Starting a company is hard, so you’re going to need a lot of advice along the way.
There are many entrepreneurs, investors and bloggers who churn out business advice daily, but it’s a pain figuring out which sites are worth reading.
Running the gamut from hilarious, to informational, to controversial, to thought-provoking, these blogs are all must-reads for anyone who’s running a business.
Blogger: Any entrepreneur you want to follow, from Fred Wilson to Marc Cuban
Why it’s so great: Quora is a Q&A site where experts actually take the time to seriously answer your questions. You can follow topics like “startups” and “entrepreneurship” and people like Fred Wilson or Mark Zuckerberg. Answers get voted up by by the community so that only the best ones shine. You can find answers to questions like “What is the best way to prepare yourself for entrepreneurship?” or “What are some tips on connecting with high-profile people that can help your startup?”
Blogger: Sarah Lacy
Why it’s so great: Sarah Lacy and her band of bloggers at Pando are making an effort to become the “site of record for Silicon Valley.” Much of the staff came from TechCrunch, so they’re well sourced. Lacy conducts exclusive interviews with high profile people in tech and curates the top tech/entrepreneurship stories from other startups in the site’s right rail.
Blog: Wise Bread
Bloggers: A collection of writers and entrepreneurs who specialize in saving money, cutting costs, and budgeting wisely
Why it’s so great: As a small business owner, frugality can make or break your company. Wise Bread offers tips on how manage business finances, and gives advice to entrepreneurs who want to do big things on a small budget.
Wise Bread has a section that caters exclusively to entrepreneurship, which covers topics ranging from “launching for less” to “scoring free publicity.”
Starting a business is an intimidating prospect. It involves a level of commitment that few other goals require. Typically, one of the major commitments in business startups is a hefty financial commitment. However, there are ways to start a business for next to nothing. Knowing how to do so can make an intimidating project much more doable.
4. Church Of The Customer
Blog: Church of the Customer
Bloggers: Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba, both authors and management consultants
Why it’s so great: Attracting 120,000 daily readers, Forbes named Church of the Customer a 2010 Favorite for Best of the Web Small Business Blogs.
The blog documents successes and failures of small and large businesses, so entrepreneurs can avoid making similar mistakes.
Forbes writes about their pick: “There’s always something to be learned about managing customers and building loyalty.”
At first blush, a complaining customer is not something we have on our wish list of awesome things in the world.
But this type of customer contact provides a great opportunity to do something remarkable that will build loyalty and word of mouth. Research shows this to be true. Customer experience research firm TARP finds that customers who complain and are satisfied are up to 8% more loyal than if they had no problem at all (PDF).
5. All Business
Bloggers: A collection of entrepreneurs and other experts, whose areas of specialty range from marketing to strategy, to financial management
Why it’s so great: AllBusiness covers how-to advice, analysis, and commentary from experts in all areas of business. Content is updated daily (including weekends) and is searchable by categories like “Internet Marketing” and “Startups.”
Recently I had a conversation with a friend that had attended a monthly business meeting and the discussion turned to whether you should ever let your emotions or feelings get involved in the decisions you make as a business owner.
…Sure it’s not good practice to mix the two but the truth is it’s in front of you every day. If an employee gets hurt or something happens to a staff’s child you need to be there. Staff need to feel supported, and want to be a part of a company that genuinely cares.
Trying to separate the natural from business leaves you looking like a cold-hearted scrooge who cares about nothing except making money. You may have staff but I guarantee they’re just waiting for a better opportunity to get out.
6. How To Change The World
Blog: How To Change The World
Blogger: Guy Kawasaki, author of several business and marketing books and a managing director of early-stage VC firm Garage Technology Ventures
Why it’s so great: WSJ deemed this blog one of the 15 Entrepreneur Blogs Worth Reading because it motivates and inspires small business owners.
Kawasaki speaks to entrepreneurs from a VC point of view, giving eager business owners advice from his own experience, along with much-needed reality checks.
Many entrepreneurs believe that the lack of capital is their primary problem. If only they had a fat bank balance, they could kick butt. As a venture capitalist, I’ve seen what happens when companies raise substantial capital. It’s not pretty—in fact, my theory is that too much money is worse than too little. Here’s why.
7. Entrepreneur Daily Dose
Blog: Entrepreneur Daily Dose
Bloggers: Regular Entrepreneur contributors
Why it’s so great: This blog has the Entrepreneur brand backing its content, and it often takes current news stories and extracts marketing lessons for small business owners.
In the past week, Daily Dose has examined what businesses can learn from the Old Spice Man, George Steinbrenner’s contribution to the business of baseball, and what the finance reform means for small businesses.
This week we saw two days that shook the viral marketing world. Old Spice, a decidedly old-school Procter & Gamble brand, unleashed a social media blitz so profoundly brilliant that it not only changed the rules of social network marketing, it may have written them for the first time.
8. Small Biz Survival
Blog: Small Biz Survival
Bloggers: Blog founder Becky McCray, self-described “small town entrepreneur,” along with a few of her entrepreneur friends
Why it’s so great: According to BlogRank, a site that uses over 20 different factors to rank blogs including RSS members, incoming links, and Alexa, Small Biz Survivalranks #16 on the Top 100 Small Business Blogs chart.
Digging into her own successes, failures, and small-town-entrepreneur experiences, McCray offers big-time advice that can be useful for all entrepreneurs.
I don’t often weigh in on big corporate issues, but there are some good lessons from two contrasting recent promotions. Fast Company is a well known forward-thinking business magazine. Conventional wisdom says they should have succeeded in a social campaign. P&G is the corporate behemoth behind the brand Old Spice. They should have had trouble with a social campaign. Turns out, that is exactly backwards.
9. Blog Maverick
The Associated Press
Blog: Blog Maverick
Blogger: Mark Cuban, Chairman of HDNet and owner of the Dallas Mavericks
Why it’s so great: Cuban is known for having strong opinions and not being afraid to voice them — so, of course, his blog is the perfect platform for him to do that. His posts offer up interesting — and often controversial — viewpoints on the tech industry and general business strategy and management.
His writing makes for an entertaining read, and his perspectives on how to do business, whether or not you agree, will certainly provoke thought.
[P]art of every entrepreneurs job is to invent the future. I also call it “kicking your own ass”. Someone is out there looking to put you out of business. Someone is always out there who thinks they have a better idea than you have. A better solution than you have. A better or more efficient product than you have. If there is someone out there who can “kick your ass” by doing it better, its part of your job as the owner of the company to stay ahead of them and “kick your own ass” before someone else does.
jdlasica via Flickr
Blogger: Brian Clark, a writer, online content producer, entrepreneur, and “recovering attorney.”
Why it’s so great: Clark believes more people aren’t successful online because they’re lacking two skills: content marketing strategy and copywriting. Copyblogger serves as a comprehensive resource for any business person looking to improve their online writing and blogging skills.
Your bottom line is bottoming out. Your customers are looking elsewhere. Your well of new ideas has run dry. What can you do?
You could turn to your accountant for money-saving schemes, or hire a lawyer to re-structure your business. You could bring in a salesperson to drum up customers.