Reading and learning is crucial to building a successful company. While not everything you read may be ground breaking or directly related to your industry it is important to stay on top of trends and learn about what others are doing. There are a ton of blogs out there talking about small businesses, startups and entrepreneurship but a bunch really standout from the crowd. These bloggers are all also active on twitter which is a great way to engage them and see what else they are reading, thinking and talking about.
Below is a list of some of the top blogs and their twitter accounts to follow when it comes to entrepreneurship and small business. These sites are sure to make you think, teach you some things and overall help you build and grow your business.
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(Post by Dan)
As an angel investor and a star on ABC’s reality show Shark Tank, tech billionaire Mark Cuban meets countless aspiring entrepreneurs who think they have the next great idea. So what separates the phenoms from the flops? Among several things, a passion for working hard and blowing their competition out of the water, he says.
Entrepreneur: What’s key to being successful as a technology entrepreneur?
Cuban: Busting your ass. It’s not about money or connections — it’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone when it comes to your business. And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time.
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/6uc7csf
As the global economy writhes and rattles, entrepreneurship has ever more clearly emerged as the solution to economic recovery. Young startups not only create nearly two thirds of America’s new jobs, they also bring forth innovation that often revolutionizes humanity and provides widespread prosperity. The best part is, ease in creating businesses has increased dramatically due in large part to apps and sites that help entrepreneurs.
Here are 10 of the best digital tools to help you launch and grow your startup:
2) Legal Zoom
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/cmagnf4
Why have you been so successful in reaching some of your goals, but not others? If you aren’t sure, you are far from alone in your confusion. It turns out that even brilliant, highly accomplished people are pretty lousy when it comes to understanding why they succeed or fail. The intuitive answer — that you are born predisposed to certain talents and lacking in others — is really just one small piece of the puzzle. In fact, decades of research on achievement suggests that successful people reach their goals not simply because of who they are, but more often because of what they do.
1. Get specific.
2. Seize the moment to act on your goals.
3. Know exactly how far you have left to go.
4. Be a realistic optimist.
5. Focus on getting better, rather than being good.
6. Have grit.
7. Build your willpower muscle
8. Don’t tempt fate.
9. Focus on what you will do, not what you won’t do.
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/celolmk
Last May, entrepreneur Ben Mappen scored a meeting with Menlo Venturesmanaging director Shawn Carolan to pitch a startup idea. Carolan invitedSteve Blank, an eight-time serial entrepreneur and Stanford professor, to help evaluate the notion. But Blank had ideas of his own: He had been requiring his pupils to blog as they started up real companies, he told Mappen and Carolan. The results were phenomenal, letting the teacher weigh in at key junctures as students experimented their way to a viable business. He imagined an online service that would maintain a structured, cumulative log of a startup’s activities. That would keep investors and advisers abreast of the company’s progress so they could help steer the company constantly and immediately, rather than waiting for infrequent meetings or urgent phone calls.
“The idea resonated with me as an entrepreneur and with Shawn, who sits on eight or ten boards,” Mappen says. “I asked Steve, ‘Are you going to work on this?’ He said, ‘Of course not. I’m retired.’ I said, ‘I can build this. Give me a shot.’” Carolan wrote Mappen a $250,000 check on the spot.
Last Friday, after several months in beta,LeanLaunchLab opened for business.
Read more: http://goo.gl/JlnJe
Shark Tank—the prime-time feeding frenzy where successful entrepreneurs fight over promising startups, and ruthlessly chew up the unprepared—is stirring up much buzz in its third season. To date, the Sharks have invested more than $6.2 million of their own money in a number of companies. With billionaire Mark Cuban, real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran, venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary (aka Mr. Wonderful), and other business magnates sitting in as the Sharks, the show offers a glimpse of pitching sessions gone totally right—or deliciously wrong.
Here’s are 7 lessons from the Sharks about learning what it takes to make it as an entrepreneur.
