The economy is still struggling and many people have found themselves without employment over the last few years. Those who have lost their jobs often decide that it’s the perfect time to make a life-change and strike out on their own in business. There’s a great deal of satisfaction to be had from running your own business. It’s incredibly fulfilling to take an idea you developed yourself and turn it into a force in the world that also brings in a great income.
However, starting a new business is not as straightforward as it might be, and there are many pitfalls that, if not avoided, will set the new entrepreneur up for a bumpy journey. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of people who will take advantage of inexperienced business people and sell them advice that is next to worthless. Business owners need information and guidance, but they also need to be very skeptical about whose guidance they take. To that end we’re going to get you started with 10 of the best online resources for small businesses and startups.
Inc. is one of the foremost publications offering advice for small businesses. They cover a range of topics from getting started, finance, leadership, and marketing: all with clear, jargon-free language that won’t have you reaching for the dictionary.
The NFIB is an organization that advocates on behalf of small business owners. Its website has a very useful member directory and community groups where business owners can compare notes (requires registration). There are also plenty of articles dealing with a range of issues that are likely to arise for small business owners.
As the name suggests, Small Business Trends has its fingers on the pulse of the US small business market. Keeping up with the current state of the market is essential for new businesses especially, who have to be prepared to be flexible and go where demand leads them.
Google for Entrepreneurs is a global initiative that brings all of Google’s entrepreneur programs into one site. It provides advice and guidance about Google’s Apps product, as well as its other business offerings. Of more interest though are the Google for Entrepreneurs Days that Google host in various cities around the world, the Startup America Partnership, and their regular Startup Weekend events.
The Free Management Library is a serious and seriously useful repository for a huge amount of essential business knowledge, including tax, corporate structure, marketing, leadership and management, and employment.
Every business needs a business plan. Whatever awesome ideas you might have, they need to be costed, worked through, and carefully considered, especially if you’re looking to borrow. Bplans is the best place to go for advice about creating a realistic and sustainable business plan.
SCORE helps small businesses grow by offering volunteer mentors and counseling for small business owners. They have hundreds of chapters all across the US, and hold regular workshops and events.
Entrepreneur is a great online magazine covering many aspects of running a business. Their Daily Dose blog is a great source of tips and advice.
In spite of the alarming name, Small Business Bonfire is more about stoking the flames of your success than reducing it to ashes. It is a “social, educational and collaborative community for small business owners” with a very insightful blog.
Billed as the best place for “tips and resources for the money-conscious small business owner”, The Frugal Entrepreneur has abundant advice on topics from handling social media to business background checks, and just about anything else a nascent business owner might need to know.
Feel free to let us know about the resources that have helped you in your journey to success in the comments below.