Planning & Development


Networking, market research, refining your business plan — there’s a lot to running a business beyond balancing the books. Our resources can help you take your business to the next level.


Guidance for starting, running and growing a business


Business strategy

Explore expert guidance and personal stories on ways to set up your business for long-term success.


2024 Business Owner Report

Take a deep dive into the perspectives, aspirations, concerns and future outlooks of business owners across the country.

Business Development

Discover tips and tactics to help your business grow and thrive.


Ideas to help improve your company’s environmental and social impact.

I’m interested in

Use this tool to find information that matches your needs. Click a topic on the left to see specific resources and tips.

A smilling woman holding a sign that reads come in we're open.

How to start a business in 15 steps

This guide will walk you through the foundational elements of starting a business and explain what you can expect as you embark on the journey toward business ownership.

A man and a woman in discussion while reviewing documents.

Considerations when choosing a business structure

Choosing the right business structure is critical for all business types as it influences everything from day-to-day operations to taxes and your personal assets.

Book cover reading Business Plan

How to write an effective business plan

Research shows that owners who complete business plans are twice as likely to grow their business successfully or obtain capital compared to those who don’t.

A woman kneeling and writing on a sandwich board.

What is a DBA & what does it mean for your business?

DBA - or "doing business as" - is when a person or corporation decides to do business under a name different than its legal name.

A woman looking over important documentation on her desk.

Financing options for small businesses

Throughout the life of your business you may need to secure outside funding. Learn about traditional and alternative financing options that can help you achieve your goals.

Two collegues looking at tablet a tablet.

Line of credit vs. business credit card: An overview

Having both a business credit card and a line of credit can be integral to your success. Here’s a quick overview so you can make the most of each.

A man and a woman in discussion while reviewing documents.

Factors that impact loan decisions (and how to increase your approval odds)

If you are considering applying for financing to help grow your business, it's important to understand what lenders typically look for when evaluating a loan application.

Evening city skyline

Access to Capital Directory for Entrepreneurs

When traditional bank lending is not the right fit for your business, you may want to explore alternative sources of capital. Our curated database can help you find sources of equity, debt and grant funding.

Two collegues looking over a graph on a tablet.

Cash flow management basics for small businesses

Maintaining a healthy cash flow can help ensure that you have cash available for your needs today and in the long term. But how do you do it?

A woman at a table, in an apartment, looking down at documents with her laptop open

10 ways to help avoid business banking and credit card fees

One simple way to manage monthly business expenses is by choosing the most cost-effective banking products and services and using them in a way that minimizes fees.

Woman at her computer in an office, looking at a document.

Understanding free cash flow

Free cash flow is what is left after a business pays its day-to-day operating expenses. Learn how to calculate free cash flow and how to utilize it for your business.

A woman reading over papers

Payroll service options for your small business

Payroll services and software may help business owners save both time and money. Review these questions to see if outsourcing the job or using software is right for you.

A young pregnant woman taking notes in front of a laptop

What is business credit and how do I build it?

The ability to borrow money can help you jump on opportunities and navigate challenges. Learn about building business credit in these 8 steps.

A young man talking on a cellphone inside a flower shop.

How do I get a business credit card?

A business credit card can be a powerful financial tool for your business. When applying for a credit card, doing some prep work up front can help speed up the process.

Wooden blocks with a hand stopping a red block.

Why and how to keep your personal and business finances separate

Get step-by-step guidance on how to organize and set up your business finances to protect yourself, streamline accounting and build business credit.

Mobile phone reviewing business credit score.

Credit score basics for small businesses

To secure the credit you need at the most attractive interest rates, it helps to have a strong business credit score, which is a measure of the financial health of your company.

Ready to meet with a specialist?

Whether you need to raise capital, improve payments, remodel, upgrade equipment, expand or enhance hiring and retention efforts, let’s work together to shape your future.

Important Disclosures and Information


Bank of America, Merrill, their affiliates and advisors do not provide legal, tax or accounting advice. Consult your own legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions. Any informational materials provided are for your discussion or review purposes only. The content on the Center for Business Empowerment (including, without limitations, third party and any Bank of America content) is provided “as is” and carries no express or implied warranties, or promise or guaranty of success. Bank of America does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, usefulness, non-infringement of intellectual property rights, or quality of any content, regardless of who originates that content, and disclaims the same to the extent allowable by law. All third party trademarks, service marks, trade names and logos referenced in this material are the property of their respective owners. Bank of America does not deliver and is not responsible for the products, services or performance of any third party.


Not all materials on the Center for Business Empowerment will be available in Spanish.


Certain links may direct you away from Bank of America to unaffiliated sites. Bank of America has not been involved in the preparation of the content supplied at unaffiliated sites and does not guarantee or assume any responsibility for their content. When you visit these sites, you are agreeing to all of their terms of use, including their privacy and security policies.


Credit cards, credit lines and loans are subject to credit approval and creditworthiness. Some restrictions may apply.


Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as “MLPF&S" or “Merrill") makes available certain investment products sponsored, managed, distributed or provided by companies that are affiliates of Bank of America Corporation (“BofA Corp."). MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, Member SIPC, and a wholly owned subsidiary of BofA Corp.


Banking products are provided by Bank of America, N.A., and affiliated banks, Members FDIC, and wholly owned subsidiaries of BofA Corp.


“Bank of America” and “BofA Securities” are the marketing names used by the Global Banking and Global Markets division of Bank of America Corporation. Lending, derivatives, other commercial banking activities, and trading in certain financial instruments are performed globally by banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation, including Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC. Trading in securities and financial instruments, and strategic advisory, and other investment banking activities, are performed globally by investment banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation (“Investment Banking Affiliates”), including, in the United States, BofA Securities, Inc., which is a registered broker-dealer and Member of SIPC, and, in other jurisdictions, by locally registered entities. BofA Securities, Inc. is a registered futures commission merchant with the CFTC and a member of the NFA.


Investment products: