Following the success of our other post where we interview a wide range of entrepreneurial experts to discover their wisdom, we decided to do another round. However, this time, we look at what resources they'd recommend.
Authority Hacker Pro from Gael Breton at the blog of the same name is hands down the best resource if you want to quickly master online marketing techniques that grow your traffic, leads, and sales. Yes, there is a bit of a learning curve to some of the tutorials - but that’s because they work. Great stuff.
My second resource is the Multiply Authority podcast with Matt Wolfe (I know, there’s a lot of authority going on here but that’s what we want!). You can expect excellent interviews on how to build a trustworthy, high profile online brand. Superbly put together.
Thirdly, check out the Virtual Valley podcast from my fellow Brit Tom Hunt. On a daily basis, this great show documents the process of building a startup from ’soup to nuts’ as they say in America - all in brutally honest detail. A must-listen show.
Loz James Content Champion
It's really easy to get distracted these days when starting your own business, especially when you're active on researching for things (that should be useful) on your own over the web - which often influences the decisions and actions that today's entrepreneurs make.
That's one reason why I chose to only follow a few publishers in the past in this particular space, back when we were still on our startup stage, which genuinely helped us grow our company:
Old Dan Kennedy tapes from the 90’s - Learn from the best: successful multi-millionaire entrepreneur Dan Kennedy.
YouTube - You can learn pretty much everything you need to know about starting a business on YouTube, from learning to tie a tie down to lead generation and marketing.
Every waking second - Your time is the most valuable resource you have when you're starting a new business. If you want your business to thrive, then you need to put every ounce of your being into making that happen.
Here are recommended startup resources picked from Philadelphia and Boston universities entrepreneur resource pages:
The common ones that are the most useful for startups are:
Bplans.com – Business plans are important components of any startup because the research required to complete them will help entrepreneurs understand their product, business, market, limitations, risks, and a host of other things. Bplans makes it easy to navigate your way through the process of creating a plan with as little pain as possible.
SME Pals – Offers a strong focus on the startup phase, and in particular provides excellent inspirational resources on coming up with new business ideas, refining them, and then turning them into promising startups. Plenty of practical advice on how to overcome common startup barriers quickly and efficiently.
SBA – The government’s Small Business Administration offers a range of benefits for U.S. based startups including advice on tax, accounting, funding, legal and other administrative tasks associated with starting a business. Plenty of useful nuggets of information if you’re prepared to dig for it.
We regularly use Quora, a community-fueled question-and-answer site. Its benefits are not only that your questions are answered very quickly and thoroughly, but also, it is a means to market your business. So far the content we have created on the platform is content that stays in the spotlight and constantly sends clients to our website and generates many leads.
Inc.com and Entrepreneur.com are also two great sites that regularly publish tips for entrepreneurs, startups, and marketers.
Eirini Kafourou communication for Megaventory the cloud-based inventory management and system that can help small businesses synchronize stock and manage purchases and sales over multiple stores.
The community is packed with insightful case studies on how successful companies such as Etsy, Slack, Spotify and other startups pivoted and scaled their businesses.
The daily podcast explores that mistakes startups and their founders have committed and learned from. Great examples include interviews with Nathan Kontny of Highrise and Eric Siu of Single Grain.
Need to code without any coding experience? Do you want to automate some of your marketing efforts? There's always an app for almost any campaign any startup may have. Product Hunt is a great place to look for these community-tested tools and resources and I absolutely love the collections, which I think many startup founders will find helpful with their day to day productivity.
Jonha Richman is a UK-based tech marketing consultant with over 9 years of experience advising tech startups with branding and content marketing. She's also a staff writer at Small Business Trends and her works were featured on The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Business Insider, among others.
I do have a go-to podcast that you might want to include. David Risley's is marketed as a course delivered as a podcast and has some great tips and advice for people just starting out. Good luck!
Sandi Krakowski is a huge influencer in social media, especially Facebook. She runs A Real Change where she releases weekly actionable steps for your business. I've had more success with her Facebook Ad and marketing material than any other class or post I've seen.
Fizzle also operates a great podcast for entrepreneurs who want to make a living doing what they love. They have a membership program as well (served up at $35 per month) but the podcast has great information for free each Friday.
