Pack-and-ship store owner packing a shipment.

Staying Connected in the Small-Business Community

Staying Connected in the Small-Business Community

Some entrepreneurs — possibly you included — started in this business with little industry knowledge. Some had never owned their own business before becoming a pack-and-ship store owner and have found the experience rewarding but also challenging and a bit isolating. With limited resources and support, it’s hard to stay on top of industry trends, learn new ways to grow your business and get tips on managing store operations efficiently.

If this is how you’re feeling, you could benefit by reaching out to support groups that small-business organizations and online resources provide. Being a part of these organizations can be rewarding and make you feel like part of a community.

Here are some organizations that provide small-business support. You’ll want to do your own research and decide which ones are right for you.

“Members Helping Members” is the motto of the Association of Mail and Business Centers. This nonprofit, member-run organization offers resources and support to pack-and-ship store owners. With a membership fee, you gain access to:

  • An online forum, discussion groups and blogs

  • Industry news and analysis

  • National and regional events

  • Training and seminars

  • A retail shipping magazine

  • AMBC Trusted Supplier program and discounts

  • Member listings

A for-profit organization founded and run by current and former store owners, Retail Shipping Associates provides industry knowledge, resources and support to pack-and-ship stores nationwide, such as:

  • An online forum, discussion groups and blogs

  • An industry publication, RS News

  • Industry news and analysis

  • Advocacy and outreach

  • National and regional events, conventions and trade shows

  • Training, webinars and seminars

  • A vendor and supplier directory and discounts

Local Chambers of Commerce

Most communities have a chamber of commerce — an organization for business networking, support and advocacy. For a membership fee, businesses have access to:

  • A membership directory

  • Networking opportunities across industries

  • Business and community events

  • Opportunities to collaborate with other businesses 

The U.S. Small Business Administration, an independent agency of the federal government, is committed to providing a wide range of ongoing support for entrepreneurs through videos, online courses, one-on-one mentoring and resources, counseling services, development centers, and more. You can find out about:

  • Market research and analysis

  • Financing and funding programs

  • Business planning and management

  • Disaster assistance 

SCORE provides free and confidential mentoring services for small businesses. The mentors are volunteers who are actively working or retired professionals, and they can help guide you through opening a business, growing your business and planning for the future. You can join workshops at low cost or no cost via live webinars, through an interactive course or via an instructor in person. Also available:

  • Roundtable discussions

  • Events

  • Business materials and resources
Online Forums

Reaching outside of your industry for support can help keep you — and your business — well-rounded. Here are links to some general small-business forums where you can research and join conversations on accounting, employee management, marketing, growing your business and so on: