23 Amazing Resources For Entrepreneurs

I made a lot of mistakes when I first started building businesses. The good news is that whether you are launching a new company or bringing your business up to speed, there are tons of great resources to help you get to where you want to be…without screwing up more than you have to.  Here are 23 of my favorites, broken down by category:

YOUR BEGINNING

Everyone makes mistakes at the beginning, but there are some that you can easily avoid. If you set up things right at the start, you are much more likely to reduce errors in the future.

1. Before you begin marketing your product or service, pinpoint your audience. Quantcast is a good tool to determine exactly who your audience is. One of the most critical errors both new and seasoned business owners make is assuming that everyone should and will be interested, because, duh!  “It” is awesome… What you are selling is not nearly as important as making sure that the people who are interested actually know that you are selling it.

2. Set your business up legally. Do it right the first time.  Start your business easily, cheaply, and correctly using LegalZoom.  Learn what type of business model best fit your products and goals.   Have the legal safeguards in place before there is a legal problem…

3. Also, check here to determine what, precisely, those legal problems – which arise with any successful venture – might be.

4. Make an accounting plan.  This website helps you understand the basics of accounting and bookkeeping so that when you do make money, you don’t lose it.

5. Read up about others’ mistakes.  Quicksprout is a completely honest and unpretentious blog written by an expert in internet marketing; the author Neil Patel is completely straightforward about the mistakes he’s made on the way to success.  Neil is also a cool enough guy to share them so that you don’t necessarily have to make the same mistakes.

YOUR WEB PRESENCE

Having an internet presence is more important than ever before. Internet marketing gurus are popping up faster than Starbucks stores. But you don’t have to pay hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars to learn the basics of building a web presence. Here are a few tools that can help

6. Etreps is an online marketing service that can help you customize your business profile on the internet.  If you know what you want and/or need, they can help you build it effectively; if you have no idea where to start, they can tell you what you need.   They offer a free tutorial.

You may already know that you want to begin with a freshly designed website. There are many designers out there, but FreshLeaf Media is one of the best in breed.

7. Blog. I know you are already tired of the word. But it can’t hurt to run a blog for many reasons: Regularly update your customers, run promotions and specials and get meaningful feedback from the people who use your product or service. And if you want to get really serious, many people make an attractive living off of the blog itself.

8. Analytics are just as important as having web presence; simply being online will do you no good unless you are sure that your business is reaching your target audience. Kissmetrics is an analytic company that will monitor how much traffic your sites are receiving and how effective your content and ads are at translating into profit.

9. Market Samurai is a powerful tool that can help you with search engine optimization. It takes a little time to learn the basics, but free traffic from Google is a gold mine so it’s well worth it if you put in the effort.

10. An effective email campaign can sometimes reach the customers who are not necessarily looking for you.  AWeber is the most popular company using email as a marketing tool…

But for a more personal and scalable approach to email advertising, use Constant Contact.

11. Oh Facebook… How did we ever promote things without you?  Get the “like” button on your website as soon as possible. It’s also not a bad idea to look into setting up a Facebook page for your company, or even investing in Facebook advertising if you have a high-margin product.

YOUR PEOPLE

Employers and employees alike understand that part of their job is learning to communicate and deal with other people’s different and often conflicting personalities.  What is not always so understandable, however, is how exactly you are supposed to do that when there are legitimate personality conflicts. If it is your job to hire the people with whom you may spend more time than even your own family, acquiring the skills to effectively communicate and get along with your employees is crucial:

12. I’m usually not into personality tests, but Myers-Briggs is a worthy exception. For some people who don’t know what drives them, tests like this can be life changing. For others, it can just help them learn how to understand and get along with people not quite like them.

13. Another good concept to understand is your EQ, or emotional quotient. A play on IQ, EQ is based on the idea that understanding the viewpoints and values of others can streaming the process of working together. This can translate not only into a more pleasant work environment, but also results in smoother operations which means higher efficiency and fewer dollars wasted.

14. These concepts are especially important when hiring. Take some time to read about common hiring mistakes so you can have a good shot at hiring the best candidate.

15. You may not be ready to hire full time or long term employees, and Odesk can help you “try” employees out. Odesk is a forum for employers to find freelance workers with whom they can then contract to do certain aspects of work.  So if you really are not a good writer, hire a writer to write the content for your website. If you have data entry tasks, find someone to doyou’re your time is better spent elsewhere. Trying to be a jack of all trades makes you disorganized,  and being disorganized costs you money…

Which brings us to…

YOUR MONEY

In the end, it all boils down to cash flow. There is a fine line to walk between saving money and not making money because you didn’t spend enough to make things happen. Here are some tools to help you cut costs without killing your revenue streams.

16. Once you have several employees, payroll can get complicated.  ADP provides simple solutions for a remarkably affordable price.

17. Getting proposals put together is one of the most crucial parts of your business and arguably the biggest decision maker as to whether potential clients drop the potential or not. Proposable can help your streamline the process while remaining entirely professional.

18. Once you have secured your clients, you want to make sure they are actually paying you.  Fresh Books helps you easily send out invoices and keep track of them.

19. Another great resource is Bill Shrink which shows you, in detail, where you are best suited to cut costs.

20. Google Voice is one of my favorite Google inventions. This program will assign you a phone number, which you can then give out to your clients. It links up with your existing phone number, making it possible for you to split your personal phone, sending your voice messages in an email or text message.  This is helpful when you are just starting out and may not want a separate phone.

And last but not least…

FREE ENTERTAINMENT

Cash is scarce when you’re trying to grow a business, but we all deserve to enjoy life as well. Here are some free tools you can use to recharge when you’re taking a break.

21. Pandora is free online radio that lets you make your own stations, choose your favorite genres of music and just enjoy yourself.  Pandora makes me happy when I sit down to do something I don’t necessarily want to…

22. Groove Shark is similar, but allows you to pick what you’re listening to.  I personally like Pandora better, but it’s never a bad idea to have multiple music playing options.

23. Movie Clips “A site for movie fans made by movie fans.” Don’t have time for a full movie break?  Well just unwind for a minute with a clip of one then.  These are legitimate, legal posted segments of all the movies in all the land.  Well not quite, but thousands of them anyway.  So enjoy yourself, laugh for a minute and use them without fear of the justice department coming after you for piracy.

Are there any resources you’ve found amazingly helpful? Please share in the comments

One Response to “23 Amazing Resources For Entrepreneurs”

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