Where to Find the Best Business Advice & Resources
Luckily, solid sources of advice for business owners abound. The internet is bursting with blogs, forums, social media, magazines and other business-friendly guides to help you learn what you need to know about how to succeed.
Here’s a list of some of the best spots out there for insight, advice, perspective and expert commentary.
General business advice
The purpose of the Small Business Administration (SBA) is to help America’s small business owners meet their goals and grow their enterprises. Assisting with that mission is a section of the SBA website called the Business Guide, which includes myriad resources and advice on how to plan, start, manage and grow your small business. The site is well-organized and thorough. It even features a “10 steps to start your business” guide to help you launch.
This nonprofit and partner of the SBA offers expert assistance and business advice via its website and more than 300 offices across the country. Entrepreneurs can take advantage of free trainings, both in person and online, and mentoring through a network of volunteer business experts. SCORE is a great resource for any small business, but is particularly valuable to those just starting out or making a shift in direction.
LinkedIn is a key business resource for networking, advice and information. You can follow trusted influencers and experts to fill your newsfeed with savvy advice and join one of the many business-oriented groups where you can engage with other entrepreneurs to ask questions and hear new perspectives. Engaging on LinkedIn can also be an excellent method of marketing your products and services and possibly finding new hires when your business is ready to expand.
You can join your local Chamber of Commerce to network with other business owners in your area, but there is still plenty to learn online from this valuable government arm. The ‘Above the Fold’ section discusses policy issues of interest to the business community. Reading this will keep you clued in on national developments that may affect your business or come up when discussing issues with your network.
This magazine appears in print and also has a website chock-full of business-related content, including great advice from entrepreneurs and stories of business successes and failures. This is a useful place to browse for new information, fresh ideas, smart advice or inspiration.
A venerable business publication, Inc. offers a print magazine and a website full of original business content. The advice and insight you can find here covers everything from hiring practices to tech developments to leadership strategies. Actionable tips are interspersed with readable articles about business ventures, success stories and the latest on business leaders.
Another print magazine as well as a website, Success is a bit more philosophical than some of its counterparts. It carries just as much advice about mindset, perspective and life in general as it does about the ins and outs of business. While this magazine can help anyone, it is an excellent resource for driven entrepreneurs who need to keep perspective and those who are striving to maintain a work-life balance.
There’s a lot happening on this blog that hosts advice and hard-earned wisdom from thousands of contributors, some with impressive business experience. Topics run the gamut from finance to marketing to work-life balance. Spend an hour browsing here and you’re sure to come away with new ideas and insights.
Practical and logistical business advice
CNET, a review site for technical products, is useful for advice about what to buy for your business, but its Small Business Forum is also a valuable resource. Ask technical questions and hear from others who know their way around the digital and electronic tools that your business needs to thrive. Other threads address all manner of business questions related to leadership, marketing and more.
A massive compendium of advice and ‘how to’ articles on a wide range of business-related topics, Fit Small Business is a great place to check first when you have a question. Written by those with real expertise in business, this site has carefully cultivated its position as a trusted source for useful information that businesspeople need. The site includes many reviews of particular products and services, but be aware that they earn commissions on these recommendations.
This marketing section of the blog hosted by the inbound marketing and sales software company HubSpot is a wonderland of marketing advice ranging from big picture to super technical. You can learn about everything from usability testing to brand awareness to how to create a QR code. The site is attractive and full of actionable information.
This blog from SEO marketing company Moz will help you improve your SEO and online marketing skills. The Whiteboard Friday segment from Moz cofounder Rand Fishkin and colleagues is particularly useful — each one is like a mini crash course in a particular topic explained with loads of text and multimedia additions.
Founded by marketing guru and best-selling author John Jantsch, Duct Tape Marketing is a company designed to jumpstart or boost companies’ marketing efforts. This includes a quality blog full of useful advice and perspective, including a series of “Weekend Favs” in which Jantsch posts links to tools and great content he found in the preceding week.
This blog is a must for anyone looking to learn how to write effective, high-converting copy to help their marketing efforts. Founder Joanna Wiebe is evangelical about the power of words to spark action, and the blog bears this out. Covering such topics as writing onboarding email sequences and sales page copy, each post provides specific copywriting techniques to employ.
While the IRS website isn’t light reading, this page is the ultimate resource for small business owners looking for information about taxes. This page is full of authoritative advice aimed at taxpayers who file Form 1040, Schedules C, E, F or Form 2106, and at small businesses with assets under $10 million. The site includes a virtual workshop about small business taxes. You can also find a page about taxation in each state, including links to state taxation authorities.
This site lays out 33 accounting concepts in a clear, easy-to-understand way; it’s basically a collection of free online courses that can systematically get you up to snuff on number-crunching. If you’re willing to pay, you can get all sorts of extra content, such as flash cards, visual tutorials, business forms and quick tests.
Business advice for e-commerce and retail
This blog geared toward e-commerce entrepreneurs provides in-depth, actionable advice, including reviews of tools retailers may find useful. The blog’s founder Richard Lazazzera, a former member of Shopify’s Growth Team, has a wealth of experience that shapes the content on the site. It offers articles, case studies, and video training and more.
This visually appealing blog from e-commerce platform Shopify is snappy and educational. Offering advice on everything from what to name your online store to how to conduct competitive analysis for your business, the site offers a wide range of information. Many of the articles are written by e-commerce retailers.
The National Retail Federation’s website and newsletter offer a lot of news, information and advice about doing business in retail. Additionally, the NRF’s conference, Retail’s Big Show, is a great place to meet other retailers you can learn from, hear informative speakers and check out software and tools that can help your progress.
Business advice for tech companies
This site aimed at expansion-stage software companies offers insights, advice and interviews with company founders to help tech startups grow. Run by venture capital firm OpenView Partners, this site is encyclopedic and bursting with insider knowledge and tips. There is a lot of fire power here: Many of the authors are CEOs, founders and directors of marketing. Rapidly scaling tech companies, particularly SaaS companies, will find a lot to chew on.
This blog is notable because it’s authored by Aaron Ross, who helped Salesforce increase its sales from $5 million to $100 million and writes bestselling books about sales in fast-growing businesses. He joins Collin Stewart, CEO of outbound sales consulting company Predictable Revenue, to create a rich catalogue of advice and perspective about growing tech companies. This site will be valuable to hard-charging tech founders.