We know you’re time-pressed and you need resources that will help you get answers to your questions – quickly and efficiently.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of 25 websites no small business owner should be without. These range from essential news outlets to useful, ‘how-to’ guides that will help you with specific educational content.
Check them out below.
Fast Company: This business publication focuses on creative ideas and innovation. It covers every topic that falls under the small business umbrella in a unique way. You’ll see stories ranging from social media marketing tips to a profile about a startup revolutionizing some obscure industry. It contains a slew of helpful tips and inspiring stories that will help you think of new ideas for growing your business.
Fortune: Fortune has undergone a significant overhaul this summer. There are barely any ads. The website hired a brand new staff to report on new topics ranging from small business to careers and finance.
Businessweek: Readers flock to this site for stories about all kinds of business news. Economic trends, recent mergers and acquisitions, as well as new legislation are some of the topics covered on Businessweek. There’s a section dedicated towards small businesses, but you’ll still find important information you need to know on other parts of the website too.
Huffington Post Small Business: Use Huffington Post Small Business to get your news quickly. Stories on this site are going to be short and easy to read. It is a good resource for general business news as well as topics that matter.
CNBC Small Business: CNBC is one of the most well known brands in the business news game. Their small business section is insightful, entertaining, and updated frequently. There will always be a new and helpful story posted everyday.
Note: Read websites related to your business too. There are numerous business journals out there. Some of them focus on one particular industry, while others have stories that focus on business within one area.
Resources & Guides
Entrepreneur: Entrepreneur is filled with guides that can help you grow your business. You’ll find a trove of information on topics like franchising, improving relationships with your staff, how to set the proper work schedule for your team, new ways for finding profits and more.
Lifehacker: This is a tamer section of the Gawker Media empire. The mission of Lifehacker is to improve your life. Every article is a user guide on how to improve you or find some helpful work around for a popular product. You’ll learn something new on it every day.
SCORE: SCORE can provide you with free business advice from mentors all over the country. Experienced mentors are based in several SCORE chapters from all around the country. You can choose to meet these mentors face-to-face or sign up for a free email newsletter. Small business owners can learn about multiple topics on the SCORE website. New mobile technologies, office security, and other things are some of the subject you can explore on the website.
Marketing & Advertising
Yelp: Reading Yelp reviews can be rough. It is filled with a bunch of anonymous commenters that will make brutally honest remarks about your business. However, these poisonous screeds can be useful. Use Yelp to improve your reputation. These vitriolic comments could contain some useful info on how to improve customer service or other aspects of your business. By paying attention to what people are saying online, you can instantly improve your brand.
Facebook For Business: Every brick and mortar store needs to have a social media strategy. Check out this blog to learn new ways on how to reach customers online. Facebook can become a powerful tool for finding new leads and attracting new customers.
Google And Your Business: This blog isn’t updated as frequently as Facebook’s site. It still provides valuable stories on how to market your business through the popular search engine. Websites can help your business get noticed, so use this blog to make sure they appear at the very top of the search results.
Mailchimp: Use Mailchimp to create a number of customized email newsletters you can send to customers or clients. It is free to sign up, but pricing will vary. Your monthly fee will be different based on how many inboxes you want to reach with the latest news about your store.
Patch.com Event Calendar: The calendar sections of the various Patch.com sites can become effective marketing tools. Members of your community visit these websites frequently. This particular section contains information about upcoming events, as well as gives you the ability to post your own. Use this as a way to promote yourself and possibly meet new customers.
Shake: Shake is a new service that focuses on the legal aspects of running a small business. You can use its mobile app to create legal and binding contracts that your employee can sign within a matter of minutes. Also, Shake’s blog is dedicated towards helping you understand the important terms associated with these contracts.
Small Business Administration: The SBA is a branch of the government designed to help small business owners and entrepreneurs. Use the website for help in obtaining loans, retaining employees and other important information.
Better Business Bureau: Use this site to stay informed on the best ethical practices you need to know when running a small business.
Finance & Accounting
Accounting Terminology Guide: Managing your money isn’t easy. You need to know what a variety of terms mean when looking at your books. The New York State Society of CPA’s created a guide for making this arduous process easier. Study it. You’ll know the difference between Accrual Basis and an Acid Test Ratio in no time.
QuickBooks: Tax season will scare most small business owners. It can seem like a daunting task recording all of the expenses and payments that you made during the year. Fortunately, QuickBooks can help. It is one of the best accounting software programs on the market. You can use it to track expenses and sales, scan receipts, and send invoices and plenty of other things. When that mid-April deadline rolls around, it can put you in touch with an accountant to help you put all these records together.
Mint: Mint is a free web service and app that lets you quickly categorize and organize all your spending. The program condenses all this data into thorough reports that you can view from any device. Essentially, it will help you keep a watchful eye on your finances.
Paypal: Paypal prepares you for any types of payments. Using this service means customers can pay for products in-store, online, and with their phones. Plus, Paypal can become a valuable delivery system for paying your employees. Bookmark Paypal since it can aid you in completing multiple transactions on time.
Evernote: Try out Evernote for business to keep your team organized. All it costs is 10$ a month. This package will give you 2GB of storage for your business. One of Evernote’s coolest features is that it lets you create a series of collaborative documents. Share it with your staff. Anyone can make edits to it. It can become a hub of reminders that ensures everyone completes certain tasks under tight deadlines.
Dropbox: Dropbox for business works in a similar manner to Evernote. You can create and share a document that your entire team can edit and make marks on. However, there is an additional layer of security that protects this program. You can protect these documents by forcing people to enter a secure password when they want to open it.
Passpack: You’re going to be busy as a small business owner. It is going to be a natural occurrence if you happen to forget a password. It can be scary when you get locked out of accounts too. Download Passpack. It is a password manager that lets you form strong and extensive passwords for every single important account. Passpack will protect you from pesky employees looking to mess around on your computer too.
LastPass: Another helpful site that can protect you from hacking and other electronic interference. LastPass creates a password that you can apply to every important account you have. You can instantly login to anything. You can alter your preferences through a dashboard online. This is guaranteed to keep your inbox and other important information locked up tight.
LogMeIn: Another helpful security tool a small business owner should have. LogMeIn lets you access computers from whatever location you are in. You can control numerous computers from one online dashboard. Here are some of the tasks you can do: limit the amount of people who can log in to a computer, schedule routine maintenance checks, and read reports on device and session usage.
This list is really just a primer – there are so many useful resources out there if you know where to look. (Not the least of which is our very own Small Business 101).
Let us know in the comments which websites you rely on to help you run a better small business.