The Entrepreneur’s Handbook: 101 Resources for First Time Entrepreneurs

Are you looking to take the leap into starting your own business in 2012? If you’re just starting to think about it, or if you have been planning it for a while, you still may have lots of unanswered questions. The following 101 resources will help you learn more about entrepreneurship, startups, small business, and much more.

Entrepreneurs & Startups

  • Entrepreneur.com – Business ideas and trends from Entrepreneur Magazine. The latest news, expert advice, and growth strategies for small business owners.
  • Forbes for Entrepreneurs – Read the breaking Entrepreneurs coverage and top headlines on Forbes.
  • Inc. Start-up – Advice for founders of start-ups and start-up entrepreneurs on writing a business plan, running a home-based business, naming a start-up business, how to incorporate, financing a start-up, buying a small business, and starting a franchise.
  • Mashable on Startups – Essential technology tips for startups.
  • Entrepreneurs’ Organization – The Entrepreneurs’ Organization is dedicated to transforming the lives of the entrepreneurs who transform the world representing 40 countries with 120 worldwide chapters.
  • About.com for Entrepreneurs – Help and advice for going from the idea stage to business plan to the marketplace and beyond.
  • Harvard Business School Entrepreneurs – A video archives that captures insights from leading members of the School’s entrepreneurial community.
  • Young Entrepreneur Council – YEC is an invite only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs.
  • Ted Talks on Entrepreneurship – Video archive on talks about entrepreneurship.
  • Kauffman Foundation – The Kauffman Foundation works to further understanding of the powerful economic impact of entrepreneurship, to develop programs that enhance entrepreneurial skills and abilities, and to improve the environment in which entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
  • Global Entrepreneurship Week – Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.
  • Business Exchange on Entrepreneurship – This topic covers all things relevant to entrepreneurs, including information on the latest new ventures and tools that help them reach success.
  • SCORE – SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow, and succeed nationwide.
  • Focus – Focus makes the world’s business expertise available to everyone. At the heart of Focus is a network of thousands of leading business and technology experts who are thought leaders, veteran practitioners and upstart innovators in hundreds of different topics and markets.
  • The 10 Best Entrepreneurship Courses of 2011 – University courses in entrepreneurship are better—more useful, more real, more likely to produce actual companies—than they have ever been. Here are 10 we’d love to take.
  • Entrepreneur Finder – Entrepreneur Finder works by matching your interests, information and requirements with the individuals or companies that you are searching for. After you create a profile, you will have free access to contact other members and take advantage of the user search and matching features.

Startup Financing

  • Entrepreneur.com on Startup Financing – Need help on startup financing? Find everything you need to know about startup business financing and how to get your business the money it needs to get it.
  • How Does Venture Capital Work – A simple guide on how venture capital works. firms and funds, and venture capital in a new company.
  • Venture Capital on Alltop – The latest posts from top new sources on Venture Capital.
  • National Venture Capital Association – As the voice of the U.S. venture capital community, the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) empowers its members and the entrepreneurs they fund by advocating for policies that encourage innovation and reward long-term investment.
  • Business Loans, Grants and Financing – Fill out this form to find financing for your small business. This form provides a guide to programs for which you may be eligible.

Business Planning

  • Business, LLCs & Corporations Center – Starting a small business? Learn about LLCs, business plans, financing, and more. Everything you need to start and run a smart, successful small business.
  • Compare Business Types – Use this business structure reference chart to compare common business types. Also see LegalZoom. Both can help you get started with your business filings.
  • Bplans – Bplans offers free sample business plans, business plan software, business calculators, and articles on writing a business plan, starting a business, and other small business topics.
  • How to Write a Business Plan – Whether you’re just starting out, need funding or want to monitor the health of your business, creating a business plan is your first step on the path to success. Read this extensive how-to to get started on your plan.
  • Writing a Business Plan – Now that you’ve decided that you’d like to open a small business, you should put your thoughts down on paper. This way, your business idea is expressed in a plan – a living document that outlines every critical aspect of its operation.

