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By Molly Klein • August 8, 2017

Top 20 Web Resources for Business Newbies

When you are starting your own business, you want to get the best advice from knowledgeable partners who can guide you to profitability and success. You want to gain insights, access to resources, and trusted counsel from people who have worked closely with, or as, entrepreneurs.

Small Business is Booming

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are 28 million small businesses in the country that account for 54 percent of all U.S. sales. These businesses provide 55 percent of all U.S. jobs.

Since 1990, big businesses have cut 4 million jobs while small businesses have created 8 million jobs, according to the SBA. Those businesses include more than 600,000 franchises that employ 8 million people alone and make up 40 percent of all domestic retail sales.

Over the past four decades, small businesses have been essential to the U.S. economy. Since the 1970s, small businesses have created 66 percent of all net new jobs; the number of small businesses has grown by 49 percent since 1982.

Top Resources for Entrepreneurs

Interested in starting your own small business? Here are the top 20 web resources for business newbies.

  1. Benetrends. When you are looking for innovative small business funding opportunities for your franchise business, Benetrends Financial is the leading expert. Its unique and innovative 401(k)/IRA rollover funding model (known as The Rainmaker Plan®) lets you use your own financial resources to help you with funding a small business – without incurring debt or pre-payment penalties. Plus, the Benetrends blog is filled with informative articles that provide new business owners with tips and guidance designed to maximize an entrepreneur’s chances of success in business.
  2. Small Business Administration. The federal government’s resource for small businesses and entrepreneurs, the SBA is an expansive organization with many different programs for entrepreneurs. Here are a few highlights:

    • Loan Programs. The SBA partners with local lenders to provide discounted loans for small businesses at favorable rates.
    • SBA Learning Center. This online resource offers courses for entrepreneurs on many topics, including bringing products to market, understanding customers, how to win federal contracts, and customer service.
    • Small Business Development Centers. These regional offices help entrepreneurs with advisors and low-cost training.
    • Government Contracting Set Asides. Various government agencies have set-aside programs specifically to offer portions of contracts to small businesses. Specific programs are offered for women entrepreneurs, veteran entrepreneurs, and companies in urban and rural areas.
  3. SCORE. The Service Core of Retired Executives is a nonprofit organization supported by the SBA. For more than 50 years, SCORE has provided volunteer mentors for entrepreneurs, free business tools, and webinars. Its more than 300 chapters nationwide host events and workshops to connect entrepreneurs with SCORE members. Its library includes powerful search functionality to help you find resources based on your business stage, topic (20 different categories), format, entrepreneur type (woman, minority, young, veteran, 50-plus), and industry (17 choices). 
  4. VetFran. If you’re a veteran interested in owning your own franchise, this website is a helpful guide to resources and franchise options. Run by the International Franchise Association, the site helps would-be business owners determine which franchise fits their personality type, a directory of available franchisors, free courses on franchise basics, workbooks on how to decide on the right franchise, and a video library on topics like franchising fundamentals, legal issues, financing, and more.
  5. Alignable. This small business social network is free for small business owners. It fosters networking, increased word of mouth, and referral exchange among its members.
  6. Entrepreneur.com. The name says it all for this website, which features franchise rankings and reviews, access to books and helpful videos on entrepreneurship, and spotlights on successful businesses. Its "Solutions" section has quick-read articles on many topics, including growth strategies, human resources, innovation, leadership, legal issues, lifestyle, marketing and branding, money and finance, productivity, social media, starting a business, and technology.
  7. Facebook For Business. How can you leverage the world’s most popular social network for your new business? This site guides you through the steps for creating your own business site, purchasing ads, using Instagram and Facebook Messenger, boosting brand awareness, and measuring results.
  8. FamBiz. Many small businesses are also family businesses. The complexities and dynamics within families in business today can be challenging. This site is run by Northeastern University’s Center for Family Business. It includes an article database on topics unique to family businesses and those relevant for any business owner, including succession planning, conflict resolution, and asset protection.
  9. Fast Company. This well-established online magazine offers in-depth articles and videos on ideas, leadership, and technology. Its special sections include features on the most innovative companies, most creative people, and innovative design solutions, how to work smarter, and world-changing ideas.
  10. Google Small Business. Much like the Facebook guide above, this site offers tips and tricks for using the most popular search engine to accelerate awareness and growth for your new business. This archived site offers helpful articles on a range of topics, including how to use keywords for search engine optimization, how to get your business on Google Maps, and how to gain more exposure for a new company.
  11. Inc Magazine. This magazine offers helpful tips for small business owners in each issue. Online, you can subscribe to a daily newsletter, access podcasts, and even send press releases. The article sections are divided into interesting categories. Startup, for instance, includes sections on funding, business plans, naming, and home-based businesses. Grow offers articles on strategy, marketing, sales, operations, customer service, and franchises. Other sections explore leadership, innovation, money, and technology.
  12. Mashable Small Business. While primarily known as a site for videos and entertainment, Mashable’s small business section by last count had more than 2,400 articles focused on small business. Recent articles include an interview with Randi Zuckerberg, how to turn setbacks into success, and the future of 3D printing.
  13. National Federation of Independent Business. The NFIB is an advocacy membership organization with 325,000 members. Members enjoy exclusive discounts, free human resources support, and local networking opportunities. Search more than 1,300 articles, infographics, videos, and webinars on a range of topics including finance and accounting, human resources, insurance, legal issues, marketing strategy, and technology.

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  14. Open Culture. New business owners have plenty to learn. What better price for that knowledge than free! At Open Culture, you can search for free ebooks, online courses (many taught at notable universities), movies, and textbooks on everything from art history to zoology.
  15. TheSelfEmployed.com. This site describes itself as “a Web portal for all things self-employed.” Its massive array of features includes a newsletter, podcasts, apps, tax guides, and videos. It includes sections on e-commerce, finance, the gig economy, law, marketing, startups, and technology.
  16. Small Business America. This collection of articles from all the Huffington Post sites provides the latest news and advice for entrepreneurs.
  17. Big Ideas for Small Business. This blog is primarily authored by Barbara Weltman, a well-known tax and business attorney since 1977. The blog is filled with content about technical and legal issues of running a small business, and has a wealth of information to help small business owners navigate the legalities of running a business in America today. Recent helpful articles include topics such as whether to invest in better talent or technology for your small business, an updated article about small business tax requirements, and factors to consider when choosing a business credit card.
  18. SucceedasYourOwnBoss.com. Run by Melissa Emerson, also known as the SmallBizLady, this site provides insights via articles, events, and a frequently updated blog.
  19. The WorkatHomeWoman.com. Many women choose to work out of their home, making it easier to balance career, family and household obligations. This site is a resource for women looking to find the right at-home business and links to career resources. It features sections on popular at-home businesses such as blogging, direct sales, and freelancing, and how to avoid common work-from-home scams.
  20. You’re The Boss. This New York Times blog ran for five years and all the articles are still available online. The site includes information on everything from selecting the best franchises to purchase to buying health insurance for your employees.

Funding Your Small Business

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