Small Business Resource Kit impresses, frustrates in equal measure

The Federal Government’s new Small Business Resource Kit isn’t flash, but start-ups will find it easier than threading their way through numerous websites.

Last week Federal Small Business Minister Nick Sherry announced the launch of a new Small Business Resource Kit (SBRK). My Business asked for, and was sent, the SBRK and can advise that it’s not flash but seems like it will be valuable for early stage businesses.

The free kit is sent to anyone who asks for one on a USB memory stick (1GB in case you wanted to know). The stick contains a file called “START_HERE” which, once double-clicked, opens a web browser.

The Kit then offers links to documents gathered from various government websites. The material is worthy – it’s hard to fault the comprehensive business plan and marketing templates or the links to other useful resources – and the breadth of information and links is impressive.

It’s not hard to imagine that a startup or independent contractor would find the material in the kit valuable. But it’s also not hard to imagine that they’ll find the experience of using the SBRK a bit frustrating. The kit does not make it clear what will happen when you click on a link so it comes as a surprise when a click results in either Microsoft Word or Adobe Reader opening. The fact that all the links from the SBRK open in a new Window or Tab is also a little crude as it makes navigation more confusing than it needs to be.

We can understand the reason for some of these interface choices: something a bit more modern and snazzy might not work on some older PCs.

But we also feel that more than a few users of the SBRK will get a bit confused, but probably less confused than if they tried to find all these documents on different government websites.

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