Accounting & Bookkeeping

  • Accounting Basics – Staying on top of your small business bookkeeping is important to your business financing. Learn how to manage your business’ bookkeeping and more.
  • Basic Accounting – Advice for start-ups, entrepreneurs, and small business owners on basic accounting, including how to calculate and track cash flow, profitability, earnings, Ebitda, gross margin, and a business’s breakeven point.
  • 2012 Best Accounting Software Comparisons and Reviews – Compare the top ten accounting and bookkeeping software products for your small business.

Employees

  • SBA on Hiring – When you’re ready to hire employees to work in your business, you’ll need to perform a few key steps to be in compliance with employment laws, and to ensure that your new employees understand the work for which they’ve been hired.
  • Inc. on Recruiting and Hiring Employees – Advice for small business owners and entrepreneurs on recruiting and hiring employees,
  • NOLO on Hiring Employees – When you hire employees, you need to know the rules on job descriptions, interviews, background checks and more. Find out how to gather the information you need and choose the right employee — without violating the law.
  • Open Forum on Employee Management – Current archive of over 230 posts on employee management.
  • About.com on Human Resources – This section of About covers HR management, workplace communication, job descriptions, policies, leadership, and more.
  • Entrepreneur on Managing Employees – Managing employees can be a difficult task. Here is an online guide to managing employees.
  • Fast Company on Hiring Employees – These features can help you identify the skills you need your employees to possess, find the employees you need, and how to link them up with the teams that will best bring out their potential.

Taxes

  • Small Business Tax Center – When you’re running a business, you don’t need to be a tax expert, too. But you do need some tax basics. IRS Small Business Advantage gives you the information you need to stay tax compliant so your business can thrive.
  • SBA on Taxes – This section helps you with every aspect of the taxes you must collect from your customers, including strategies for tax record-keeping.
  • Small Business Tax Strategies – Tax planning is a year-round event if you want to minimize your business’s tax bill. Whether it’s surviving an audit, capitalizing on business deductions, or finding tax-friendly ways to run your business, this Inc.com guide can help reduce your tax obligations and make paying taxes less anxiety provoking.

Online Marketing

  • KISSmetrics Marketing Guides – This page will get you started with marketing guides for social media (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Digg), Google AdWords, email marketing, PPC, and more. All it’s missing is the Beginner’s Guide to Google+ and Content Marketing.
  • The NOOB Guide to Online Marketing – If you’re new to online marketing, this post and infographic explains everything from analytics to social media marketing.
  • The Beginners Guide to SEO – This online guide has 10 chapters covering search engine optimization from how search engines operate to tracking success.
  • Introduction to Blogging – WordPress’ guide to blogging. Also don’t miss these 70+ Resources for Starting a WordPress Blog.
  • Copywriting 101 – This tutorial is designed to get you up and running with the basics of writing great copy in ten easy lessons. Afterward, you’ll get recommendations for professional training, plus links to tutorials on SEO copywriting and writing killer headlines.
  • Getting Started – If you are new to social media or you’re not sure you’re doing the right thing, this page is for you. It contains a number of videos and articles to help bring you up to speed.
  • Getting Started with Google Analytics – Google Analytics is a free analytics tool to track your website’s visitors and traffic. Take a moment to configure your account and use this checklist as a reference to getting the most out of Google Analytics.
  • The Smashing Networks – Need resources on web design? The smashing network includes over a dozen blogs dedicated to web design, CSS, WordPress, and much more.

