It’s not easy to be a small business owner these days. Advertising is changing, social media is erupting and everyday there’s something new to snag your attention. Plus, you have a business to manage and care for!
But there are online resources available to help you stay on top of marketing, industry trends and learn new skills to have a minimal budget. Keeping a list of go-to guides will protect the business’ future and pack a power punch along the way.
Let’s take a look at a few online resources that are invaluable to small businesses.
1. Lynda Online Training
I was introduced to Lynda online training videos in design class at UNC-Chapel Hill. Because of my short attention span, it was intimidating to think we would be learning by video. But the tutorials proved me wrong.
Lynda offers an affordable online library of educational videos to teach everything from email marketing to web design skills. If you want to learn about software or basic marketing – Lynda is the place to do it. I highly recommend this site because of its professional videos, straightforward teaching methods and affordability. Lynda videos taught me how to edit videos in Final Cut and create websites in Dreamweaver. Go ahead – just peruse the wide range of covered subjects and get to learning!
Yearly subscriptions breaks down to about $21 a month or sign up for the training materials a pay a bit more. Plus, for the nervous subscriber – they offer monthly plans. Promise – you won’t be disappointed.
Website: Lynda Online Training
2. Inc. Magazine or Inc.com
As a business owner, there are new issues to deal with everyday. Inc.com is an incredible online resource that can be delivered to your front door or found online. They focus on small business owners and start-ups by presenting timely information that is unique and digestible. This excellent go-to source takes marketing, advertising and social media into account at every step. Plus, it is an incredible medium for teaching business owners about leadership and the proven ways to guide employees successfully.
Make sure to play with the Search function on the website – it offers everything from business plan templates to social media decals.
Website: Inc. Magazine or Inc.com
3. HubSpot for Small Businesses
Hubspot does not just publish intelligent and useful marketing articles; it makes small business dreams come true by offering monthly marketing packages. But the small business hub offers a wealth of information for owners who prefer to maintain the reins of their business brand. The hub offers e-books, kits, case studies, how-to articles and webinars to educate owners on the critical aspects of marketing. The site covers a wide variety of subjects like SEO, blogging, website redesign, social media marketing, and more.
Website: HubSpot for Small Businesses
4. Social Media Examiner
There are few social websites that catch my attention, but SME’s professional and well-written articles offer such high value – it took few to get me hooked. Social Media Examiner is an excellent social media marketing resource for small businesses. They offer a wide variety of in-depth articles on everything related to social media marketing such as Facebook engagement, growing followers on Twitter, writing blogs, measuring Pinterest clicks and many others. Plus, they offer podcasts for those who prefer to listen, and free small business networking clubs where peeps mingle with other owners who are learning the social media ropes. And when you subscribe to the newsletter, it gifts you a 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report and a video about Facebook marketing.
Website: Social Media Examiner
5. Small Biz Trends
Small Biz Trends has been voted the best business blog for several years running – so there’s no reason why it should not be on your list. Want to learn about analytics, marketing practices and how-tos, small business news, new laws that apply to your industry, technology updates, be privy to stats and industry reports or have access to a multitude of templates? All of that and much more are explained on Small Biz Trends. It may not look like the hippest place to get small biz information, but there isn’t a better business blog. Check it out – invaluable information is awaiting you.
Website: Small Biz Trends
6. Business USA
In 2011, President Obama asked government organizations to combine together and create a place for business owners to find all the resources necessary to start a business, hire employees and grow. Business USA is still a beta version as the organization gathers agency participation, but is already a vital resource for businesses. A few of the government agencies involved through the site are the Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, International Trade Commission, US Patent and Trademark Office. IRS, Department of Labor, and on and on.
Are you in need of statistical, governmental or legal information? It’s here – Business USA is where the future of all American business information will be. It supplies everything from demographic information to resources for business loans.
Website: Business USA
Managing a business and staying on top of marketing, legal issues and new social networks is more than a full-time position. But deciding what you need and investing the time on a daily basis is better than cramming it in at the last moment. Do your business a favor, and stay up-to-date.
Have any additional online sources we should add to the list?