Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Free Resources for Small Business Owners

A lot of creative people don't go into business to run a business. They go into business because they want to make a living from their art, their passion. Well, if you're making a living from your craft, than you need to get real with yourself and face up to the fact that you are, in fact, a business owner and that your ability to make a living is dependent on the ability of others to pay for your product or service. Unless you've hired a manager, publicist, and secretary - YOU are the manager, publicist, AND secretary all rolled into one! So, what? Why am I making a big deal about it?

By becoming a business owner, you have joined a new "club" of people who enjoy working for themselves. Running a business certainly isn't the easy way out, but the more you know about business, the easier it becomes. In order to survive as a small business owner, it's important that you stay on top of the latest business trends, news, and information. While it's important to know about the latest innovations within your craft, many of the daily issues you face in your business are common challenges that all small business owners face, and your ability to handle those challenges will determine your success. Some of the best ideas for new ways to overcome challenges, market or brand your business, or create innovative products can be found by simply keeping up with the general business world at large and by staying current with the latest books and trends OUTSIDE of your own industry, because the clients you serve are being affected by the trends of the larger business market as a whole. The more you know about your client and the messages they're receiving from the overall market, the better you'll be able to identify and communicate what makes your service and product important to them. The economy is changing, not just financially or globally, but the decisions people are making and why they are making them is changing as well. To understand these changes and to find resources for running your business, I've put together a few links for you to check out...

Web Videos, Blogs, and Forums for Business Owners
Small Business Television
All Business Advice & Forums

Government Sponsored Web Resources (yes, your tax dollars pay for these!)
The IRS's Small Business and Self-Employed One-Stop Resource
U.S. Small Business Administration

Non-profit Small Business Resource Websites
SCORE: Counselors to America's Small Businesses
America's Small Business Development Center
Tool Kit

Online Magazines for Business Owners
Fast Company

Blogs from Business Authors & Motivational Speakers
Tim Sanders
Seth Godin
Duct Tape Marketing

Randomly Interesting Things for Trend Spotting
Boing Boing

It's much easier running a small business when you know you have people you can talk to about your business challenges. See if you can find a local group of small business owners, perhaps through your chamber of commerce, who you can meet with on a regular basis to talk about these challenges. Sometimes it's easier to find business support outside of your industry, since people are more likely to share information when they feel as though their personal business won't be threatened by the competition. You may also find more creative and abstract solutions to your problems by simply talking with someone who looks at things in a very different way. Having a community of support will help you keep your business on track, and pull you through when times are tough.


  1. You're simply amazing...tons of knowledge. It's almost 4a in the morning and I can't stop reading. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I'm going to keep this post in mind since I plan on running my own business soon. I can use all the help and advice I can let. Lately I've been thinking about buying a business instead of starting one from scratch. I haven't decided entirely yet, because I'm not sure what type... a franchise? Something home-based? I don't know. Anyway, do you, or anyone else, have any suggestions or advice? Thanks!

  3. Victoria - I think your choice needs to start from your reason for going into business for yourself. Is it to have more time with your family? To have more money? How much time are you willing to invest in your business? Are you concerned with shorter term gains or longer term gains? Entering a franchise may require a large loan which may take a while to pay off- but it may be a more hands-off business since many of the structures are already in place. If you're looking for shorter term gains and are willing to put in more personal time, a home business may be more for you. Ultimately you need to decide what you do and don't want- and then evaluate how your business will fit into the lifestyle you're looking for.

  4. Thanks for your help, Anne. I really appreciate it. This is all fairly new to me, and so I'm doing my best to get all the necessary information before I make a giant leap. I've been looking around online for established businesses that are for sale, and I've found a good amount of resources... I know there's a site called, and it looked very helpful. There was another one, but I can't think of it on the top of my head right now. Anyway, I'm still looking around though.
    Again, thanks for the help!


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