As a small business owner, you’re probably used to handling everything yourself. No fire is too big for you to put out—because if you don’t do it, who will?
Small business owners are independent to the core: that’s what the freedom of entrepreneurship is all about, after all.
Except everybody needs advice now and then… Even small business owners.
Sometimes you just don’t have the skills, experience, or time to figure out how to fix a problem. Or maybe you’ve realized that there’s no point reinventing the wheel each time you encounter an obstacle—because someone else has done most of the heavy lifting for you already.
Take it from us: good small business advice can go a long way to clearing those distractions and unnecessary challenges off your plate. There’s just no need to waste time dealing with problems when the solutions are out there.
That’s where we come in.
Just for you, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of 34 places you can go to seek out the best small business advice around. Whether you’ve got a specific issue in mind or you just want to browse around, it’s worth taking a look at all the small business advice going around.
Let’s get to it.
Best Small Business Advice: Meetups
Call us crazy… But we think one of the best ways to get small business advice is simply by asking other small business owners.
Whether you’ve got an issue with your industry or are struggling to connect with your community—or you’re facing a more widespread issue, like managing finances or looking for funding—there are always people you could talk to.
That might mean you start attending meetups in your neighborhood or get a group of likeminded entrepreneurs together for Thursday pizza dinners. However you do it, scoring some quality facetime with other small business owners on a regular basis can help you get the small business advice you’re looking for.
Here are a few avenues worth checking out.
You mean there’s an entire website dedicated to organizing meetups for groups of people with similar values, interests, and lifestyles?
Meetup.com makes it easy to find local groups of entrepreneurs, whether they’re operating in your industry or talking through specific issues. Browse topics like Small Biz (over 4 million members and more than 10,000 meetups!) and Small Business Owners to find award-winning meetups near you.
For example, the New York City Business Networking Group has been operating for almost 10 years—and offers a wide selection of events, all for free. Or maybe you’re looking for something more local, like the Austin Small Biz Success meetup.
Plus, Meetups.com also offers meetup groups for more specific reasons, like small business marketing, women entrepreneurs, food trucks, restaurant owners, and more.
2. Small Business Expo
While informal meetups are great for regular small business advice sessions, conferences are ideal for structured sessions of learning. Some come at a cost, but many are worth the price tag for the networking opportunities as well as the valuable insights from industry pros.
One such conference is Small Business Expo, held in 10 major cities each year. From NYC to LA—and everywhere in between—these expos include workshops, presentations, panels, and more.
Oh, and did we mention that registration is free?
3. Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
The name is a bit of a mouthful, but the annual WBENC conference is not a meetup to miss if you’re a female entrepreneur looking for guidance and small business advice. You might have to book a ticket out to Vegas for next June’s show, however.
4. Launch Festival
San Francisco, here we come. Got a startup idea or a small business plan you want help turning into reality? Launch is the conference for you, with 15,000 attendees and 250 speakers converging to support and learn from one another. There’s nothing more energizing than being surrounded by motivated peers, each looking to change the world.
5. America’s Small Business Summit
Hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, this conference brings small business owners together in our nation’s capital to share their problems, discuss solutions, meet, greet, wine, dine, and learn. (They also give out awards for small business owners—so the trip could be worth your while beyond the potential for great small business advice!)
6. South by Southwest
Pack your sunscreen—Austin, Texas is host to SXSW, the world-renowned conference on business, tech, film, music, and entertainment entrepreneurship. If you’re searching for small business advice in one of these industries, these showcases, panels, advance screenings, and networking events could pay off.
Best Small Business Advice: Forums
What’s the next best thing to talking to people face-to-face?
Asking them questions online!
That’s why you should also look to internet forums for small business advice. In addition to letting you converse across time zones, geographic barriers, and personal schedules, forums also bring plenty of advantages that meetups can’t provide.
For example, chances are pretty high that most problems you’re running into have been tackled by other people already—so you can just search the forums you trust to find out their solutions. Going back into old forum threads is a great way to get inspired, too.
Here are some of the best forums around for small business advice, direction, and support. Check ‘em out and find a few that fit your needs.
7. Small Business Forum.net
This forum should be your first stop for small business advice, no matter what industry you operate in or how experienced you are. With over 20,000 members discussing topics ranging from legal and human resources to search engine optimization and social media marketing, Small Business Forum.net is a tight-knit community of driven entrepreneurs.
8. Small Business Forums.org
Another big, active community of small business owners offering small business advice, Small Business Forums.org isn’t all that different from Small Business Forum.net. (Go figure.)