Three resources I couldn't imagine not using would be
1) the local library
2) iTunes podcasts
3) a blog.
Try to read one business book a month. I like biographies as well. You can learn so much just from someone telling you their experiences. Listen to podcasts during the workday or commute. You pick up great advice just as you do with books. And write consistently on a blog. It'll improve your writing skills and grow your reputation. It takes more effort than you would think to blog, but commit to doing it for years and you'll have something others don't.
Ghost Blog Writers
True Exec is a startup resource every entrepreneur should use. It has incredible content and business advice from executive thought leaders. It gives you the ability to filter content by category (ex. Forecasting & Budgeting, IPOs, M&A, Raising Capital, Technology, etc.). The content comes from a wide variety of leaders, including Jeff Bonforte (Yahoo), Jay Gruden (Redskins), Lee Iacocca (Chrysler), Larry King, Chris Nassetta (Hilton), and Bill Novelli (AARP). Users must register to see all the content, but everything is free — which is exactly what startups need!
I would add Ted Talks to the list for a similar reason. The content is incredible and it comes from people who have "been there and done that.” It is a non-profit organization and much of the content can be accessed online for free. Additionally, I think LinkedIn is a great resource for startups. I use it constantly for networking, maintaining business relationships, and pitching new concepts — all of which can be done for free.
This is a great community to join if you’re interested in growth. Even if you're already an experienced ‘growth hacker’ or marketer, you’ll still find a ton useful and interesting information here. Ultimately, this is a great place to ask questions, learn about strategies, and network.
Hubspot can be a great resource for learning about inbound marketing and sales. Even though Hubspot does sell marketing automation software, their blog largely avoids directly pushing their products. Instead, they focus on general strategy and best practices that can be applied by any business. If you’re looking to grow your user base, you should definitely start here.
There are a ton of tools and resources available to startups. Unfortunately, knowing what's available and choosing between products can be a daunting task. Luckily, StartupResources simplifies this process by compiling all of the best tools in one place. Simply choose a product category and StartupResources will provide you with a list of awesome tools.
If I was a startup and was looking for great resources, I'd first go through all of UserOnboard's TearDowns to make sure I have the best onboarding experience through my website and/or app. Secondly, I'd got through Oli Gardner's Landing Page Course to make sure I understand how to build solid lead generation funnels. Third, I'd review and apply the tips in this email automation guide. Fourth, I'd learn how to do PPC through this webinar and learn Facebook PPC from this Facebook lead gen video. If you do those 4 things, you are ready to be in business and ready to kick butt!
Backlinko. Understanding the complicated ins and outs of search engine optimization (SEO) is not easy, so it’s helpful to find a resource that breaks down how to do it in simple steps. The articles even provide the exact wording of the emails to send webmasters in order to get valuable backlinks to your site!
Criticue. Starting up a business and making all the decisions can be a lonely experience at times, so any kind of human connection or feedback is welcome. Criticue and a host of similar sites make you “earn” the right to get feedback for your idea by first giving feedback to others for their ideas. Reap what you sow!
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eli Goldratt. In the business circles I travel, most agree that this was the single most helpful business book they’ve read. Written as a novel, the reader follows the protagonist on an odyssey of business failure, recovery, and success by sequentially harnessing the power of continuous improvement and the Theory of Constraints. A must-read for any startup.
Derik Timmerman spent six years at McKinsey & Company consulting Fortune 500 companies in Project Management, Performance Transformation, and People Strategy; before that, he graduated with honors from the United States Military Academy at West Point and earned two Bronze Stars as a Military Intelligence Officer during two combat tours in Iraq. He’s now the co-founder and CEO of Spreadsheet Sherpa, an insight services company committed to helping businesses, professionals, academics, and students complete projects with Microsoft Excel and enhance their impact through analytics.
