Something new is popping up on the Internet every day. Whether it’s a tool or an app or a breakthrough in technology, there’s never a dull moment online. Modern entrepreneurs have to stay on their toes and remain fluid in their business ideologies in order to keep up with the ever-changing digital space. Most small business owners and operators have a few go-to websites that allow them to stay privy to industry news and trends, but modern self-starting entrepreneurs need to stop thinking of themselves as an entity separated from his or her ideas. Your ideas created your business. Your ideas run your business. You are your ideas. Therefore, you are your business.
You’re most likely the research and development department, and the finance department, and the marketing department, and the spokesperson for the brand, and the janitorial services, etc. etc. etc. With all that responsibility, entrepreneurs need to make sure they’re treating themselves as they would their superiors, their clients and their team of people who come in at night to scrub the toilets. They should treat themselves well: mind, body and spirit.
Here are 6 websites every Tampa Bay entrepreneur should bookmark:
Simply having a profile is not enough. Fill out as much information as possible – in a succinct, relevant, SEO-friendly way (we don’t need to know your life story) – and connect with influencers in your industry. Share unique content that people will want to read and share, themselves. Become a thought leader, but do it without all the braggy fluff. Keep it real and keep it honest. People like that.
This site is chock-full of small business swag: from informational blog articles, to free business plan tools, to resources to help you keep track of licenses and permits required. They’ll walk you through the loan and grant requesting process and even put you in touch with local like-minded groups in your area. A great resource for any entrepreneur.
When you’re first starting a business, you often don’t have the financial resources to devote to professional graphic and web design. (Although it is recommended that professional branding is one aspect business owners should invest in.) That being said, there are many CMS (Content Management Systems) and tools out there to help you fake it ’til you make it. Whether you opt to build your site on WordPress (recommended – best for SEO), Squarespace, Wix, Tumblr or any other platform, Webdesign Inspiration can help you figure out how to create the look and feel of a site that best represents your brand and its offerings.
As described in the video above, Thumbtack is an excellent resource for entrepreneurs who are trying to build a business from the ground, up. It allows professionals from just about every area of interest to connect with potential clients and offer services that meet specific needs. It also works the other way around: If you’re looking for a photographer to take headshots, a DJ for your launch event or even a painter to jazz up the exterior of your brick-and-mortar, Thumbtack allows you to find professionals in your area and within your budget. BONUS: I’ve found personal success using this service while seeking clients for my Tampa Bay creative marketing company.
Speaking of Tampa Bay, one of the best resources local entrepreneurs can find is right in their own backyard at NOVA 535 Unique Event Space. The Entrepreneur Social Club is described as, “a collaborative group of seasoned professionals, start-ups, business owners, inventors, designers, dreamers, successful tycoons, mentors and Entrepreneurs from every industry around the globe.” Interested professionals meet each week to talk shop and build better businesses by helping one another work out kinks and share ideas. Check ESC’s schedule and come out every Thursday to discover how a model of collective thinking can create more opportunities for your business venture. Plus the ESC is a true social club sp be prepared to enjoy yourself, make many new interesting friends and please stick around for dinner afterwards!
The entrepreneurial life definitely has its upsides – being your own boss, making your own schedule, not looking to others to make decisions that you know are best for your business – but it’s also a life that is typically filled with significant stress. The demands placed on entrepreneurs can often take a toll on physical and mental well-being. That’s why it’s imperative for small business owners set aside time to relax and refocus. The Sahaj Yoga Meditation website has free online courses that walk users through meditation practices using videos and guided audio sessions. A centered mind produces better results.
Since you are your business, your business will only be as successful as you are. By taking advantage of the Internet’s resources, you’re more likely to find and use the tools you need to get where you want to be.