But don’t despair—you’ve essentially got two forums for the price of one. Get to know each and see if one or the other fits your personality, interests, or business better. Chat with the active members of the subcommunities you’re drawn to. And, in the worst case scenario, just post any questions you have on both forums!
9. Small Business Brief
Want to share your ideas—or get small business advice from other generous entrepreneurs? Small Business Brief’s forum is another great place to do just that. It’s got nearly 100,000 members and covers a wide range of issues, from computer security to viral marketing.
10. Warrior Forum
Interested in ecommerce? Warrior Forum is the place for you. Browse topics and read small business advice related to every aspect of starting, owning, and running an online business, from internet marketing to filing taxes.
11. QuickBooks Forums
Got a question on small business finances? You wouldn’t be the first—that’s for sure.
So you might be relieved to find out that QuickBooks, the accounting software, maintains its very own small business-oriented forum. Need help with payroll, taxes, invoices, or sales? Look no further. You’ve got a dedicated community of small business finance experts ready to help you out.
12. Startup Nation
Not all small business owners are interested in running a startup—those high-growth, tech-friendly companies that summon cars to your doorstep or sell socks in sets of three. But if you’ve been bit by the Silicon Valley bug, then Startup Nation is the forum for you. Get invaluable small business advice on working from home, dealing with public relations, choosing the right business entity type, raising funding, and just about everything else you need to know.
Alignable is a forum that works a bit differently: it encourages relationship development by making it easy to actually meet other business owners, set up customer referral systems, make and receive product recommendations, and more. It’s a forum with a focus on people.
Best Small Business Advice: Blogs
At the end of a long day, all you want to do is sit back in your E-Z chair, put your feet up, and… Peruse the best small business advice blogs around.
Or is that just us?
Whether or not you’re in the habit of checking small business blogs, they’re a great resource for entrepreneurs on the hunt for wisdom. Most successful business bloggers are smart, funny, easy to read, and on-point with their advice. Here are a few of our favorites.
14. Small Biz Club
Sometimes, all you’re looking for is a simple and straightforward blog on running a small business. When that time comes, make sure to check out Small Biz Club, because it certainly fits the bill. From payroll processing to marketing to millennials, Small Biz Club answers the questions you didn’t even know you had yet.
15. Business Banter
A blog for the entrepreneur who wants a touch of humor mixed into their small business advice, Business Banter is certainly not a resource to miss. Be sure to check out their animated films and funny articles—as well as their useful tips and tricks to running a successful company.
16. Gary Vaynerchuck
No list of small business advice gurus would be complete without Gary Vaynerchuck, master of the entrepreneurial hustle. Whether you’re perusing his blog, watching his videos, or tweeting questions at him, you’re bound to pick up some precious pearls of advice from this Big Personality entrepreneur.
17. Barry Moltz
What a coincidence—”your business unstuck” just happens to be the tagline of Barry Moltz, the wildly successful entrepreneurial consultant and small business speaker. Check out his blog for small business advice on topics from dealing with a delayed flight to financing your startup. (He’s also got a few books on small business ownership you might want to check out.)
18. Location 180
It’s the ultimate office fantasy: quit your job, hop into a convertible, and ride off into the sunset…
Except for Sean Ogle, it wasn’t just a fantasy. It was reality. In 2009, Sean left his job and moved to Thailand to start a business, and hasn’t looked back since. Check out his funny, heartwarming blog to feel inspired about your own entrepreneurial adventure, and to pick up some stellar small business advice.
19. Marie Forleo
Not all small business problems have to do with filing tax returns or figuring out inventory management. Sometimes you’re just wondering whether you’re doing the right thing, how to juggle that entrepreneurial streak with having a family or a relationship, or why you’re feeling so uninspired lately.
Here’s the thing: these are valid issues for every entrepreneur to feel. And Marie Forleo understands that—which is why her blog is filled with small business advice on succeeding as a person, not just an entrepreneur.
Innerpreneur is another blog that focuses on non-technical small business advice—like feeling confident in your choices, being happy as an entrepreneur, and more. It’s not a formal publishing machine so much as a place for Tara Joyce to share her thoughts, feelings, and theories on what it means to be an entrepreneur, but these are all amazing insights that you’re sure to empathize with.
What else would you expect from a website called Blogtrepreneur but a bunch of great small business advice (especially related to blogging and content marketing)? Thankfully, you get what you came for when you visit this blog: product recommendations, proven successful marketing techniques, motivational guides, and more.
Best Small Business Advice: YouTube Channels
While forums and blogs are useful, some people are visual learners—but that’s no problem. In fact, it’s why so many entrepreneurs use YouTube to offer their small business advice to others.
Take a look at some of these YouTube channels and see if any help you out.