Essential Software

Small Business Blogs, News & Guides

  • OPEN Forum – A wealth of resources for business owners – videos, articles, blogs, podcasts, and expert advice to boost your business, sponsored by American Express OPEN.
  • NYT Small Business – Find breaking news & money news on mortgage rates, mutual funds, the stock market, bonds & notes, company research, earnings reports and market insight.
  • Mashable on Small Business – Essential technology news and tips for small businesses.
  • Inc. – Get advice, tools, and services that help your small business grow.
  • BusinessWeek on Small Business – Get information for small business startups and entrepreneurs. Find helpful resources about small business management, financing, marketing & technology.
  • Small Business Trends – Small Business Trends is the premier source of information, news and advice covering issues of key importance to the small business market.
  • CNN on Small Business – Latest financial news on small businesses, including tips for small biz owners, small business loans, management, startups and entrepreneurs.
  • Wall Street Journal’s Small Business How To Guide – WSJ small business guide covering how to fund, start, run, buy, sell and manage your small business.
  • Reuters on Small Business – Reuter’s blog section for small business and entrepreneurial advice.
  • Alltop Startups – Alltopstartups is dedicated to profiling startups, reviewing new and top internet and mobile products.

Books for Small Business & Entrepreneurship

  • Best 2011 Books for Entrepreneurs – Some of these are unusual choices that don’t fit neatly into the “business book” genre. But being an entrepreneur involves a lot more than nuts and bolts and outcomes, so this list includes books about leading people, making decisions, the broader
  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t – Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness — why some companies make the leap and others don’t.
  • EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches – Whether you’re sitting at the CEO’s desk, the middle manager’s cubicle, or a card table in your living-room-based startup, EntreLeadership provides the practical, step-by-step guidance to grow your business where you want it to go.
  • The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It – In this first new and totally revised edition of the 150,000-copy underground bestseller, The E-Myth, Michael Gerber dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business.
  • Breakthrough Entrepreneurship – Using examples of companies large and small (Zipcar, Parenting Magazine, Wal-Mart, Google), Burgstone and Murphy teach readers to find and fill an unmet customer need, plan for profitability, strive for sustainability, establish credibility, gather necessary resources, lead and manage effectively, and maintain balance. (Publication Date: March 2012)
  • Midas Touch: Why Some Entrepreneurs Get Rich-And Why Most Don’t – Through two of the world’s most successful and influential entrepreneurs’ real life stories of success, failure, perseverance and purpose, you’ll discover how they do it and whether or not you have what it takes to drive your own entrepreneurial success.
  • Tim Tebow Your Business: Lessons From The QB’s Unlikely Success – The basic complaint about Tebow is that he shouldn’t be winning. And yet, the Broncos keep winning. After starting the season 1-4, the team is now 6-5, just a game out of first place in their division. So how is this possible? And what lessons can be learned for business?
  • 12 Business Lessons from Your Favorite Cartoons – As we grow older and more wise, it becomes clear that these cartoons taught us how to not only be good people, but also good business people.
  • 20 Business Lessons Learned from Monty Python – Skeptical that there are indeed lessons to be learned from Monty Python? These 20 pearls of Pythonic wisdom will show you the light.

Business Lessons

Social Entrepreneurship

  • What is a Social Entrepreneur – Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change.
  • 12 Most Damaging Myths About Social Entrepreneurs – They’re the answer not only to our economy but to issues such as obesity, institutional racism, poverty, sustainability, and other social concerns. Unfortunately there are many misperceptions about social entrepreneurship that are keeping many people from embracing this growing trend.
  • Forbes’ List of the Top 30 Social Entrepreneurs – For the first time in Forbes’ 94-year history, we’ve assembled the Impact 30: a list of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. We’re defining “social entrepreneur” as a person who uses business to solve social issues.
  • Skoll Foundation – One of the leading foundations in the field of social entrepreneurship.
  • Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship – The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship provides unparalleled platforms at the regional and global level to highlight and advance leading models of sustainable social innovation.
  • Business Week on Social Entrepreneurship – Social Entrepreneurship is still in its infancy and has a lot of growing up to do before it will have major impacts. Read updated news, blogs, and resources about Social Entrepreneurship.
  • Social Entrepreneurship on Alltop – The latest posts from top new sources on Social Entrepreneurship.

Top Entrepreneurs 2011

  • Top Young Entrepreneurs 2011 30 Under 30 – Inc.com’s annual list of the top young entrepreneurs in America. See featured profiles and video in this year’s 30 Under 30.
  • Top 10 Female Entrepreneurs – From healthcare to baby food to technology consulting, these female entrepreneurs have forged their way to the top of their fields.
  • Top 10 Black Entrepreneurs – These 10 Black entrepreneurs from around the country bootstrapped their firms and built fast-growing enterprises, earning them a spot on the Inc. 500.
  • Top 10 Latino and Hispanic Entrepreneurs – With family roots that trace back to Spain and Central and South America, these Latino and Hispanic entrepreneurs have built some of the fastest-growing American companies.
  • Top 10 American Indian Entrepreneurs – From IT solutions to military services, these are the top small businesses run by CEO’s of American Indian heritage.
  • Top 10 South Asian Entrepreneurs – From IT services to industrial supply, these are the top small businesses run by CEOs of South Asian heritage.
  • Top 10 East Asian Entrepreneurs – From mobile accessory designer to media outlet, these are the top small businesses run by CEO’s of East Asian heritage.
  • Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs 2011 – For our annual survey of the most promising technology entrepreneurs, Bloomberg Businessweek’s editors and writers weighed input from venture capitalists, angel investors, and other representatives of startups.

We know there are many more resources for entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses out there. Please share your favorites in the comments!

About the Author: Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media enthusiast. Her blog Kikolani focuses on blog marketing, including social networking strategies and blogging tips.

  1. Thanks for the great list of resources. I’m sure a number of them will be posted on my site too (http://www.sixplusthree.com), with all credit to you of course! Keep up the great work.

  2. Excellent resource; a wealth of great advice in a well-organized format!

  3. Usability, Aesthetics, User experience ~ the creative side resources are missing in the list… I believe they form the core of a business

    Thank you for the list. Very helpful

    • You’re welcome Lavanya! There are definitely more things that make up a business that just can’t be included in one place. The Smashing Network link under online marketing does have a lot of sites that cover usability, design, and more for websites.

  4. This is one of the best conprehensive guides I have seen online. Definately bookmark worthy. Great Work KISSmetrics!

  5. Kristi,

    Excellent list! I highly recommend to check out the Foundation podcast. http://foundation.kr/
    It’s a gold mine of information from some of the most successful entrepreneur’s in the tech scene.

  6. Thanks for the compilation, Kristi. As we went about building our start-up (http://www.jodi365.com, a social dating site for Indians and South Asians), we found this compilation also inspiring and useful:

    256 Must-Read Content For All Tech Entrepreneurs
    http://tappen.posterous.com/nice-summary-stanleytang-256-must-read-conten

  7. Great post. So many awesome resources. Thank you.

  8. Great list. I would highly recommend Founder Weekly, http://www.founderweekly.com , which sends out best curated content for entrepreneurs.

  9. Very Nice article neil .Loved it.

  10. Great resource list Kristi. We started our business back in 2005 and it’s a long, rough road.

    • My husband and I are working on starting one for ourselves, and it is tough just figuring out simple stuff. Hoping that this collection of resources will direct people to the right information!

      • Kristi:

        Did not know you wrote this. Great list of information. I would love to hear more about what business you are starting? With a new family member on the way, I bet it’s even tougher to run business.

        I wish you the best!

  11. I hope that EMI, the publisher of Entrepreneur magazine, leaves well enough alone.

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_22/b4230078121476.htm

    • Whoops… I almost ran into that issue not with them, but another brand. Didn’t know creating a fan site would be a trademark infringement!

  12. Great Post. Some of them I read sometimes. But others I didn’t know that existed. Thanks for sharing.

  13. This is an amazing resource for small business owners, current or prospective. You have compiled a very good list of resources to help people get the lay of the land on entrepreneurship as it is shared on the Internet. Thank you so much for this excellent work.

  14. Wow! Awesome list! This is going to be good reading over the holidays!

    Cheers!

