Starting, managing, and growing a successful small business is much easier said than done. If it were easy, more people would do it – and more people would be successful entrepreneurs and we would have more Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerbergs, and Bill Gates in the world.
In reality, though, entrepreneurship and small business ownership is very difficult. Every day of owning a small business involves a number of curveballs, unpredictable variables, and other challenges that most business schools don’t teach. This career can be especially difficult for first-time entrepreneurs and small business owners. (For more, see our blog: The 5 Scariest Parts of Running a Small Business).
There is some good news, however. There are a number of resources that can provide the help, guidance, and assistance that may seem hard to find at times. In other words, you don’t have to be alone when it comes to navigating the waters of starting, managing, and growing a successful small business. And, you can learn from common mistakes of entrepreneurs – all without having to make those same mistakes on your own.
Below are three critical resources that can help you and your small business succeed, grow, and thrive without breaking the bank:
- Free online small business resources. There are a number of free online resources available to resourceful small business owners and entrepreneurs. For example, the US Small Business Administration provides a number of blogs and free resources on their website. In addition, Luminary Small Business Academy provides free online resources for small business owners as well, including training, white papers, and blogs. The key is to find credible resources that can address the various aspects required for a successful startup or small business to succeed. Beware of free online web-sites and articles that shortsightedly focus on one aspect of small business management rather than providing a balanced view of what it takes to succeed.
- Online small business training courses. Although comprehensive ones are hard to find, there are good online small business training courses available to help small business owners and entrepreneurs succeed. Some sources, such as those offered by the Small Business Administration, can be helpful, although they don’t provide all of the knowledge and skills required to enable small business success. Others, such as certification and degree programs offered by local universities and colleges, are theoretical in nature and do little to provide pragmatic and hands-on training and advice. Luminary Small Business Academy provides a comprehensive, practical, and cost-effective series of online small business training courses that provide the complete skills required to succeed as an entrepreneur and small business owner.
- Hands-on small business consulting and support. This is probably the category that is easiest to find, although most sources of small business consulting are very one-dimensional and focused on one area of specialty, such as small business marketing or search engine optimization. Good small business consultants, on the other hand, will help evaluate and guide you in the one or more areas that provide the most opportunity for improvement in your business. For example, Luminary Small Business Academy offers flat-fee small business consulting services (such as the Startup Accelerator and Small Business Rescue services) that quickly and effectively address the areas of your business in most critical need of assistance, while providing a tangible action plan custom to your specific business and industry.
While there are more resources out there, these are three of the most important resources that every successful entrepreneur and small business owner should tap into. In terms of cost-effectiveness and bang for the buck, there are no substitutes for these three types of small business support.