Entrepreneurship is not an easy career path; its many twists and turns can make for an intimidating journey. Fortunately, useful information and helpful guidance about entrepreneurship abounds: in books, journals, magazines, and perhaps most of all, the internet.
Online resources offer a wealth of information and support for entrepreneurs. From blogs to magazines to online courses to financial resources to government support, it's all out there. You just need to know where to look. This online resource guide for entrepreneurs can point you in the right direction.
Whether you're putting the final touches on your business plan, conducting market research, or seeking candidates to join you in your new venture, online resources are available to budding and experienced entrepreneurs. Here are some of our favorites.
Print and digital subscriptions to Entrepreneur Magazine provide access to a world of emerging trends and strategies to drive business success. The publishers even offer a title specifically for aspiring or new business owners, called Entrepreneur Startups Magazine, which highlights steps to create your business plan, start your new venture, and maintain a competitive advantage.
Content ranges from digestible research guides on the latest topics and trends in the field to long-form thought leadership pieces targeted to more-experienced business owners. In addition to the magazine, Entrepreneur offers access to webinars, events, a bookstore, and a vast video library with tips and advice from experts.
Fast Company focuses on technology, leadership, and innovative ideas with global appeal. This media brand targets progressive business leaders who don't stick to traditional ideologies when doing business. It highlights cutting-edge, new business practices shaping and reinventing the industry's future. Topics include work-life balance, what Gen Z expects from the workplace, the emergence of a hybrid workplace, and the new world of brand transparency. The magazine's website also offers video content and podcasts.
The US government's System for Award Management (SAM.gov) website allows contractors or organizations to register to do business with the government. This registration process qualifies these entities to apply for financial assistance through federal grants or loans and to bid on government contracts. In addition, SAM.gov is a no-cost platform that enables users to update, renew, or check their registration status, list contract opportunities, view contract data, and more. Operations that typically use this resource include for-profit businesses, nonprofits, contractors, and local municipalities.
If regularly conducting market research or SWOT analysis (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) isn't part of your strategic business plan, it's time to reconsider. Google Analytics provides a free, highly beneficial tool for entrepreneurs to analyze website stats that:
Google Analytics is a simple feature to add to the backend of your company website—and a critical factor in meeting the needs of your current market while expanding your reach into new markets.
Inc. magazine is more than just a print or digital publication. This platform also offers an app, a webinar library, a weekly podcast, and town halls. Inc. also shines a light on diversity, equity, and inclusion in entrepreneurship by highlighting female founders; it includes a series called All the Hats that connects, inspires, and empowers women of color.
Another unique feature of this website is the Inc. 5000 series, an annual listing of fast-growth businesses recounting personal stories about the entrepreneurial journey. If you're just getting started in the idea phase, Inc. magazine is an excellent resource for inspiration.
The IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center is a resource for small businesses with assets under $10 million. Information for contractors or self-employed taxpayers who file specific forms such as 1040, 1040-SR, Form 2106, or Schedules C, E, or F, is also included in the portal.
The site offers guidance on filing and paying business taxes, claiming business tax credits, and deducting applicable expenses. In addition to general tax information, the site is full of entrepreneurship resources, including online tools, training materials, small business workshops, webinars, and events.
To build your team, you'll need to hire the right people. That's where LinkedIn comes in. LinkedIn is a social network for professionals, whether employers or job seekers. Businesses or job recruiters use this platform to post available careers, internships, and fellowships. Job seekers can create professional profiles that showcase their work experience and skills for those career opportunities—think online resume board. Individuals can also use this platform to connect with peers, prospective mentors, or even future employers.
In short, LinkedIn is essentially a job fair or networking event that you can access in real time on any device. This platform is a great starting point for entrepreneurs in the hiring phase of their business. LinkedIn is a helpful tool for finding the right team as you're looking to fill full-time, part-time, contractor, or independent roles.
The government-run U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) hosts a website that provides vital information for small business owners seeking advice on planning, launching, managing, and growing their companies. The SBA is an entrepreneurial resource center that includes free business counseling from experts, financial assistance through lenders or business loans, and instructions on finding and winning business government contracts.
In addition, the SBA was a significant factor in providing guidance and assistance to small businesses in applying for COVID-19 relief programs throughout the pandemic, such as:
A part of Emergent Research, Small Business Labs functions as a blog that curates and highlights trends impacting the future of work, small business, and the gig (e.g., contractors, independent workers) economy. The Small Business Labs website also serves as a hub for external content, providing links to Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and additional business blogs discussing relevant industry topics beneficial to entrepreneurs.
If you're a budding entrepreneur who needs some guidance or mentorship, SCORE.org is the place to make that happen. SCORE provides a network of free volunteer mentors to assist entrepreneurs during any stage of their business. In addition to mentorship, this platform offers free weekly live webinars on small business strategies and courses on-demand to explore at your convenience.
Are you already a successful entrepreneur or have valuable insight about your journey? There are also opportunities to sign up to become a mentor.
Launched in 2002, StartupNation provides business resources for creating, growing, and managing successful startups. The site prides itself on offering content crafted by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, delivering real-world insights from thought leaders and subject matter experts. StartupNation also encourages peer-to-peer interaction through online community forums, connecting business professionals of all experience levels. Whether you're seeking advice about your business idea, inquiring about how to secure funding through venture capitalists or startup incubators, or questioning your business model, one of StartupNation's key initiatives is to inspire personal growth through those connections.
If you consider yourself a "techy," this online media company may be your go-to. With new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and cryptocurrency on the rise, TechCrunch provides information on the latest developments around business, technology, and venture capital for high tech and startup companies. Its offerings include a weekly newsletter, podcasts, events, and a video library featuring live and on-demand content from industry experts.
Comprised of business leaders ranging from the local level to global corporations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business organization. The U.S. Chamber functions as a bridge between business owners and government by advocating for laws and policies that spur economic growth, development, and job creation. Of course, the responsibilities of an entrepreneur are ever-changing in a tough economy. Still, the partnership between the U.S. Chamber and business owners helps create the entrepreneurial ecosystem needed to strike a balance between both entities.
Although there is ample information on the internet, aspiring entrepreneurs may benefit more from hands-on learning through online instruction. There are strengths to online degree programs, such as the coveted MBA. For some, however, an MBA may be overkill; others may find much of what it teaches extraneous to the specifics of startup culture.
Certificate programs and individual courses provide more targeted instruction and are more economical and quicker to complete than degree programs. Sample courses with an entrepreneurial focus include:
There are online resources through blogs, podcasts, webinars, workshops, and more, no matter what stage you're at in your entrepreneurial journey. However, it may become overwhelming to sift through all that information and make it apply to you. That's where certificate programs or individual courses that cater to your specific business needs could be more beneficial and applicable. Think of them as one more online resource, one that can be targeted to the specific needs of your burgeoning enterprise.
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