  15. Really cool – I search the web daily to find other people that think like me, and have the entrepreneurial psychology. It’s fuel for my creative brain!

  16. Santa exists and works for KISSmetrics ;) ! Thanks for this resources.

  17. You may also want to include http://www.startupbug.com
    Disclaimer: I own and maintain it spam free.

  18. Hi Kristi,
    Educational list like these more than ever convinces me that taking an MBA may not be worth the money. What is important is being able to search for quality info and learning how to make better business decisions/judgments based on ‘real-life practice’ of analyzing, synthesizing various ideas made available to us now by a wide range of industry experts, and determining whether it is right to apply to our business or not.

    Another business tip for business owners is ‘not to do everything’ on their own–especially if it’s not what they’re ‘core competitive value’ is all about. In many cases, it may even be less costly to hire professionals than investing their time and energy on doing it all on their own.

    Regards,
    Celine M.
    http://www.hipscan.com
    “Mobile Engagement & Analytics for an Increasing Mobile World”

    • I’d agree with both points Celine. There are some multi-millionaire entrepreneurs out there that never made it through college, but obviously have all the smarts they need to succeed. I’m sure they also knew when to find someone to help them in the parts of their business they didn’t have the expertise to do on their own.

  19. Very useful Handbook. Thanks for share.

  20. Wonderful list! Thank you so much :)

  21. Your links about blogging are awesome. For some, however, they just don’t have time to blog for themselves.

    For those people, there’s Blogmutt. “We work like a dog to fill up your blog!”

    Blogmutt is a crowdsourced blog writing service. We have a group of great writers who can help you get your business blog filled with great content for only $79 a month.

  22. Hi, I found your blog and read a couple of the posts here. I’ve to say that your blog post

    are very informative. Your blog have benefited me in many ways and I want to say thank you!

    I will be coming back often.

  23. Reading this at the beginning of a new year is what I just needed. This is a great list that gives the right source and inspiration to any would be entrepreneur or those already entrepreneurs and want to be great. Thanks for sharing this

  24. This is a great resource! Thanks for this great overview of useful resources!

  25. Thank you Kristi! This is an awesome list. I really like the Business Lessons category, it is not very common to see this. I appreciate it and I will certainly share it.

  26. Great list. I saw another good one the other day of similar nature. Check out ”
    101 Top Resources for Freelance Professionals & Small Business”:

    http://blog.jobcrowd.com/101-top-resources-freelance-professionals-small-business/

    …a top read also.

  27. Most of the corporations right now are generally relying on their website to get leads, for the service or product they supply. Search engine optimization lend your web site and internet-based …skyscraper seo

  28. This is a great list! Thanks, i am sure it had taken you a lot of time and efforts to compile this

  29. Good to see this list! I would recommend to The Art Of Start – Guy Kawasaki in the books section though. :)

  30. Also check out 101 Startup Lessons-An Entrepreneurs Handbook:
    http://redrocketvc.blogspot.com/2011/09/101-startup-lessons-entrepreneurs.html

    Includes tutorials on strategy, business, sales, marketing, finance, fundraising, HR, operations, technology and other topics.

  31. Danai Panagiwtopoulou Apr 04, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Great advice!! My father is trying to start a business and i suggested he hired freelancers to do the accounting and bookkeeping! What do you think? Is this a good idea, or not?

  32. Very good resource as a first time enterprise. I also provide cash in advance and pay day loan, any one can apply for a pay day loans here http://www.cashcommon.com/order.html

  33. Thank you so much for that precise list of details for start up entrepreneurs. As the world of business needs a step by step process to become successful.

  34. Here’s another community hub resource for entrepreneurs: http://ceoblognation.com. Entrepreneurs and business owners can create their own blog,

  35. Hi Kristi, I’d like to suggest our two sites for inclusion on your lists. The first, http://smallbusinessbonfire.com, is our small business site and blog that provides small business owners with free resources, tips and advice. The second, http://smallbizbonfire.com, is a sister site and serves as an online community for small business owners to come together, share, learn and collaborate with each other. This is free as well.