Jen Cohen Crompton and Alex Gizis
The startup industry is booming. More entrepreneurs and small business owners have launched their own businesses in the largest year-over-year increase in the past 20 years. Unfortunately, 50% of all new businesses fail within the first five years. To avoid going under, entrepreneurs should take advantage of the technology made especially for them, to help with time management, increase productivity and stick to budgets. Below, there are five apps that stand out from the rest in their effort to help small businesses succeed:
Asana: a project management app that lets technology be the taskmaster by letting your team create and assign tasks and make comments and updates, so you stay out of your inbox and focused on the task at hand
NeatCloud: the online cloud service provided by The Neat Company; it works with their line of innovative scanners and smart organization technology to keep your business’ paper and digital files organized and accessible anytime, anywhere; plus, it integrates with a number of third-party applications like tax software and contact organizers to give your team a single, seamless smart organization solution
Evernote: allows you to collect projects, lists, web clippings and store them in a secure, collaborative hub to share with your team and inspire creative collaboration
Speedify: intelligently combines mobile data and Wi-Fi, providing you with fast, unbreakable connectivity whenever you’re on the go, meaning you can download a client presentation from your smartphone in lightning speed, successfully download important business documents from your cloud provider and ultimately make your smartphone more powerful.
Tripit: a travel app that lets you create a master itinerary of your trip, keep it all in one place on your smartphone or computer, and share the itinerary with your team so everyone is informed of one another’s whereabouts.
These are just a few of the tools that can help small businesses get organized, stay focused and save time and money. With these solutions in place, the success of a small business is all but guaranteed.
Jen Cohen Crompton is a small business expert and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Neat Company and Alex Gizis is the CEO and co-founder of Connectivity, the leader in making complex networking technology simple and effective.
Hi! My name is Kris Wheaton and I am a professor at Mercyhurst University where I run the Quickstarter Project. Quickstarter is designed to help start-ups take advantage of crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter. We have worked with over 90 different start-ups in the last year and here are some of the tools we use with people just starting out:
PicMonkey – One of the most important needs of entrepreneurs is to make the pictures of their products look good. Most entrepreneurs can’t afford or don’t have the time to learn Photoshop, though. Picmonkey is a dead easy online program that is free and does a more than adequate job of editing pictures. There is a for-pay version that adds some neat features but the free version satisfies 90% of what a startup needs.
Animoto – this is like Picmonkey but for video. All you do is upload your video and graphics, select your music from hundreds of copyright-free songs and let Animoto work its magic.
Fancy Hands – This is a virtual assistant service that charges by the request. They will do anything that does not require physical presence. I have used them successfully for years.
Google Suite – Docs, drive, etc. Gmail and the google suite of tools and services are well known to most startups but it is still worth mentioning. I find that the real power of the Google suite comes in collaborative environments. The ability, for example, to have multiple people working on the same doc at the same time is actually energizing.
Facebook Advertising – I do not think there is a cheaper way to reach a highly targeted audience than through Facebook advertising, especially for consumer products. I have accumulated 1000-4000 of real and highly relevant likes on dozens of projects for just a few hundred dollars. Hope this helps!
Kristan J. Wheaton
I'm Bryan Clayton CEO of GreenPal which is best described as Uber for Lawn Care.
Over the last three years, I have studied and absorbed as much as I could from these three following resources and feel like I have an MBA and tech start-up business.
Growth hacker TV Bronson Taylor is the curator of this resource he has interviewed hundreds of professionals in start-up growth, venture capital, product, and marketing; it is hugely invaluable.
Bright local webinar series
This is a video webinar series about search engine optimization at a local level.
So many startups have to market their products in local geographies so knowing how to achieve high Google placement in local areas is essential to success.
This week in startups This is more of a blue-chip resource that probably everybody knows about however it goes without saying much of what I've learned especially when I was a newbie has come from Jason Calacanis and his hundreds and hundreds of interviews with other professionals and start-ups.
First, I've always found follow in strong communities. The two I find myself returning to over and over are GrowthHackers and Inbound.org. These two take a growth mindset which I feel every startup should have. "How can we do the most with the least?" These sites offer tutorials, comprehensive strategies, a list of tools that help you discover new resources in all areas and an active community to engage with.
I've been getting a lot of value out of Feedly lately too. I just don't have the time to scrape through the crud of the Internet, now exactly what I want comes to me.
Ryan Ruud is the founder of Lake One, a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Marketing and Growth agency. He's held director and executive roles in various startups from technology to financial services.
