Nothing is more daunting than starting your own business and not knowing where to turn to. There are thousands of articles online, but when it comes down to it, every entrepreneur needs a toolbox that they can trust and count on in any situation.
Whether that means having a solid network of mentors or on-call legal advice, make it a point to know your options before it's too late.
In the early days of working on the business plan for my gym, I had questions all over the map. Does this lease agreement look right? What is a market rate increase? How much do I negotiate before they stop taking me seriously?
For me, having a mentor who had already opened a gym and could answer my nitty gritty amateur questions was so incredibly valuable. So, as you embark on your journey, make sure you have a mentor you can trust (see point 3), and then add these amazing resources to your list.
1. Find an brick and mortar space that supports small businesses.
Working from home behind a computer screen sprawled on your couch is fun, but nothing helps you snap into new ideas and connect with all sorts of people like being at an actual space created for business owners. If you don't have the cash to spare on a co-working space, find an organization that might hold monthly meetings, workshops, or networking events geared towards people just like you.
In San Francisco, CA, I love the NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center and The Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center (they even offer free financial advice meetings). In Denver, CO, I highly recommend Commons on Champa and The Alliance Center.
2. Learn one (or ten) things a day with LinkedIn Learning.
This is seriously my favorite tool in the world. Starting a business means you don't have the funds to hire everyone you need to, so that's when you pull up your sleeves and learn how to do it yourself. LinkedIn Learning has all sorts of courses from digital marketing, logo design, how to deliver an elevator pitch, and even how to properly hire an employee. All of these courses are led by industry experts and is a serious game changer.
3. Connect with a mentor on LinkedIn's Career Advice.
LinkedIn is really on a roll, here. They recently launched a new feature where you specify the advice you need and they'll connect you with someone who has expertise in that field and wants to share their advice. The exciting part is that you won't run into ghosted mentors because these folks have specified that they in fact do want to be a mentor. Simply visit the Career Advice hub on your dashboard to activate this feature.
4. Don't let those legal matters get to you--get informed.
FindLaw's Small Business section is incredible for listing out all of the forms, contracts, and all those FYIs that you didn't even know you needed. On the homepage you can easily access all of the legal topics that could ever exist and even ask questions an active forum. But remember, when it gets down to it, hire an attorney. Good thing this site makes it easy.
5. Get immediate feedback on your idea or website.
If you're tired of asking your Facebook network for a second of their time to provide some feedback, then userinput.io is for you. All you have to do is submit your idea or product and they will find users to anonymously critique your work. It starts at $39 for 10 reviewers and climbs up if you want more eyes.
6. Go in depth with a mentor.
If you're looking for a chance to talk it out with an expert, Clarity connects you with someone who can provide you world class startup advice. Be careful--you get charged by the minute so make sure you know exactly what you want to ask.
7. Attend events
An incredible organization to get involved with is Startup Grind. They host a yearly conference and also have local chapters and workshops. Remember, never stop learning.