By Aimee Woodley
Whether you’ve been in business for years, or you’re just starting out, finding resources to make your business grow and thrive is a must.
Luckily, help can be found all over the place. The Small Business Association and their mentorship partner, SCORE, is a good place to start. The SBA offers both in-person workshops and an abundance of online resources. Workshops range from creating a business plan to social media marketing, finding investors, and even taking your business global.
Other in-person resources include your local Chamber of Commerce and workshops at local job fairs. Colleges, charter schools, libraries, and other non-profit organizations often offer continuing education classes as well. Trade shows related to your industry are a great place to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and gain new knowledge and skills to help your business flourish.
In the information age today, the amount of online resources is never-ending. But with all that’s out there, how do you know where to start?
If you’re looking for marketing training, companies like HubSpot offer both paid and free courses and certifications. Google Analytics keeps track of your web data so you can take that information and use it to get more insight into your customer base to serve them better. Graphic design services abound as well. If you’re on a tight budget, my favorites include VistaPrint and BeFunky. Not a photographer, but want some great content for your website or promotional materials? There are plenty of photo-sharing sites out there that provide approved images for public consumption.
Probably the most overlooked resources are motivational books and speakers. While they are becoming more popular, it used to be that most of the crowd would roll their eyes when it was time for the motivational speaker to come on stage. These days, many speakers have crafted their presentations to the more TED Talk-esque style, and I find myself looking forward to the motivational speaker when I go to conferences. You’ll also notice more people cracking open motivational books on airplanes, or even at their kids’ soccer games. Growing your business is great, but if you don’t believe you can do it, it’s going to be more difficult to get there. Yes, some books and speakers are cheesy, but you won’t be able to find the good ones if you don’t give a few a try. I could go into the belief triangle cycle here, but I’ll let you discover that one.
But you don’t have to do everything on your own.
Check into networking groups, both online and IRL (in real life). Not just LinkedIn and the other standard social media platforms; blogs from influencers in your industry have great information and often have special groups that offer personalized training. Information overload is a real thing. Don’t try everything all at once. Prioritize where your business needs the most help and start there.
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb