Fresh off the starting blocks, many entrepreneurs find themselves bewildered by the complexity of starting a new business.
Unless you're being handheld, mentored, or otherwise coddled on your entrepreneurial journey, you're going to face some serious challenges. One the biggest challenges is the murky arena of "resources."
But what "resources?" "Resources" can be any variety of things--from money, to time, to talent, to sleep, to who-knows-what-else.
If I were starting at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, here are some resources I wish I knew. I present them now to you.
This list of resources is organized according to task. One or more resources are provided within each task.
Make sure everything is legally up to date.
Don't start a business without some legal wherewithal in your back pocket. Often, entrepreneurs commit lethal legal errors when creating deals, creating the wrong business entity, or failing to create the right contracts.
Avoid these errors from the start by having a conversation with a lawyer. To avoid the gut-punch of high fees, you can take a lawyer's advice, but create your own legal documents using one of the following resources:
Disclaimer: No online legal documentation site is a substitute for a competent lawyer.
Put a website up.
Get your online presence established as quickly as a possible.
After determining your business name and URL, get a website established as quickly as possible. I prefer WordPress because it's widely used and easy to create.
A quick and easy alternative to WordPress is Click Funnels, which helps you start capturing website leads from the start or setup a quick high converting sales funnel.
Make a logo.
Create a logo as early as possible. The visual identity of your website matters. Any logo is better than no logo.
Get access to funding.
Funding is easily one of the biggest challenges of any startups. There are no quick-and-easy resources that will get you up and funded in no time, but there are some options that are easier than others:
- Angel.co – Get in touch with investors, and network with other startups.
- Crowdfunder.com – Raise capital and get funded fast.
- Indiegogo.com – A great funding choice, especially for cause-related startups
- RocketHub.com – This crowdfunding source is popular among arts and science startups.
- Kickstarter.com – The original crowdunding sites helps many sole proprieterships and creative startups.
You'll need to find the funding model and approach that's best for your risk appetite, your goals, and the nature of your business. The money is there, and you can find it.
Build a mailing list.
Keep on schedule.
Time is the most valuable resource of any startup. For sticking to goals and tasks like a pro, use an app like TeamGantt.com. To plan your blogging schedule in WordPress, try an editorial calendar plugin.
In a tech-driven world, your startup is going to need development. But how do you find developers, especially if you don't have a development background yourself?
Here are some options for you:
- Upwork.com – Your results may vary, but Elance is a marketplace for a lot of great freelance developers.
- Guru – Another freelance-driven developer site is Guru.com. They have more than just developers. You'll have to filter through a lot of applications, depending on your needs.
- Toptal – Toptal boasts some of the world's finest developers. Yes, you'll pay top dollar, but you're virtually guaranteed top talent.
Manage your sales pipeline.
One of the most critical aspects of a startup is the sales pipeline. Don't leave this aspect of your business to chance. ProsperWorks is a customizable CRM that works seamlessly and brilliantly.
Read the right stuff.
Every entrepreneur is a learner. Unless you're constantly gaining knowledge and insight, you’re going to stagnate, and your startup will reflect it.
Find the leading blogs in your niche, and keep up with them. You'll also benefit from the following:
If you’re looking for growth strategies, check the following out:
If you have physical products, these blogs are great resources:
- A Better Lemonade Stand – A great blog to learn about handling your logistics and sourcing products.
- Shopify Blog – Everything about Shopify and ecommerce.
- Shopify Nation – A great resource to learn how to grow your ecommerce site and modify your Shopify store.
- Practical Commerce – Latest ecommerce tips and news.
The best resources are those that are equal parts education and inspiration. Entrepreneurship can be thoroughly draining, and you need a regular battery recharge.
The best entrepreneurs are those who are aware of the best resources. You don't need anything time consuming or expensive. you just need to know where to find it.
This list of resources can take you from entrepreneurial ground zero to cruising altitude in virtually no time.
What are your go-to entrepreneurial resources?