Starting a small business is no easy task, and managing one can be stressful. Keeping track of legal and financial regulations while also building a reputation and marketing your services/products can be exhausting and frustrating.
If you’re like me, you wear many hats and have had to learn how to navigate processes you never thought you would need to know. In business school, I developed a strong foundation, but managing my own business has led me to fully experience the process from many different perspectives. Thank goodness for the Internet! With networks and organizations dedicated to small businesses and their success, it is much easier to navigate the realms of administration, marketing, finance, and more.
There are many resources available, so this list is by no means exhaustive. Here are just a few to get you started:
U.S. Small Business Administration: Whether you’re just starting a new business or have been established for years, the SBA is great resource to find legal, loan, and contract information. Local chapters offer events and workshops for additional assistance.
US Chamber of Commerce: Small Business Nation is a project of the US Chamber of Commerce. From legal documents to financial advice, this site provides small business owners with a plethora of tools to succeed. Additionally, your local Chamber of Commerce is a good way to connect with business leaders in your own community for advice and mentoring.
National Association of Women Business Owners: NAWBO is network for women owned businesses. Events and seminars are designed to engage members in conversation as well as develop relationships with like-minded leaders in the community. Local chapters enable networking and the sharing of ideas and experiences.
LinkedIn: If you’re not already a part of this professional networking site, sign up today! This platform helps you stay connected with former and current colleagues as well as offers access to interest groups, where discussions are both timely and informational. LinkedIn Pulse offers users a way to tailor news that is most relevant to their own interests. If you don’t have a lot a time to read, Pulse is one-stop way to stay up-to-date.
Canva: Do you struggle with finding images to match your brand and vision? Canva is an online graphic design that eases the process of creating social media images as well as marketing materials and company letterhead. While many free images are available, paid images are only $1. Canva is an affordable way to do some of your own visual branding.
MailChimp: For businesses just starting out with email marketing and e-newsletters, MailChimp provides free plans for companies with a small number of subscribers. Easy to use, the platform generates tracking reports and presents your customers with a professional, visually appealing email.
While there are too many blogs to list, here are a few that I read on a regular basis.
James Altucher: Altucher is an entrepreneur and prolific writer. If anything, his blog posts offer great insight into entrepreneurship and often comic relief from the daily challenges of managing your own business.
Entrepreneur: Also a print magazine, Entrepreneur’s blog and website is a great place to go for inspiration and to see the latest trends in business, social media, marketing, and more.
Inc.: Also a print magazine, Inc. is geared towards helping businesses grow. Read about and learn from other business owners and find resources to help you build a competitive organization.
Meltwater: A communications company, the Meltwater blog provides information about tracking results from marketing/PR campaigns as well as tips for successful branding.
Seth Godin: If you need marketing help of inspiration, look no further! Engaging and entertaining, Godin has also written several books if you can’t get enough.
The Arpan Group: I would be remiss if I left our own blog off this list! We write about our experiences as well as about the strategies that worked (and those that didn’t), so check in regularly or sign up for our newsletter to keep up-to-date with more tips and resources.
Update: One of our youngest readers suggested a website for teaching kids about business: www.bfscapital.com/teaching-kids-business. It’s never too early to help children learn the ins and outs about finance, and this is a great resource to start. Special thanks for the suggestion!