  36. Very useful to us new budding entrepreneurs in India. Me being one really enjoyed watching the videos on TED and the lessons links.

  37. Awesome list, thank you for sharing!
    Here is another tool for start ups: http://www.waveaccounting.com which is free and (so they state) will always stay free.

  38. Thank you so much for that precise list of details for start up entrepreneurs. As the world of business needs a step by step process to become successful.

  39. What an awesome list of resources for new business owners. This is the kind of information I wish that I had when starting my own business four years ago. Thanks for pulling it together in one place.

  40. Thanks, for your great resource guide, it’s very exclusive and covers all aspects for new business start ups or even more established ones. I will definitely be passing this information onto my clients. I’m sure there is something that every type of business could find useful for their business while saving them an immense amount of time trying to find this many resources on their own. Thanks again!

  41. Hi Kristi

    The online marketing part is amazing, i really appreciate the resources you’ve put forward. I have been using KISSmetrics since long i think its pretty great. Thank you for the post, very informative.

  42. This are very good resoruce guide, much helpful for the for the startups companies like mine,include all points for an individual looking for an answers to the questions.
    Thanks.

  43. I wish that I had this guide when I started my company. It would have saved me from some very costly mistakes. I will pay it forward and use some of the info to help some other people that I know that are just entering the service industry.

  44. Starting a business is really all about preparation. If you take the time to search for resources like this list and put the effort in to learning their content, then you’re far more likely to be successful in your venture.

  45. The biggest mistake of entrepreneurs is the lack of planning as said above. Without a plan in place you will not only fail, but fail miserably. With the world of Google and great write ups like this one young entrepreneurs have much much much more resources than we did 15 years ago. One suggestion I have is look into .DocStoc, they have great 2-3 minute videos (since most entrepreneurs do indeed have ADD) that relay a great message without losing interest. I’d also suggest MindTools HD (iPad app), it has great reading material…anything from team building to time management. Great tools.

  46. Great resource. I think everything an entrepreneur would need in his/her first year is available in this one blog post. Awesome job!

  47. Another resource for first-time entrepreneurs – Wharton entrepreneurship website:

    http://entrepreneurship.wharton.upenn.edu/

    Enjoy,
    M

  48. Well, one of the best things to share to starting entrepreneurs are free resources. I figured I could share some of the free online audio and video training for entrepreneurs I came across:
    http://biz30.timedoctor.com/8-free-video-and-audio-trainings-for-entrepreneurs/

    That should be helpful.

  49. I’d also recommend Divestopedia, which is all about selling. There seems to be a ton of resources surrounding starting up, but not the exit. Site is at: http://www.divestopedia.com

  50. Vincent Churchil Jan 09, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Excellent and actually a heavy list of resources. I believe this page has got the most number of outgoing links. I would like to make it much heavier by suggesting some best tools I know, such as Replicon timekeeping software.

  51. Skysoft provides Computer Support, IT Management, and Cloud Management. From complete building cabling to complex software development.Small business it services orlando

  52. A great resource for people new to business! Just remember to keep reading. It’s an ongoing learning process :)

  53. Incisive! I really appreciate it.

  54. Hi there,

    While researching entrepreneurship, I found this blog and wanted to reach out to you.

    We recently created a resource for first-time entrepreneurs that will benefit your visitors. It answers the question every entrepreneur must answer when starting out. How do I find customers?

    Here is our Customer Acquisition Strategies for Entrepreneurs guide:
    https://www.helpscout.net/customer-acquisition/

    Would our information be appropriate to add to your list of resources?

    I’d love to hear your feedback. Feel free to email or call me at (781) 353-8728.

    Thanks,
    Erin

  55. This is really a good handbook!

    Thanks :)

  56. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  57. Useful information. I’m planing to do my own start-up this year :)

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