It’s not easy to start a small business, or an ecommerce start-up. Most people can get started by choosing an affordable shared hosting plan and installing a WordPress website. But then, things get complicated. How will you make your business profitable? How do you choose the right products and services to sell? How do you know when to hire help? Twenty years ago, these questions would have required a formal education in business administration, or countless trips to the library. But today, there’s a wealth of information at your fingertips, thanks to the internet. Some of these
If you want to have access to the fundamentals of an MBA program, then QuickMBA.com is a great place to start. This website is an oldie, but goodie. In fact, it’s so old that you’re going to need a desktop computer to view it. But once you do, you’ll have access to all sorts of MBA program materials, for free. Categories include accounting, business law, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, management, marketing, operations, statistics, and strategy.
If you don’t mind spending a few bucks to learn valuable skills, then try Udemy.com. The great thing about Udemy is that courses are in video format, so that you don’t have to spend time reading lengthy pages of information. Many courses also have workbooks to help you with the lessons. And, you can usually sample a few lessons before deciding to spend money on a course. Pro tip: when you find a course that you like, wait for a sale before purchasing it. For example, if you want to buy this great course on sales training, you’ll see that it’s priced at $94.99. But if it’s not already on sale, wait a week, and the price will usually drop to below $20.
LinkedIn Learning (Formerly Lynda.com)
If you’re a business professional, then it’s very likely that you’ve already got a profile on LinkedIn.com. But did you know that they have a full suite of e-learning materials available right on their website? Back in 2015, they acquired Lynda.com for $1.5 billion, and folded the coursework into their own platform. In addition, there are plenty of networking groups where you can learn from others in your industry.
Small Business Forums
Oddly, many amazing small business resources live on old-school platforms, and SmallBusinessForums.org is no exception. As with Quick MBA, you’re going to need to view this website on a desktop device, but it’s worth it. You’ll get access to a wealth of knowledge in old forum posts, and you’ll have access to other professionals who can answer your questions. Just be sure not to annoy people with questions that have already been answered in the past. Spend five minutes to do a search before posting a question, and lurk a bit to get a feel for the culture of this forum. It’ll make people more receptive to you, and they’ll be more helpful, which translates into more dollars in your pocket.
If you want access to a great forum full of small business owners and entrepreneurs, plus free learning materials, then WarriorForum.com may be for you. Plus, the owners of Warrior Forum took the time to upgrade their platform so that it’s easily readable on mobile devices. They’ve also got a strong focus on digital marketing, including branding, search engine optimization, and social media marketing.
Believe it or not, Facebook isn’t just for socializing. You can explore Facebook groups to find business-minded people to connect with. If you don’t want to mix your business and personal posts, then you can do one of two things. First, you can choose to only join private groups, so that your posts and comments only appear for other members of the group, rather than annoying your friends and family. Second, you could create a business page for your company. Believe it or not, you can actually join some groups under your business name, rather than your personal profile. This is often a good approach if you want to promote your company. Just keep in mind that it’ll be harder to network with people on a personal level.
Up and Coming Websites for Small Businesses and Startups
This list of websites is far from exhaustive. There are lots of online destinations where you can get an education in building your business. And, there are some up and coming websites to keep your eyes on.
As the name suggests, Snackable Solutions is all about giving you bite-sized solutions to common business problems. Sometimes, we don’t have hours to spend on learning information that we barely use. Instead, you can watch a five-minute video on this website or its accompanying Youtube channel. Just keep in mind that this website is very new, and it will be a while before they’ve got a full library of snackable videos to help you get your business off of the ground.