Are you feeling trapped by a hum-drum job that leaves you unsatisfied and short of cash at the end of each month? Do you love solving problems, being creative, and being a hard-working, dedicated self starter who’s not afraid to get their hands dirty?
If that sounds like you, then it’s likely that starting a new business might be just the thing to inspire you to greater heights and ultimately put you in control of your own destiny. But starting a new business is not all that easy, and often comes with substantial financial risks that can leave you penniless, or even in debt.
Luckily, there is plenty of great advice out there to help guide you through those all important first steps. By empowering yourself with the insights, creativity and knowledge provided by our top 5 list of sites for entrepreneurs, you’ll be able to:
- Reduce the amount of time it takes to find and validate a fantastic idea
- Research and build a top class business plan
- Build a cutting edge, responsive website
- Promote and market your business like a pro
- Know which software, tools & services are available to increase productivity and cut costs
- Understand tax, financial, legal and industry rules and regulations
- Work efficiently with your money
Each of the sites listed here has a focus on at least one, sometimes more, of the above listed points. It’s important to remember that almost no single website will give you all the answers you need in one place. I suggest spending some time browsing through all of them to build up your own broad and deep understanding of the challenges that lie ahead.
Bplans offers an incredible range of business plan templates, advice about how to research and create plans, and insights into finding funding, selling, and pitching during the startup phase.
Have it bookmarked from the time you have an idea, until the time the business is established and out of the startup phase.
Along with their vast selection of free downloadable plans and templates for virtually any type of business imaginable, they also have a decent blog and lots of in-depth, useful guides on a range of startup related topics. In particular, you’ll find the following guides of great use:
ThePennyHoarder, unlike the other sites in this list, is not really focused on business per se, rather on personal finance. But, what they do bring to the table is a huge variety of creative money hacks and advice for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Ideas to stretch or save a dollar that you wouldn’t think of in a million years are part of their daily routine, which is super useful if you’re having to bootstrap a startup without funding or loans to keep things afloat.
In addition to plenty of information focused on working from home, they also have lots of budgeting tips and even coupons available to help save money when it counts the most.
Here’s where I recommend you start:
The SBA (Small Business Administration) is a U.S. government run resource aimed at helping small business owners and entrepreneurs navigate the complex world of tax, finance, grants, loans, contracts, commerce, government rules, and business legislation. Basically anything you might need to know about your business and industry’s regulatory environment.
Use this site as a companion from start to finish. It’s not only useful for learning about complex rules and regulations, it can also help you find tax breaks and incentives, make connections with other entrepreneurs and business people, and make full use of the local, state and federal resources available to you.
For my money, the most useful aspects of this site are the following:
Entrepreneur is arguably the world’s leading online resource for entrepreneurs because, in addition to all the standard guides and advice you would expect from a leading business resources, they also offer something more… real-world insight. Their reach and reputation is such that they can get the inside scoop on news, developments, leaders, influencers, and trends that allow them to get valuable business related insight into your hands earlier than other sites.
If staying on trend is vital to the survival of your business, then Entrepreneur is the site to bookmark right away.
Entrepreneur’s site is also so massive that it likely covers every bit of information you could possibly need. The downside is that because much of their content is contributed by third parties, it isn’t always easily discovered or presented in a uniform manner. With that said, there are a few stand out pages that you definitely need to check out:
So those are my top 5 sites that will help you realize your dreams of leaving the rat race and taking control of your own destiny by building the business of your dreams. Of course, these sites aren’t the only game in town. What resources do you find useful? Share your suggestions in the comments.
photo credit: Pinterest
Featured photo credit: Christian Dembowski via flickr.com