small business accounts for 47.8% of the American workforce. You can see the full report on the SBA website here.
Breaking those numbers down further, according to the National Restaurant Association (a good resource that isn’t discussed further on this page because it isn’t free), over 1 million of those businesses are comprised of restaurants and other small food businesses like home caterers, bakers, etc. These small food businesses create jobs for 10% of the American work force. They estimate that 1.6 million new food industry jobs will be created in the next 10 years – not too shabby!
With statistics like that, it’s a good thing there are some solid resources available to fledgling entrepreneurs and owners who want to start a new business or scale a business that is gaining some traction. Additionally, those stats mean it could be a great time to start a new food business, so keep reading you crazy entrepreneur, you!
In this post, I will list and briefly discuss some of the free small business resources that are available to everyone across the United States. At the time of this post, this list may not be comprehensive, but it will give you a good place to start if you are in the beginning stages of creating a new business, laying out your business plan and thinking through your strategy. As I find and vet resources that fit the content of this post, I will update it accordingly, so please book mark the page and visit it again. If you know of a good link I missed, please drop me a line. I and the readers of my humble blog will appreciate it!
Department of Agriculture (USDA) -Made up of 29 different agencies, the USDA provides guidance for issues regarding food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development and nutrition. There guidance is predicated on public policy and the best available science. Note that the USDA is responsible for the safety of meat, poultry and egg products, while the FDA, listed below, regulates everything else.
On the USDA website, you can find information about agricultural economy, food access, food born illness and food prices, expenditures and costs. All of these are important considerations when planning and operating a food business. You will also find up to date industry-related publications and news that speak to all types of food business.
A Few Useful Links on the USDA Site
Their Blog – They have a really active, well written and informative blog. I was delayed in making this post, in fact, because I got distracted by reading theirs!
Food Markets & Prices – Topics here include Customer Price Index for Food, the size of the food service market and local foods. I advocate eating local, so I found this section interesting. I think you will do.
Data Products – You will find a lot of data on the USDA site. This is a great resource for business owners who need to do some market research, figure out or forecast food pricing or determine where and how to source things like meats, dairy and eggs.
U.S. Department of Agriculture on Social and other Media
Internal Revenue Service
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – The IRS, for those who are not aware, is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The bureau’s responsibility is to collect American taxes as well as administer tax codes and laws. They provide a lot of information on their website and like the tax laws the bureau represents, the site can be overwhelming. I listed a few useful links below and beyond what I can find there, I typically just refer to my CPA for assistance.
A few useful links on the IRS Site
How to Apply for an Employee Identification Number (EIN) – You can apply for your EIN here for free
Tax Information for Businesses – Information needed for business of every size, including small business and people who are self-employed.
Deducting Business Expenses – All the ins and outs of doing these important deductions are detailed here.
Internal Revenue Service on Social Media
Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – The FDA is responsible for protecting the public by assuring food is safe by providing and enforcing regulations for sanitation and labeling. There is a wealth of information on their website under the “Food” heading. There, you will find guidance on starting any type of food business and how to comply with regulations. You may find detailed information on how to register a food facility, a number of important articles about food safety and even news about any recent recalls. The FDA has an active Twitter account as well, where they post updates, news and tips about food safety.
The FDA is active on social media and have a lot of good podcasts and RSS feeds. Check out their Social Media links just a few lines down.
A few useful links on the FDA site
Guidance for Industry: Food Labeling Guide – There is a link to the full guide in .pdf form on this page.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Social Media
SCORE – A non profit organization that has been helping small businesses get off the ground and become successful through education and mentorship for over 50 years. Headquartered in Herndon, VA, there are over 300 offices across the U.S. A partner with the Small Business Administration, they offer free business mentoring and low- or no-cost workshops. Starting a business isn’t easy and it’s even more of a challenge your first time around. SCORE is there to help with that by providing those business mentors.
SCORE posts a ton of great information on their social media channels, so be sure and check them out! I follow them on Twitter and always find inspiration and ideas from their tweets.
A few useful links on the SCORE Site
The site is so well indexed and searchable, a list of useful link isn’t really necessary, but I found their library section handy.
Their blog is fantastic! Make sure and check it out.
SCORE on Social Media
Small Business Administration (SBA) – The SBA was established in 1953 to help small businesses gain access to capital, develop entrepreneurs, assist with government contracting and acts as an advocate for small business before the U.S. Federal Government. There are a number of great links on the page, but one of the most useful sections for me was “Forms.” It’s a document lookup for just about any form a small business may need.
A few useful Links on the SBA Site
Build Your Business Plan – The SBA provides a template and step by step instructions to build your business plan. You have to create a user name and password, but the account is free and it comes with some great information. I can’t stress enough the importance of building your business plan before doing anything else with your business.
Online Training – They have everything from Starting and Managing a Business to getting Financing to Marketing and more. This is a video library that stays up to date with relevant information is fairly easy to search.
Local Assistance – A very good list of SBA partners in every state in the U.S. The SBA works with organizations across the country to provide counsel, mentoring and training to businesses
U.S. Small Business Administration on Social Media
Small Business Nation
Small Business Nation – A website created by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Directly from the ‘about’ section of their site, “U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Nation® was founded specifically to help startups and small businesses succeed.” We found a ton of useful links and information on the site, and there is a very informative blog there.
A few useful links on the Small Business Nation Site
Toolkits – Talk about some great resources! The headers in the toolkit section are “Start”, “Build”, “Grow”, and “Manage”. They also have a section there to help you find a mentor.
Guides – Under the “Marketplace” menu header, Small Business Nation has a selection of free, downloadable guides. You’ll find guides with titles like, “Guide to Licenses and Permits”, “Improve Your Business Credit Score,” and even a “Guide to Google Analytics”!
Small Business Nation On Social Media:
Credits and notes:
All logos on this page belong to their respective organizations
I am not an affiliate of any of the organizations listed in this post and am not paid to feature them. My goal is simply to help small food business owners find resources they may need.