There is a lot of learning that goes into opening your own business. Here are some of the best resources that you can use to help improve your education.
Resource Nation is one of the most immediately and practically useful sites for any startup. The site pairs business owners with the vendors that can provide them with the supplies they need.
You search for what you’re looking for and choose the vendor that will offer the best prices. This saves you hours of time spent calling around, researching on different websites to figure out prices, finding the vendor closest to you, etc. Think of it as the Angie’s List for professionals.
Like Resource Nation, Business.com offers a vendor matching service for new business owners who need helping getting their hands on the supplies they need. Beyond this, though, Business.com provides startups with guides and articles to help them figure out how to do various aspects of building,
advertising, and making their companies profitable.
There is a plethora of information here, all geared toward those, like you, who are just starting out and
figuring out what works.
Vista Print is a great resource for marketing materials when you are just starting your own business and your funds are low. You can get business cards, fliers, stationery, calendars, etc., printed up for a fraction of what it would cost you to have things printed locally. It’s a great way to keep yourself covered while you build up funds.
Depending on what you are offering and how you are offering it, you might also be well served with drop shippers like CafePress or Zazzle.
CopyBlogger is a fantastic website devoted to helping people better promote their businesses online.
This is especially helpful for people who are starting an internet-based business. There are tons of articles here on email marketing, social networking, etc.
US Small Business Administration
The US Small Business Administration is a must bookmark for every entrepreneur and startup business owners. It helps you with all of the practical parts of running your own business, from tax help to making sure your business is filed correctly to figuring out which accounting software is best. It’s also a great place to find local experts who can give you in-person help with all of those same things.
Photo Credit: Enrique Freire
PayPal is the world’s leading payment facilitator online. You probably already have a personal account set up. Make sure you set one up for your business as well. Yes, even if you are planning on doing your payment processing through another merchant service. Your profits will grow exponentially if you accept PayPal as well as the traditional credit card and ACH payments.
PayPal also now has integration features that will allow you to create invoices in Excel and then send them through the PayPal system.
Inc.com is a fantastic resource for people who want to start their own business. It’s got up-to-date news from the business world as well as generally helpful articles on everything business-related. You can find reviews of vendors (online and off), profiles of successful entrepreneurs, and advice on pretty much whatever. (Its main competitor: Entreprenur.com, which is another must visit).
These are just the beginning. There are all sorts of other web-based resources out there just waiting for small business owners like yourself to take advantage of them.
As you work at and grow your company, you’ll figure out which sites are best suited to your needs. In the meantime, though—use these links to help you get started on both the education and the practical parts of business building.
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