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THE CUTTING EDGE: SMALL OFFICE / HOME OFFICE | EVENTS

Electronic Expo: L.A.'s Loss Is Atlanta's Game

June 16, 1997

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, the big video game and computer entertainment show that had previously made its home in Los Angeles, is taking place Thursday through Sunday in Atlanta. For more information by fax, call (800) 315-1133 or visit http://www.mha.com/e3/

Not-So-Stupid Human Tricks: Virtual Humans 2, set for Tuesday through Thursday at the Universal City Hilton, will be spotlighting the latest applications of virtual reality technologies. For more information, call (213) 938-7600 or check out the Web site at http://www.vrnews.com/vh2.html

Small Office / Home Office in Cyberspace

It probably comes as no surprise that SOHO information on the Web has proliferated. There are big sites, little sites, general sites, specialty sites, good sites, bad sites, red sites, blue sites. So let's take a little tour of a smattering of the kinds of things you'll find online.

A good place to start for general small-business information is the American Institute of Small Business (http://www.accessil.com/aisb/home.htm), which offers information about seminars, workshops and networking. If home businesses are more up your alley, try Business@Home or the Home Office Assn. of America. The former (http://www.gohome.com) is an online magazine with news and advice on technology, family matters, and design and furnishings. The HOAA (http://www. hoaa.com) has an online newsletter, business start-up ideas and links to SOHO sites and government resources.

Entrepreneurs interested in technology should visit the Center for Innovation (http://www.und. nodak.edu/dept/cibd/default.htm), which has marketing services, business plan development tips, as well as a Small Business Research Outreach Program. Or try CommerceNet (http:// www.commerce.net) for firms interested in "electronic commerce solutions."

OK, so you want to cut to the chase. Money. Try America's First Business Funding Directory (http://www.businessfinance.com). Your capital needs are matched with a list of potential funding sources. And it won't cost you a thing--for the service, that is. Money Hunter (http:// www.moneyhunter.com) offers tips and articles for finding capital. They also have an InvestorSpeak Decoder to help decipher business jargon.

If you have a specific problem or issue, the Service Corps of Retired Executives is there to help. The group is a network of volunteers who provide in-person counseling. It now allows you to submit questions via e-mail at http:// www.scn.org/civic/score-online. The site also links to the Patent and Trademark Office and the Electronic Resource Commerce Center.

The Edward Lowe Foundation (http://www.lowe.org) provides information, research and educational services. Visitors have free access to almost 4,000 searchable documents. Two services of the foundation are smallbizNet and Entrepreneurial Edge Online. SmallbizNet has news about venture capitalists, small-business legislation and dozens of links to online resources. Entrepreneurial Edge Online (http://www.edgeonline.com) has news and trends as well as pointers from the pros.

Another foundation is the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Center, which specializes in youth development and entrepreneurial leadership programs and sponsors EntreWorld (http://www.entreworld.org).

Sites with more specialized information are the American Society of Women Entrepreneurs and WomenBiz. The ASWE site (http://www.membership.com/aswe) has news and membership information. WomenBiz has discussion boards and information on money and technology matters, all geared to women. WomenBiz is at http:// www.frsa.com/womenbiz/. Creative Investment Research (http://www2.ari.net/cirm)is a minority-owned investment information firm that specializes in women- and minority-owned enterprises.

For general business information, all kinds of business and economic statistics can be found at http://www.stat-usa.gov. Or try the CCH Business Owners Toolkit at http://www.toolkit.cch.com. It has sample letters, contracts, policies and forms you can customize, as well as financial spreadsheet templates.

If all else fails, there's always that standby, the Small Business Administration (http://www. sbaonline.sba.gov), which has resources for starting, financing and expanding your business.

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Site suggestions can be sent to cutting.edge@latimes.com

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