There are a ton of great resources available for entrepreneurs, but most of the time you don’t hear about them unless a fellow business owner mentions one. So, we asked dozens of entrepreneurs to tell us the one business resource that helped them the most. From their feedback, we’ve compiled a list for you.
You’ll find nine websites and five books on our list, all of which are designed to educate you or provide a time or money-saving tool.
A site for free and confidential business advice, SCORE has become a popular resource for entrepreneurs. It’s a non-profit with 11,000 working and retired business professionals who volunteer to support small business owners like you.
Cost: Support is free. Workshops are $20-75.
If you’re serious about business, you’ll need a business plan. When it comes to this vital document, a lot of entrepreneurs don’t know where to start. A business plan isn’t just a road map to your success, it’s also required to get bank loans or entice investors. LivePlan can help you create a killer plan that gets your business started on the right track.
Cost: Starting at $11.66 a month.
Business professor Ted Clark says if he were stuck on a deserted island and could have only one business source it would be the Small Business Administration website. “It’s just a great resource of facts, information and education,” he says.
Tired of keeping track of which username and password goes with which website? You no longer have to write it all down on a post-it, you can use OneLogin. From this one site you can log in to all of the important sites that you access throughout the day. Tanielle Lobo, the co-founder of Check-in-London, a site that helps out-of-towners find apartments in the area, uses the site to juggle sites like MailChimp, HootSuite and DropBox.
Cost: Ranging membership options. Free, $1 per month, $5 per month.
A social media presence is a must, but it can be time consuming to log into each site and post a message on a daily basis. HootSuite makes this process easy by combining all of your social sites into one dashboard. You can read your feeds, schedule posts and track your success all from one site.
Manage your online reputation by monitoring when your business or brand is mentioned online. With Google Alerts, you’ll get an email anytime your business is mentioned online. You can set up alerts for any keywords that you’d like. You can even monitor your competitor’s press.
Evernote is like a digital filing cabinet. You can take and organize notes, save favorite websites, and make to-do lists. Leadership consultant Dave Gambrill says this site is his “second brain,” where he stores all of his thoughts and web clippings.
8. HARO (Help A Reporter Out)
Looking for a little free publicity? HARO connects business owners with reporters. Entrepreneur Michael Guberti, a 17-year-old student who writes and sells his own books online, calls this site “a publicity genie.” When journalists need a source for a certain topic, they post a query on HARO. You can respond to these queries and possibly land an interview with that reporter. Typically, you’re quoted and a link to your business is included in the story.
Need to collaborate with several people who are scattered all over the U.S.? GoToMeeting is a web conferencing and online meeting tool that can help you do just that.
Cost: Chat with up to three people for free. If you want more than that, you’ll need a paid membership ranging in price from $16-56 a month.
1. 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey.
Entrepreneur Dodie Jacobi says this is a must-read for all entrepreneurs. The self-help book teaches people how to be productive through personal change.
2. The Networking Survival Guide by Diane Darling
We tend to forget the importance of networking in today’s digital world, Parisnicole Payton, with communications company, The PNP Agency, says. This book serves as a good reminder of how to keep and maintain connections.
3. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Several entrepreneurs suggested this tough-love book, which pushes you to reach your business goals.
4. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
This book is a great personal story from Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg, who talks about the struggles women face in business and ways to overcome them.
5. The E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
Not every startup will make it. This book explains why most small businesses fail and offers insights on how to keep it from happening to yours.
Is there another resource that you can’t live without? Share it in the comment section below.