Technology now gives your small business access to a world economy and new markets far beyond your doorstep. Unfortunately, the same holds true for your competitors, who want nothing more than to steal your customers, and will use every resource available to do so. Given the large number of small businesses that will be out of business before their fifth anniversary, you want to arm your business with every advantage you can -- right from the start. While there are many helpful resources out there for small businesses, the internet offers some of the best. Here are my pick of the eight best website resources to grow your small business.
- Founded in 2003, Small Business Trends is an award-winning online publication for small business owners, entrepreneurs and the people who interact with them. It is one of the most popular independent small business publications on the web.
- You're The Boss Blog, New York Times offers an insider's perspective on small business ownership. It gives business owners a place where they can compare notes, ask questions, get advice and learn from one another's mistakes. By the way, I write for this publication as a regular contributor on social media and small business, but I read this blog long before I started writing for it.
- Huffington Post Small Business America includes blogs, news, and community conversations about small business in America. A great example of the quality content on this site is the article by Faisal Hoque, "Growing a Small Business With 5 Essential Principles"
- Business on Main is an online destination for small-business leaders and entrepreneurs who are looking for information to take their companies to the next level. I especially like their engaging original videos, featuring business stories that will inform and inspire you on the path to success
- Inc. is a great magazine and an even better website. They say they offer everything you need to start and grow your small business now.
- Entrepreneur Magazine provides business ideas and trends on start-up, finance, marketing and franchising tools and tips and they have a great website too. You can also read about the latest news, expert advice and growth strategies for small business owners.
- The Self Employed is a website created by Steve Strauss, small business columnist for USA Today and bestselling author of The Small Business Bible. It provides lots of great advice for solopreneurs in particular, on start-up, finding clients, insurance and tax issues.
- SCORE is a nonprofit organization that provides expert business counseling to small business owners. SCORE's website provides online counseling, and offers great e-mail newsletters. What I like best about their newsletter program is, it allows you to select which level of information that you want. From operations to financing and expansion plans, SCORE has a vast database of experts to assist your small business.
Do you have a favorite small business resource to share?
Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady is America's #1 small business expert. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business start-up, business development and social media marketing to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. She writes a weekly column on social media for The New York Times. Forbes Magazine named her #1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She hosts #SmallBizChat Wednesdays on Twitter 8-9 p.m. ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She also publishes a resource blog. Melinda is the bestselling author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works and the ebook: How To Become A Social Media Ninja; 101 Ways to Dominate Your Competition Online.