There’s a problem that nearly all of us have in 2016. Content. There’s too much of it. It’s become increasingly difficult to find the signal in the noise. As a busy small business owner, you want to find information that will be useful to you today. And yet, for every post on some Quickbooks trick that will save you from spending an accumulated 36 hours pounding your head on your keyboard every year, you have to wade through articles pitching ‘The Top 10 Drake Bars to Help Small Biz Owners Keep It Lit Fam’.
This is a list post. It epitomizes ‘content’ and yet, it is different. There are many other blog posts out there that consist of exhaustively long lists of allegedly useful blogs, publishers and resources. This is not one of those. The list is short and sweet, with concise descriptions and a sample article to let you know it’s earned its inclusion.
Our assumption is that you have better things to do online than sniff around looking for scraps among the remorseless, barren seafloor of the business blog interweb.
So please, consult (or bookmark) this list for a digest of the news and views that matter, and get back to reading about sportsball, or watching supercuts of George Costanza freaking out as he enters Jerry’s apartment, or whatever weird things it is that you get up to on the internet.
BizSugar is sort of like Reddit for small business news and related content. People find and share (or post their own) links to content that would be helpful to small business owners, and the best content rises to the top as the community upvotes it. The content leans pretty heavily on various marketing advice, but at one point or another, all the bases get covered. If nothing interests you on the front page, you can use the menu at the top of the page to browse by topics that you might be interested in.
This submission about tips for formatting a business plan recently received a lot of support.
Speaking of Reddit, the /r/smallbusiness sub-Reddit is a very good resource for commonly asked small business questions. Where it differs importantly from Bizsugar is that most of the content is actually small business owners asking questions to be answered by the community of small business owners who frequent the sub. There are related subs for entrepreneurs, startups and more, which you can find linked on the right hand side of the site.
This thread about how to compete when a large corporate competitor threatens your business is full of wisdom and encouragement.
Small Biz Trends
Small Biz Trends is one of the most useful sites on the web for small business owners. It’s updated throughout the day with news, reviews, blog posts, opinions and all around actionable advice. You’ll find articles about how to be an effective manager, checklists to help you ensure that your business is structured in the most advantageous way, tax and legal advice and more.
This article about training new employees in a small business setting was widely shared on social media.
US Small Business Administration
The site of the US Small Business Administration is an incredible resource for small business owners of all kinds. The administration is dedicated to helping small businesses in a variety of ways, from loans to help with contracts and even counseling. While there is a huge amount of information on the various assistance programs available to SMB owners, the site also operates a very useful and frequently updated blog covering a wide array of topics. The information here is as authoritative as it is comprehensive, and you may regularly come across content or programs that may transform your business.
This article sharing research about the current state of crowdfunding might be useful for anyone looking to grow their business through alternative funding sources.
The site of Entrepreneur magazine contains a mix of practical, applicable advice for the boots on the ground daily grind of owning and operating your business, but it also contains a lot of motivational content. And let’s be honest, there are days when this type of thing can be very useful. One of the great things about this site is that because they cover such a wide array of topics, you’ll likely stumble upon articles that it would never have occurred to you to search for.
This article about how to manage employees that are smarter than you is full of surprising wisdom about a very little discussed topic.
Fit Small Business
The Fit Small Business site is neatly organized into sections that you likely have questions about each day. Sales & Marketing, Raising Money, Starting a Business, Running a Business, Hiring and Managing and Accounting all have their own verticals which are easily navigable. If you’re trying to get your head around a subject and looking for new insights, this is a good place to go.
Do you operate a business that has a type of customer that is under-represented by your staff? Increase the diversity of your team using these tips about the different factors to consider when recruiting Millennials, Gen X-ers, and Boomers.
The BPlans blog is a bit of a hidden gem for curious business owners. The writers provide thoughtful articles on planning, starting and managing your business. The focus is on practical, actionable steps that you can easily implement toward making your business (or business idea) a success.
This article entitled Handy Resources to Help You Start and Run a Successful Cafe is representative of the type of specific, intelligent advice they offer every day.
Local Visibility System
From SEO to general local marketing advice, online and offline, as well as news about Yelp and other platforms focused on local business, Local Visibility System’s blog is full of knowledge that can help your customers find you, review you and more. Sometimes it can be difficult to know how to create the most awareness for your business online, this site will help you understand and implement best practices.
This article about creating effective pages to encourage your customers to write reviews for your business can help you utilize the network effect offered by review sites.
Duct Tape Marketing
Duct Tape Marketing is a blog that shares information and views about general business topics, but it’s bread and butter is the nuts and bolts of marketing your business. It is both a blog and a very popular podcast, wherein they host prominent voices in the SMB community. Your next marketing strategy could easily come from one of the many posts shared here, but you’re just as likely to find something that inspires you to re-dedicate yourself to your business each day.
This article about how to regain the passion for your business when it’s just not fun anymore is an encouraging look at an underdiscussed and very common issue.
Small Business Labs
As Small Business Labs describes themselves, they ‘cover the key social, technology and business trends impacting small business.’ And that’s exactly what they do. Whether you want to know about coworking spaces, helpful new apps, changes to search algorithms, research into the gig economy or anything else that ticks the ’emergent’ box, they’ve got you covered. If you want to operate a thoroughly modern business and know what’s going on at the cutting edge of the rapidly transforming workplace, this is the site for you.
This article about how the gig economy is declining in rural America could tell you a few things that might be interesting — for instance, if you’re looking to hire gig-based workers, their interest may be on the wane — conversely, there may be skilled workers who you can hire as they transition to full-time work.