Online Small Business Resources
The Internet has provided entrepreneurs with an incredible amount of resources to build their small businesses. Companies like Google, social networks and online communities are building an impressive infrastructure of informational and logistical online small business resources for the construction of a small business. Below we have summarized some of our favorite free and low cost online small business resources:
The web behemoth Google has a cornucopia of online business resources available to small business professionals. They offer a wide variety of online business resources and programs to assist entrepreneurs in vital capacities such as free business marketing tools, productivity and web presence management.
- Calendar, a powerful calendar app with support for invitations via social media and sharing calendars
- Drive, Google’s free online storage app, includes apps like Docs, Sheets and Slides allows for collaboration and sharing when creating documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
- Gmail, the premier email service available today with seamless integration with other Google products such as Calendar and Drive.
Social Media Online Business Tools
Social media is much more than just a means to catch up with old friends today. Social networks have fundamentally changed the way individuals and businesses communicate and organize. Networks like Facebook and LinkedIn provide unique and powerful tools for small business professionals to communicate with customers and other businesses.
- Graph Search makes demographic and psychographic research as simple as possible. It can be used to quickly and easily search for people, groups and businesses based on their interests.
- Facebook Ads Facebook’s Ad platform allows entrepreneurs to build interactive ad units incorporated into Facebook Pages.
- Insights Small business marketing success hinges on quality traffic information, and Insights provide precise data on how users are using a Facebook Page. This simplifies tracking Facebook marketing strategies, allowing entrepreneurs to optimize Facebook content to better reach prospective clients and customers.
No list of small business online resources would be complete without LinkedIn, a social network devoted to business. LinkedIn offers to following features for entrepreneurs through their Talent Solutions program:
- Recruitment Hiring quality talent is always a hassle for small businesses. With LinkedIn entrepreneurs can post a job, search for talent and research their credentials.
- Networking Connecting with prospective clients, employees, and other businesses can be done simply and securely via LinkedIn.
- Brand Building LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions program offers several tools to build a small business’s brand including the Talent Brand Index to get quantifiable benchmarks on brand strength.
Online Business Resources Community
Long gone are the days where country clubs and the local Chamber of Commerce were the only places to discuss small businesses and startups. There are now many websites which allow large communities of entrepreneurs to get together and discuss the process of building a small business.
- Reddit’s Startup Subreddit the r/startups community is comprised of over 40,000 users who discuss the process of building a business with very little capital. The conversations on this board are fairly free-form and vary in topic from branding to pricing.
- The Small Business Hub This website lives up to it’s name by publishing articles and offering tools geared specifically for the small businesses. It has everything from troubleshooting guides for common problems for small businesses to tools like document templates for business correspondence and insights into many industries and sectors.
Building a successful business has always been a difficult achievement. It takes determination and resolve to overcome the challenges implicit in the process. It will never be easy to build a business but the online small business resources made available by companies like Google, social networks and online communities can help prospective entrepreneurs create the companies and brands of the future.