Do you want to start a business or are you already running your own enterprise? Maybe you just have a great business idea. Somewhere along the way, chances are you’ll need guidance. We’ll help you cut through the clutter to find resources that can help aspiring entrepreneurs or established business owners.
Get real world experience straight from the horse’s mouth! If you want to explore the good, the bad and the ugly from business owners in the trenches, seek them out!
One way to get advice and insight is to simply reach out to other entrepreneurs. Established business owners can share information about everything from required city permits to community demographics. Other than knocking on doors, there are easy ways to connect with others.
Check out how to get your network going on the SmartBiz Small Business Blog here: Build Your Small Business Network.
Another solid way to connect is to attend conferences that cater to small business owners and others in your industry.
We have a comprehensive list of conferences tailored for the entrepreneur here: Best Conferences for Small Business Owners to Attend.
Explore Business Books
Harry Truman once declared: “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”
It’s true! Research any high-profile entrepreneur like Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey or Bill Gates and you’ll learn that reading is one of the secrets to their success. Busy business owners may not have a lot of bandwidth to read but many business books are worth blocking out some time on the calendar.
Visit the SmartBiz Small Business Blog for a list of the ten best books for entrepreneurs to tackle.
The SmartBiz executive team has shared their favorite business books here: Favorite Books from the SmartBiz Executive Team.
Download a Podcast
Have a WiFi connection and earphones? You can get a wealth of information from top business podcasts. While books can explore a topic in detail, the right podcast can keep you up-to-date on new information entrepreneurs need to know.
The SmartBiz Small Business Blog has an article exploring the top 10 business podcasts to help you establish a business or grow an existing business. There’s plenty of inspiration out there too!
Although there’s usually a cost involved, consulting with a financial, legal or small business expert can be extremely helpful. Here are three professionals you might need when running your business.
- Lawyer: Unless you’re an attorney, you’ll probably come up against legal issues that need expert input. But you don’t need to break the bank. There are resources out there to help with legal questions or issues. SmallBusinessTrends has an excellent list of resources here: 20 Places to Get Low Cost or Free Legal Advice for Your Business.
- Accountant: It’s important to have fundamental accounting skills, like using bookkeeping software and tax requirements. However, when it comes to more complex issues, your best bet is to work with an accountant, bookkeeper or another financial professional. Make sure you work with a person who has small business experience. The SmartBiz Small Business Blog has a helpful guide if you’re looking for an accountant here: How to Hire an Accountant for Your Small Business
- Publicist: Getting news coverage can be tricky. You need to find the perfect story hook, the right publication and a friendly writer or reporter. Trying to pitch your products to the media can be a serious time sucker. The SmartBiz Small Business blog has an article to help you make a decision to do it yourself or hire a professional: Should Your Small Business Hire a PR Professional or DIY?
Are you a visual learner? An alternative to listening to podcasts or reading books for business advice is to find a great YouTube channel. Crowdspring has rounded up a list of the best here: 15 Must Watch YouTube Channels for Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners.
The Small Business Administration
The mission of this government agency is to help Americans start, build and grow businesses. The SmartBiz Loans team has put together an infographic chock full of facts about the Small Business Administration. To learn how they can help you on your business journey, visit the SBA website.
One of the best ways the SBA supports small business owners is through the SBA loan program. (The agency doesn’t provide the loans, they offer a partial guarantee) SBA loans have low rates, long terms and very low monthly payments.
Proceeds from an SBA loan can be used for a variety of business building initiatives like hiring, purchasing inventory, consolidating high interest debt, marketing and more.