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Starting a business can be challenging, but having the right resources can make a world of difference. However, with such a wide range of information available both online and in print, it can be difficult to know exactly where to start. To provide you with a jumping off point, here’s a look at just a few of the most helpful resources that are geared towards assisting aspiring entrepreneurs:

National Organizations

NYC office building at night

1. The Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration is a government organization committed to helping small business owners get started and thrive. The group has an expansive website, offering information on everything from how to write a business plan to how to secure a government contract. If you have any questions, the SBA’s articles and videos can be a great starting point for your research, and the organization also has a printable resource guide for small businesses.

2. SCORE

Founded by the SBA, SCORE is a mentoring group. The organization has chapters around the country, and they can help connect you with a mentor in your industry. If you don’t have a SCORE chapter nearby, you may opt to receive business counseling online via email. When your business flourishes, you can give back by becoming a SCORE volunteer mentor for another aspiring business owner.

Financial Management Tools

3. Small Business Apps

When you’re trying to start a business, there is a lot of information to keep track of, and the right app can help. Apps such as EverNote and Letterspace help organize ideas, while Trello and Timeful keep you on task with big goals. Finally, financial management tools such as Expensify can be used to track expenses, Quicken helps organize accounting details, and Sage Payroll handles paying your employees.

Books

4. The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker

Before you hire your first employee or even strike a deal with your first consultant, check out this book on management styles. Drucker is widely considered to be the father of contemporary management ideals. For example, the idea that businesses flourish when managers and their employees work toward a common goal can be traced back to Drucker.

As an additional endorsement, this book is one of three business books that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has his senior managers read, while in training.

5. “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill

This longstanding business bestseller is just as relevant now as it was when it was published 80 years ago. The overarching principle is related to creating a goal, visualizing it, and actualizing it. However, the book expands brilliantly on this simplified theory, and it can provide the framework you need for setting and achieving business goals.

6. “Benjamin Franklin” by Walter Isaacson

More of a biography than a business book, “Benjamin Franklin” tells the story of one of America’s most famous early inventors. This tale underscores how to rise from nothing to success, and in fact, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX calls this tome one of his favorites.

Blogs

7. Escape from Cubicle Nation

Authored by Pamela Stein, this blog is for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to quit their jobs to start their own business. There is a companion book, but if you just want to dip in and out for savvy advice and inspiration, this blog can be a great place to start. Stein is a coach, mentor, and public speaker, and her blog has a wide following.

8. Brainy Marketer

Once you’ve got an idea and are ready to launch, you need to figure out how to reach a client base, and this blog can help. The blog has multiple writers, but each tackles a unique niche. This setup gives you access to diverse voices and unique perspectives, while also ensuring that you’re always reading the words of an expert.

9. Paul Graham’s Essays

Although not strictly a blog, Paul Graham’s essays are published free online. This entrepreneur started many companies including Dropbox, Airbnb, Stripe, and Reddit, and his essays focus on practical advice as well as intangible business concepts.

Social Media

10. Twitter

Twitter can be a great place to market your business, but first, consider using it as a learning resource. Create an account and follow business leaders, bloggers, and executives. Each day, dip in and see what links they have shared. Then, create a reading list. Additionally, try to follow leaders in your industry, as their industry-specific links and posts can be especially helpful.

TED Talks

11. How Great Leaders Inspire

To run a business successfully, you need to understand what makes a great leader. In this TED Talk, Simon Sinek explores this idea by looking at social leaders such as Martin Luther King, social movements, and business leaders such as Steve Jobs. He starts with the premise, “People don’t buy what you do. People buy why you do it.” and he helps you see how to incorporate this philosophy into your business.

12. The Single Biggest Reason Why Startups Succeed

Looking for the key to success? Then, check out this TED Talk from Bill Gross. This serial entrepreneur has succeeded and failed multiple times, and he’s watched business owners do the same. The main kernel of wisdom he gained from these experiences is that timing is everything. This talk gives you tips for figuring out timing and leveraging it for your success.

The twelve resources mentioned above are just a few of the helpful resources that exist to support aspiring entrepreneurs. As you explore these resources, and others like them, you’ll find that there is a plethora of information created to help entrepreneurs both start and grow their businesses. To make a dent on these resources, in the beginning, you may want to devote at least one afternoon every week toward educating and inspiring yourself to be a better business leader. After you have built up a solid foundation of business knowledge, you can continue to either add time during your workdays or your weekends to read up on some of these helpful resources so that you can ensure that your small business will grow and thrive for many years to come.

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Posted by Christopher Jan Benitez

Christopher Jan Benitez helps small businesses achieve their goals through his freelance writing services. Outside of work, he has a passion for professional wrestling (it's still real to me, damnit) and constantly craves for Philadelphia cheese.

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