Starting a Business: How to Become an Entrepreneur
Starting a business can be extremely exciting, challenging and fulfilling. The Web sites below will help you weigh the sense of ownership and accomplishment associated with entrepreneurship against the long hours and potential stress. These resources will also help you start your business and provide the necessary information to keep it running smoothly. Finally, this guide can connect you with the entrepreneurial community.
Have you ever had a great idea for a business, but weren’t sure if you should or could take the steps to implement it? The first part of this section can help you decide whether you’ve got what it takes to start your own business, while the second part can aid you in choosing what kind of business to start.
- Certainly, online self-assessments are not foolproof. After all, there are many varieties of entrepreneurial personalities out there. If the sites indicate that you’re not the entrepreneur type, don’t give up. Use the sites as guides, not mandates.
- Maybe your business idea is on a particularly small scale: you’re interested in becoming a freelancer. The findingDulcinea Freelance Web Guide can help you find work, file taxes or manage your clients.
To help you decide whether to start a business …
To decide what kind of business to start …
offers the article "Choosing a Product or Service to Sell," that asks you 29 questions about your potential new business, including "Would you sell…[the product] to your mother, your best friend, your next-door neighbor?" and "Do you personally like the customers who'll be buying this product or service?"
has an article, "5 ways to start a company (without quitting your day job)," that presents five real-life examples of employees who have used their know-how, connections or salaries from their jobs to start companies of their own.
Now that you’ve decided entrepreneurship is for you, it’s time to start your own business. The sites in this section will hopefully make that monumental task slightly less daunting, and explain how to get started, as well as how to manage your business’ finances and legal affairs.
- One way to start a business with a bit less risk (albeit with more restrictions) is to open a store that’s part of a franchise. If you have a particular franchise in mind, check the company Web site to get more information about opening a store of your own.
- The sites listed below serve entrepreneurs in general so they may not have information specific to your industry. Try searching online for resources specific to your industry of choice. Online trade publications or niche communities can provide some great advice (and potential contacts or a customer base) for your new business.
- Online banking is an easy (and convenient) way to keep track of your business expenses. The site Wesabe.com allows you to track your spending across all of your online accounts; you’ll also find spending, saving and goal-attaining advice from other Wesabe community members.
For financial and legal information …
provides trusted legal information to business owners and consumers. Look for legal advice associated with financing your business, obtaining licenses and permits, and even naming your business.
You’re certainly not alone in your business endeavors. There’s a large community of entrepreneurs out there, and if you network with them, they may be able to help you develop your business. Use these great Web resources to find other entrepreneurs and make useful contacts for advice, for partnership or just for camaraderie.
- Many online communities of entrepreneurs include businesspeople from all sorts of industries; even if you’re not selling the same item or dealing with the same clientele, you’ll still be able to get valuable advice from other new business owners.
For professional networking sites …
has an online community where you can use your StartupNation profile to find "buddies" on the site who might serve as potential industry connections. Take a look at the forums where you and other entrepreneurs can ask advice of one another and even post job openings.
is a networking site that allows you to set up a profile, then connect with past and present colleagues and former classmates, or search for other people in your industry.
lets you create a profile and add links to sites with your professional information and examples of your work; it’s a great place to add a link to your new business Web site. Make some new friends by having a cup of coffee delivered to your business associates through Ziggs, or save time by simply clicking an icon to pay clients or vendors using PayPal.
For entrepreneur conferences, trade shows and events …
TSNN.com (Trade Show News Network)
makes it easy for you to find industry trade shows. Search for events by name, industry, location or all three. Also look for product/service providers in your area or profession, or find venues where you could hold an event or trade show.
has a fairly comprehensive list of upcoming industry conferences and events around the world. Search by industry or keyword on the homepage, or use the advanced search feature
to search by specific event name, country, city, date, business category or keyword.
For entrepreneur blogs …
Small Business Trends
is edited by Anita Campbell, the CEO of Small Business Trends LLC, an information and media company. Find current events and issues that may affect entrepreneurs in an easy-to-understand format. Campbell writes some of the entries herself, and compiles other articles for the blog.
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