As a startup Co-founder, I find the HubSpot, Kissmetrics and Oribi blogs to be incredibly useful and would definitely recommend them as great startup resources. The reason being that the insights these blogs provide are always very relevant, eye-opening, well explained and most importantly, one step ahead of the curve. As a Co-founder seeking to continuously innovate and propel our company forward, I believe that it’s crucial to be up-to-date and aware of all the latest trends in the market. What better way to do so than to really take advantage of the wealth of information these industry leaders share? All of three of these blogs provide real-life, tangible examples and valuable takeaways for any startup business.
Serial entrepreneur and small business leader Craig Bloem who currently is the founder and CEO of LogoMix, credits a book with the cheap and best startup resource:
The book Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank is my number 1 recommended resource for anyone running, or thinking about starting a small or new business. It started the Lean Startup Revolution and covers important topics such as how to use your customers to develop your business, how to take risks without risking everything, and the many ways that running a small business is different than a large corporation. Steve provides a framework and methodology for entrepreneurs to rapidly iterate a business idea to find a market fit.
Craig Bloem is an accomplished entrepreneur and marketing authority. He’s the founder and CEO of LogoMix, an online logo maker that serves more than 20 million users worldwide each year. He is also co-founder and former vice president of marketing and business development at Performable where he helped lead the company’s sale to HubSpot.
Techmog.com - occasionally I contribute to Techmog.com which is a great London Tech Blog focused on hardware startups, product design, and founder interviews; perfect for those key insights.
docstocTV - offers great video led career and entrepreneur advice on creating your startup, dealing with potential issues and helpful hints to guide you along the way.
Tech City UK - for those who live in London and are unsure about whether to begin a startup, TechCityUk.com is the perfect entry point with community resources, localised reports and plenty of learning tools to get you going.
1.) The Indie Business Network. This is a website that is geared towards mentoring small business owners who make handcrafted goods like soaps, lotions, and skin care. They are amazing. I don’t know where I would be without them. They offer podcasts, private mentoring and affordable product liability insurance.
2.) YouTube. I live on youtube. There are countless tutorials on everything and anything to help small business owners. The best part is that the service is free.
3.) The book.. "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson
Blu Skin Care, LLC
1) Mixergy Podcast - Andrew Warner has put together this great show where he interviews other startup founders about their journey and what they did right and wrong to get where they are today. There are truly pieces of gold in every one of his interviews. He's also a very gifted interviewer and isn't afraid to ask some hard-hitting and detailed questions which many others wouldn't push on.
2) The Dynamite Circle: This is a forum of location independent entrepreneurs around the world, many of them ex-pats living over in South-East Asia and elsewhere around the world. These guys and girls are masters in running businesses that can be managed from a laptop no matter where they are located. They also have 2 great conferences every year, one located in Bangkok and the other in Barcelona.
3) Microconf - This is an amazing conference that sells out quick, so make sure to get on the list and get your passes as soon as they become available. You'll hear some of the best-bootstrapped entrepreneurs of our time speaking at each conference. By the time you're done with this event your head will be spinning and your motivation to get cranking on your business will be at an all-time high, guaranteed.
Use a communication tool that helps you get more done with your team - we use a combination of Asana, Slack, and Dropbox/Google Docs to stay productive.
Listen to Amy Porterfield on the Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast - it's a treasure trove of content and tips useful for start-ups.
Read the book Rework - still one of the best books about start ups, getting shizz done and building a successful business by flipping conventional "business" strategies on their head.
If I had to choose my 3 favorite resources for start-ups the top ones would be Inbound.org, GrowthHackers.com, and Fiverr.com.
Inbound is great for both traffic generation - boosting the visibility of your own articles and for finding the most up to date news in online marketing.
GrowthHackers is great for start-ups to find and share the most innovative and cost-effective ways to grow their business without breaking the bank.
In the same way, Fiverr also offers some really great services and outsourcing options for the start-up business on a budget.
My top 3 favourite startup resources:
- #AskGaryVee Show (youtube channel, podcast), everything entrepreneurial, online marketing, and social media trends
- Financial Sense Newshour (podcast), current economic market and trends
- Feedly (app, customized newsfeed), keeps me up to date with business news.
Here at Shoprocket we'd like to thank everyone for taking part. If you have any recommendations for resources or podcasts, please let us know or tell us on social media!
Are you interested in selling online? Get started with Shoprocket today!
Are you interested in selling online? Get started with Shoprocket today!