KCSourceLink Resource Partners meet at ESO Day 2023

What’s a KCSourceLink Resource Partner & How Can They Help Your Business?

Starting and running a business can feel like the loneliest job around. But you don’t have to go it alone.

KCSourceLink’s Resource Partners are here with free or low-cost information, mentoring and/or funding for you and your venture. Learn how you can build your business with the help of these entrepreneurship experts.

What’s a Resource Partner and how can I find one?

The Kansas City entrepreneurial ecosystem is AMAZING—in fact it’s so amazing that dozens of cities across the country are modeling their networks after KC’s. The metro area is home to a network of 230+ organizations that provide all kinds of support to small business owners. Whether you have a kernel of a business idea or you’re successful and ready to scale, there’s an organization here to help.

KCSourceLink is your one-stop shop for all of these groups. There are three ways you can connect with Resource Partners:

  • Personal Action Plan: This free, individualized to-do list is perfect if you don’t even know where to begin or aren’t sure what Resource Partners might be able to help you. Answer a few questions about your business, and KCSourceLink Network Navigators will craft a free personalized checklist of whom you should meet to meet your goals. If you prefer to chat on the phone, give us a call at 816-235-6500 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Resource Navigator®: This list is the granddaddy of all business resources. You can browse alphabetically or search by ZIP code, need, industry, underserved communities and more.
  • KCSourceLink Calendar: This constantly updated schedule lists all the classes, networking events and workshops for business owners in the KC area. It’s the most-comprehensive calendar of its kind. You can view all the events or search by day, event category, organization and more.

Working with Resource Partners isn’t just a feel-good story. These connections have real economic impact on our community. KCSourceLink and our Resource Partners helped entrepreneurs start 790 businesses from 2019 to 2022. In 2023, we helped 2,620 entrepreneurs who needed help with their business or business idea. Working with Resource Partners has helped thousands of entrepreneurs start or improve their businesses, increase sales, solve problems, expand operations, increase employees and more.

What do I do with a Resource Partner?

It depends on your needs and the services the Resource Partner offers.

Some Resource Partners, like chambers of commerce, offer networking opportunities. Others, like Small Business Development Centers, provide a variety of mentoring and training. Some focus on financial resources. Then there are the Resource Partners who cater to specific industries, geographic areas or underserved communities.

Working with a Resource Partner breaks down into three steps:

  1. Understand what they offer. You wouldn’t go to the hardware store for a teeth cleaning, so don’t expect an IT accelerator to have support for your farm. Do your research. (And if you’re lost, just ask a KCSourceLink expert. We know every Resource Partner and can match you with the right ones for your needs.)
  2. Reach out and show up. Whether it’s RSVPing for an event or signing up for an online class, take that powerful first step. Then follow through. KCSourceLink will provide Resource Partners’ contact information; it’s up to you to reach out.
  3. Participate and ask questions. Being a small business owner means sticking your neck out. Be ready to talk about your venture or business idea. Have questions in mind that can help you reach your goals. Whether you’re asking, “What’s a business plan?” or “How did you get where you are today?,” this information can help you move forward.

These are the basics. But you can take your work with a Resource Partner to the next level.

How can I make the most of my relationship with a Resource Partner?

People in the Kansas City entrepreneurial ecosystem genuinely want to help and want to see you succeed. It’s part of what makes our community so special.

With this in mind, don’t be afraid to ask Resource Partners. This means:

  • Ask the instructor of a useful workshop what other classes or resources might help you learn more.
  • Ask the person running a networking event what other programs might help you build your business.
  • Ask people who are a part of a Resource Partner organization what programs or steps they suggest you take next.
  • Ask a mentor from a weekslong class if they could continue to mentor you or if they could recommend someone else who might be a good fit.
  • Ask an expert from a Resource Partner for a reality check when you’re unsure how to address an issue in your business.

Just because an official program ends, that doesn’t mean that the people at that Resource Partner will no longer accept your calls. Most are delighted to maintain long-term relationships with the entrepreneurs they serve. For example, anyone who takes a course from the Missouri SBDC or Kansas SBDC receives free mentoring after. The longer a Resource Partner has worked with you, the better they will understand your business and be able to offer effective guidance.

Like in most relationships, you get what you give. Being honest, prepared and a good listener can open a whole new level of growth with Resource Partners.

Guidance for small business owners

If this sounds like being thrown into the deep end of the pool, don’t worry. KCSourceLink is here to connect you with the right Resource Partners that fit your needs. Get a free Personal Action Plan to get started!

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