If you’re just starting out with a small business of your own, chances are that a little advice from seasoned small business entrepreneurs can help. Whether it’s learning how to balance your books, hire the right employees, meet your tax obligations or provide good customer service, getting advice from folks who’ve already blazed the trail can reduce your learning curve.
The great thing about the Internet is that advice on just about any subject is just a few clicks away. The downside is that not all of this advice is great advice. To help small business entrepreneurs find reliable online sources of encouragement, advice and caution, we’ve combed respected business publications to provide you with links to some of the best blogs about small business on the Internet.
1. Small Business Trends (www.smallbusinesses.blogspot.com ) This blog was started by a former Bell & Howell executive and gives readers a look at a variety of worldwide issues and trends that impact small businesses. The blog connects readers to expert articles, news, interviews and books summaries to give readers a good idea of the major trends in small business entrepreneurship.
The wide range of articles is helpful because it can provide business owners in specific niches with advice about their particular business and the issues it faces.
2. Duct Tape Marketing ( ) If you’re a small business operating with a shoestring marketing budget, this helpful site offers expert advice on low-cost, high-impact small business marketing. The site offers advice from some of the big names in marketing, such as Dan Jana, Martin Jelsema, and Jill Konrath.
Some helpful tips gleaned from the site for inexpensive marketing include purchasing public radio sponsorships and creating interest in your direct mail offerings by differentiating them from the standard bulk rate mail with different coloring or asymmetric packaging shapes.
If you’re just starting out in marketing, the site can help you pick a small business field to go into by teaching you to analyze data to create businesses that cater to specific niche markets, such as extended family vacations.
For a wide variety of sources, All Business Blog Center is a great site. At All Business Blog Center you can find expert commentary on management, sales, the legal aspects of small business, online entrepreneurship, marketing and more. All Business Blog Center’s strength is its organization, as the site has a list of browsable categories that can help you quickly get to the information you’re looking for. The site also provides some great business letter templates you can use.
Most of the posts on All Business Blog Center are related to beginning businesses, so the site’s usefulness to established businesses may be limited.
4. Small Business SEM (http://www.smallbusinesssem.com/) This site largely focuses on how small businesses can use the Internet to their advantage. Run by an Internet marketing consultant, this site provides advice on search engine optimization, using social media and other online marketing topics. The site is one of the most popular small business blogs on the Internet and updates frequently, so it’s definitely worth looking at if you’re trying to increase traffic to your website or use Facebook and Twitter effectively.
5. Dane Carlson’s Business Opportunities Weblog – (http://www.business-opportunities.biz/) For entrepreneurs looking for the right niche before jumping into a small business, this is a must-see site. Updated frequently, Carlson’s blog points out a variety of great small business opportunities for entrepreneurs. Since 2001, the blog has listed more than 20,000 small business ideas and opportunities. A recent entry profiled a small business that expanded to offering a holiday decoration take-down service.
6. Noobpreneurer (http://www.noobpreneur.com/) – Another great site for new small business owners, this site features articles on small business ideas, low-cost start-ups, online marketing and other items of interest to folks new to owning their own business. The site is a good mix of business theory, as well as practical how-to guides for how to improve your business.
7. Erica.biz (http://www.erica.biz/) One of the more popular small business blogs on the Web, Erica.biz is run by a woman who became a millionaire by the age of 26. The site offers some practical commentary and advice on small business and trends impacting the business world. Skewed toward younger entrepreneurs, the site offers articles aimed at that demographic group.
By checking out these and other business blogs, you can take a lot of the trial and error out of starting your own business by benefiting from the experience of others. The blogosphere frequently changes, and blogs come and go as their writers try new ventures or become established authorities in a subject, so frequently be on the look out for valuable new business blogs you can use to pick the brains of superstars in your industry.