From raising capital and financing your business to marketing and business-scaling advice, these sites represent best bets for the entrepreneur looking for information about how to grow and scale.
This is an exciting time for the entrepreneurs of the world. With the rapid growth of alternative finance, startups now have access to the funds they need to get small businesses off the ground. Crowdfunding, peer-to-peer, and peer-to-business lending have helped innumerable companies get a leg up in a highly competitive environment. But the reality is that many startups fail early on in the process. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reports that, “About three-quarters of venture-backed firms in the U.S. don’t return investors’ capital…”
As a new business owner who wants to avoid this failure, it is crucial to have awareness of the resources available to you. There are millions of websites that offer advice to help small businesses just getting started, but quantity and quality are distinctly separate entities. Here, we offer a look at 10 websites that provide useful information on a range of topics to get you through any stage of the process. With the sheer volume of sites out there, this list is by no means comprehensive, but these sites have large followings and have garnered positive attention in the startup world.
TEN WONDERFUL WEBSITES FOR ENTREPRENEURS (in no particular order):
1. Huffington Post Small Business America – This site is all things small business. It features blogs, news articles, and community conversations about the state of small business in the U.S. From advice on navigating in-house relationships in your new startup, to insights on government regulation of small business, this site is a cache of useful information for any startup.
2. SCORE – Aptly named, as entrepreneurs can definitely score big using this nonprofit organization’s many resources. The site offers advice at all stages, from the initial phase of building, to expansion plans for established small businesses. In addition to the newsletters and focused articles, they provide mentoring and workshop models to take your business to the next level. Last year, SCORE volunteers helped over 35,000 businesses get started, and mentored over 120,000 small business owners.
3. For Entrepreneurs – A blog written by David Skok, a venture capitalist and partner at MatrixPartners, a private equity investment firm based in Massachusetts. Skok’s blog has been recognized by Forbes as a top site for entrepreneurs. It focuses on the many issues faced by startups, as well as how to find funding and build a small business. Skok gives much attention to sales and marketing, and his advice is not just anecdotal, but backed with hard data.
4. Startup Lawyer – Ryan Roberts is a partner at Roberts Foster LLP who represents technology companies in all phases of the startup process. In addition to his J.D., Roberts holds degrees in Economics and Political Science, making him an expert in a variety of fields. His blog educates entrepreneurs on legal aspects of all phases of the startup process, including financing, incorporation, and exit transactions.
5. Startup-marketing.com – This site offers a one-stop-shop for entrepreneurs seeking advice on all things startup. Wondering how to price your product? Look no further. Need some advice on the right marketing approach for your business? Got it. From branding to bookkeeping, this site provides a comprehensive overview of all things startup.
6. AngelList – AngelList connects entrepreneurs with angel and venture investors, while at the same time offering these investors solid opportunities that have been thoroughly checked over by the AngelList team to ensure an investment with low risk. Startups create a profile to share with investors. Administrators review the profiles, sending the best ones on to potential investors. They also offer feedback to improve the profiles to make them more attractive to investors.
7. Business Owner’s Toolkit – A comprehensive site for small businesses, with topics of interest in all areas of business. Informative articles discuss a variety of issues, from going green to filing your taxes. This toolkit comes from business incorporation site Bizfilings.com, and also offers a podcast that, like the site, offers advice on a wide range of topics from experts in the field.
8. A Smart Bear – Author Jason Cohen’s small business blog provides an abundance of information for startups, with a heavy focus on marketing strategies. Cohen is the founder and owner of SmartBear, a software company out of Austin, Texas. His expertise is hard to doubt, as he started the company on his own, with no debt or VC, made it profitable, and sold it for cash a few years later. His marketing advice is straight-forward and easy-to-read, with useful tips that you can implement right away in your own business.
9. Mashable – We love Mashable for so many reasons. Though the site is not specific to business, offering social media, entertainment, and news pages, it does have a business section with links devoted to small business and startups. The site provides timely articles on a host of topics, from how to fund your business to the most effective marketing plans. Mix that with their eye-catching and informative infographics, and you’ve got a wealth of knowledge presented in a variety of ways. And if you get bored of researching for your new business, you can always jump over to the entertainment page and catch up on some Game of Thrones trivia.
10. Inc.com – Inc. magazine got its start in 1979, long before the tech revolution. But this small business resource has managed to stay current and is still one of the most inclusive sources of information for entrepreneurs. When they started Inc.com in 1996, the company expanded their print publication to the Internet, bringing their informative content into the digital age. Their “Inc 500” is an annual list of the fastest-growing privately-owned companies in the U.S. Any entrepreneur would love to see her (or his) name on that list, and Inc.com offers the advice you need to help get you there.
With the veritable treasure trove of resources just a click away, there has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur starting a business. Access to planning at every stage of your startup can be found through simple web searches. Sites provide ways to connect with experts in all areas, from finding the capital you need to dealing with diverse personalities in the office. If you are an entrepreneur with a solid idea, today is the day to make your vision a reality.