22. Behind the Brand
In this YouTube channel, Bryan Elliott interviews the most successful people around—from entrepreneurs to writers, actors, television personalities, singers, and more—to find out their secret ingredients. If your business could benefit from a strong defined brand, then peruse these clips to learn how to build one yourself.
23. Stanford Graduate School of Business
Stanford’s business graduate school offers a pretty stellar YouTube channel that covers commonly-faced issues (like employee management or goal setting) and gives small business advice with a fresh and intelligent perspective.
24. Y Combinator
Interested in technology? If so, Y Combinator’s channel could be perfect for you. This startup incubator interviews famous tech personalities to get their input and advice on growing a business, and also includes videos of their conference panels and talks.
25. Alanis Business Academy
Searching for a YouTube channel to help you with the nitty-gritty of owning a small business? Look no further than Alanis Business Academy, a resource for you learn about balance sheets and income statements, creating video content, human resource management… And much, much more. This channel dives deep into every topic a small business owner might need to know, so take your time to explore—or run a quick search if you’re looking for some specific small business advice.
You might have the greatest business plan in the world, but without solid marketing in place, nobody’s ever going to find out about it.
That’s where Moz’s YouTube channel comes in. Moz is an inbound marketing company—which means they build tools to help bring customers to you—and their videos cover all sorts of great marketing tips, from setting up experiments to how to set up your website’s URLs.
You might not be too interested in this technical stuff, or you might completely geek out over it, but either way… You’re better off knowing why it matters!
27. Brian Tracy
Looking for something more motivational? Brian Tracy can help. Author, speaker, and entrepreneur, Brian Tracy’s videos discuss things like productivity and motivation, leadership skills, positive thinking, employee management, and other topics that all business owners deal with—but that many struggle with.
28. The Rise to the Top
Want small business advice to help you grow your online audience? David Siteman Garland’s channel, The Rise to the Top, tackles just that issue. His videos are simple but engaging and eye-opening—so make sure to check them out.
29. I Will Teach You To Be Rich
Ramit Sethi focuses on the positives—like increasing your income, running an online business, and becoming more confident in your choices—rather than the negatives in life. He concentrates on Big Wins instead of skipping lattes, upping your happiness and job satisfaction, and doing what actually works instead of what sounds best.
Best Small Business Advice: Lawyers
All business owners need legal advice. No business survives without handling a contract or dealing with an employee agreement, and there’s always the possibility that a disgruntled customer will try to sue.
The problem, sadly, is that lawyers are darn expensive.
Your solution? Read all the legal-oriented small business advice you can find before doing, writing, or agreeing to anything that could endanger your business, and then run things by a lawyer before taking the next step.
These resources should help.
30. Rocket Lawyer
While it’s not free, Rocket Lawyer does come with a trial period so you can test out the service before committing. With Rocket Lawyer you get legal templates to download and edit, a lawyer review process for your completed documents, and a channel for asking their experts legal questions. For many, it’s well worth the $39.95 monthly price tag.
For $23.99 a month, you get all the legal small business advice you can handle—and then some—with LegalZoom. Plus, lawyers will review your legal documents and, if you want to pay extra, write those contracts and so on themselves.
32. Law Guru
If you’re looking for the small business advice without the monthly charge (or the documentation help), Law Guru is the perfect resource. Simply post a question and await your answer from a qualified, credentialed lawyer. (It’s always important to note that, with services like these, you should work with a lawyer who knows the specifics of your business if it’s especially important.)
There is a paid version of Law Guru if you need a speedy or especially complicated response, but if you’re just trying to get some basic legal small business advice, there’s no need to pull out your wallet.
Hint: check out their business law category for especially relevant small business advice.
Got legal questions? You can get them answered at Avvo for free—or talk to one of their 90,000 lawyers for a flat $39 fee. While this service won’t be as useful if you’re looking to get a contract or lease reviewed, it’s an affordable way to understand the legal implications of your business decisions.
34. Legal Clinics
There are plenty of local legal clinics out there—just search “small business legal clinic,” plus your city or state, and you’ll find institutions like NYC Business Solutions, The Law Project (for Chicago), the SBLC pro bono project in Oregon, and many more. If you need legal small business advice from a real live lawyer, but don’t have the means to pay for that assistance, then a legal clinic is your best bet.
Getting the right small business advice is a vital part of being an entrepreneur. It might feel like small business owners are supposed to go it alone, but really, everyone needs a helping hand once in a while.
See any resources we missed? Comment below!
The post The 34 Best Places to Go for Small Business Advice appeared first on Fundera Ledger.
from Fundera Ledger https://www.fundera.com/blog/2016/09/08/small-business-advice/