Starting a business isn’t easy, which is why it’s important to educate yourself before diving into the world of entrepreneurship. And it appears that more and more of us are making the plunge from the 9-5 to going into business for ourselves.
Small business owners need to execute a variety of tasks, from project management to accounting. Whether you’re unsure of where to begin, are looking for information to help you scale and grow your business with advertising, or want access to online tools to help you more efficiently manage your business, there are plenty of resources out there for businesses of all kinds. But not all of them are created equal. We’ve broken them down by category, so you can get right to what you need.
Online tools will be your new best friend
One of the most popular types of websites for small business owners are for tools. These are things such as accounting software, website building, etc. These websites are useful at filling the practical aspects of starting and running a business. While many require a paid subscription in order to access full features, there are often free options that let you try the product before you buy, or offer basic functionality. Many of these tools have information centers that describe not only how to use the product, but also how to tackle certain areas of business ownership
According to Google’s Year in Search last year, more people searched for “how to start a business” than “how to find a job.” During the Covid-19 pandemic, business applications in the U.S. surged. While new business formation numbers appear to be leveling off recently, numbers overall remain consistently higher than in the years before, according to Census Bureau data.
The internet can be your biggest teacher
Another common type of website for small business owners is the informational website, usually best thought of as an educational resource. These websites are vast repositories of information about nearly any aspect of starting and running a small business. That said, they frequently center around one particular topic, although generalist websites are also common. A lot of these websites are 100% free, making them appealing to those working with a limited budget. Because of this, however, they can sometimes be difficult to navigate. The same goes for websites with a deep well of content – it can be easy to get distracted or become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information. Take things one step at a time, and stay focused on whatever it is you’re working on in order to be successful.
Invest in building your community
Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely road, especially if you’re going down the solopreneur path. Having access to a community of other small business owners can provide you with the opportunity to discuss challenges and successes with those who get it. It also provides business connections that you might not otherwise have. This type of community can be a source of support, inspiration, and practical business connections that is invaluable for small business owners.
With the above information in mind, if you’re one of those people who has a business idea they want to run with, and are looking for the best websites to glean insights from to start your business, check out our list below.
Canva – Best For Designing Professional Graphics And Images
Canva is a free website that lets you create visually engaging social media posts, presentations, posters, videos, logos, and more. There are thousands of professional templates, images, and other content to choose from – ideal for a budding business with a tight marketing budget. There’s even a free version which is great for those just starting their business. The learning section offers a lot of actionable advice on personal branding, social media mastery, and graphic design mastery.
Social Champ is a comprehensive social media management tool that allows small business owners to schedule and publish posts on multiple platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google My Business.
With advanced features such as bulk scheduling, auto-posting, and RSS feed automation, Social Champ can help small business owners save time and increase their social media presence.
Bplans – Best For Those Just Starting Out
Bplans has plenty of sample business plans, including templates, to help you get started in business.
Squarespace – Best For Building And Hosting A Website
Squarespace offers an all-in-one solution for those wanting to create a customizable website or online store.
Shopify – Best For eCommerce Businesses
Shopify lets small business owners quickly and easily set up an eCommerce business.
HubSpot – Best For Customer Relationship Management
HubSpot offers a sales, marketing, and service hub all in one spot so you can keep track of important customer information and interactions.
QuickBooks – Best For Accounting And Financial Knowledge
If you’re looking for a website to track income and expenses, accept credit cards and ACH, and learn about growing your business, Quickbooks is it. They offer plans for business of all sizes, for those who are starting out and plan to DIY, to those who need the most comprehensive tools. You can even access a live bookkeeper (for a fee) to help set your books straight at any time. In addition, there’s a resource section and tutorials to help you get the most out of the software, as well as launch and grow your business.
Entrepreneur – Best For Deep Business Knowledge
Entrepreneur has been writing about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur for more than 30 years. While the magazine itself focuses on inspiring entrepreneurs, the website offers a great deal of articles and practical information for setting up a business and making it prosper.
LinkedIn – Best For Business Networking
You may have used LinkedIn in your corporate work life, but it’s also a great tool for when you’re looking to start your own business. Aside from networking with those in your industry, LinkedIn offers a comprehensive learning platform through its LinkedIn Learning section. There are courses on every aspect of business from creating a content strategy, to SEO foundations, and WordPress essentials.
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