Indispensible online resources for small business owners and solopreneurs

There's a world of helpful business information available on the Internet if you now where to look.

There’s a whole world of helpful business information available on the web if you now where to look.

By Henry Brown

The Internet is awash with information. But that information isn’t always in a form that small businesses and solopreneurs find useful. It’s often poorly organized or of bad quality and it may even be wrong.

So where should business owners look to find valuable information on common business topics? Let’s take a look.

Marketing

When it comes to marketing, businesses have plenty of great options. One option is Adweek. Adweek was once a print magazine. But, thanks to the rise of the Internet, it’s now online, and with more stories than ever. Adweek is all about getting the inside scoop on what’s going in the world’s most innovative companies. How are they marketing their products? And what are they doing to grow their loyalty? Right now, podcasting is a hot topic, and the site is making an effort to cover it.

ChiefMarketer.com takes a different tack. It’s not so interested in providing up-to-date reporting as it is on giving information and advice. Here you can learn the ins and outs of brand recognition, storytelling, and SEO. For those looking for something a little more down to Earth, there is also the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association. This is a nonprofit organization that specializes in word of mouth marketing and web 2.0.

Training

In today’s business world, it seems as if training is a constant requirement. But where should solopreneurs and businesses look to brush up on their skills? Sites like https://www.trainingconnection.com/excel-training.php are one possible place. On sites like these, you can learn how to use popular productivity applications, like Excel. You can also find out how to best use complicated, but powerful design software, like Photoshop.

By contrast, sites like kauffman.org aren’t interested in providing training for specific business skills. Instead, they’re about furthering the understanding entrepreneurship itself. The Kauffman Foundation takes the view that entrepreneurship isn’t just a God-given gift. It’s an outgrowth of life experiences, education, and personal gravitas. Interestingly, they see entrepreneurship as an entirely separate skill to professional skills. And as such, the organization puts tremendous effort into educating the public about the difference. The site, therefore, contains plenty of free resources to help train up new entrepreneurs. Here you can find information on bookkeeping, marketing, HR, and financing your business.

Surveys

It’s often extremely hard for small businesses to keep tabs on what their customers think about their services. But thanks to a suite of new Internet tools, this is far easier today than it ever was in the past. Of all the survey websites, Survey Monkey is perhaps the best known. What’s cool about Survey Monkey is that their basic service is free. You can create a survey, post it out to customers, and quickly get a sense of what they like and what they don’t. Survey Monkey presents data in a way that allows you to analyze the results.

But the app itself isn’t limited to just surveying customers. It can also be used internally to gauge employee satisfaction and engagement. It’s also useful for conducting market research and even event planning.

CV enhancement

As a small business owner or solopreneur, you often need to showcase your skills. And thanks to resources, like Visual CV, you can. Visual CV allows you to create a professional resume that immediately helps you to stand out from the crowd. What’s more, it also allows your personal portfolio to come alive with things like pop-ups, pictures, and videos. Now customers can actually see what you’ve done before, helping them to get a sense of your quality and hopefully enabling the sale. Right now around 1 million industry leaders and professionals use the service.

Payment systems

Business payment systems are notoriously complicated if done by hand. If automated, however, they can be radically simplified. Due.com is a good example of this in action. The whole mantra of the site is to make payments simple. The idea is to process credit card payments and integrate them into your business’s existing systems. But that’s not the exciting part. The interesting part is the advice on the blog section of the website. Here you’ll find information on a wide range of financial topics that will benefit any small business owner or solopreneur.

Another great site for entrepreneurs wanting to sort out their personal finances is Mint. Here business owners can get help to organize their finances, planning budgets and getting out of debt. Mint’s main app allows you to break down your budget into its individual components. It helps you keep track of your spend and see where your money is going.

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Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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