1. Know your numbers.
2. Be a good marketer.
3. Be humble.
4. Understand good timing.
5. Have a good story.
6. Be prepared to walk.
7. Be personable.
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/6uyf9dw
(Source: Fast Company)
There’s so much you need to run a business: a great idea, access to capital, industry knowledge, passion. Should coding be on that list, too?
Programming skills were high on the wish list of startup entrepreneurs at the recent SXSW Interactive festival in Austin, Texas. One reason: Investors seem to take a liking to those in-the-coding-know. During the Q & A portion of a panel called “Investor Spotting,” I witnessed one investor interrupt an entrepreneur who was trying to pitch his startup idea. “Do you code?” he asked. Big pause. “No,” the entrepreneur said, dejectedly. “I wish.”
The market for online classes and night-school courses in programming is hot, according to the New York Times. A number of startups — including the touted Codeacademy — are catering to this new crop of coder wannebes, the paper reports. The thinking is that with so much business gravitating toward the Internet, it’s critical that today’s entrepreneurs learn the language of the computer — or at least enough that they won’t be left behind.
Of course, programming skills aren’t everything — and startup entrepreneurs who don’t have them can still hire IT staff (if the budget allows) or outsource talent if need be. Many entrepreneurs with bright ideas but minimal computer skills pair up with technical co-founders, too.
One item left out of all the recent discussion about coding: Sure, you can teach an entrepreneur how to code. But can you teach a programmer to be an entrepreneur? That’s a much trickier talent to learn. If you have to have one or the other, entrepreneurial abilities still seem far more valuable than fluency in HTML.
Important Thing to Note No. 1: You’re not as bad a speaker as you think. “When we have people give talks in shyness groups, they often do much better than they thought they did. There’s a tendency to underrate your performance when you’re feeling shy,” says Dr. Lynne Henderson, director of the Shyness Institute, a nonprofit in Berkeley, Calif., that’s dedicated to researching and developing manuals on social anxiety.
Important Thing to Note No. 2: A little anxiety is good.* Because it means you care. You just need to care about the right things. And the right thing in this situation is: the audience. The last thing the audience wants to do is sit there for half an hour and watch someone fidget and have difficulty speaking. They want to listen to someone who is in control. Because someone in control is someone who can help—someone who can help them, specifically.
Audiences are selfish. Which is the key to everything.
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/cpdh5oa
Despite the promise brought by the latest round of successful IPOs and rallying public markets, the news continues to be filled with headlines around the possibility of a “false recovery.” Europe’s continent-wide recession and expanding debt issues, rising oil and gasoline prices, an only-modest improvement in the unemployment rate, and the “moderate” growth predicted by the Fed continue to leave people feeling uneasy about the state of the economy. With the underlying and systemic issues still present in the financial sector, some even believe that we could see something akin to the recession of 2008 happen all over again.
But there is one segment that remains very bullish about the future of the economy and where signs of improved growth and economic stability can be found. This “hope” for our economy is in the entrepreneurs who start small businesses — the innovators and dreamers who believe that against all odds they can build something better — create something from nothing, and drive change in
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/7ucrvkj
The cost of starting a business today is lower than ever. If you have an idea, pursue it. Or give one of these three arenas a hard look.
1. China + Internet = $$$$$$
2. Online organization drives offline markets
3. Content is once again king
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/7ks45b7
Tax season is in full swing, but if your current accounting software isn’t getting the job done for you, fear not. There might be a better way to crunch the numbers.
Online accounting options abound, offering a variety of features and prices, including apps for mobile devices. Migrating to one of these new systems can be a surprisingly easy process. Simply import last year’s sales, expenses, bank account and other transaction data into the new tool.
Here are four online tools that you may find more useful than some of the accounting mainstays, such as QuickBooks or FreshBooks:
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/77ywhhy
How do you know if your company will succeed? Venture capitalists give their perspectives on traits that define the best start-ups.
It’s every entrepreneur’s most pressing question:Is this company going to make it?
All companies need to have the basics: a solid business model, a viable market, and a brilliant product or service. But the most important— and unpredictable— indicator of success is the entrepreneur. Do you have what it takes?
Despite the popularity of 25-year-old Internet entrepreneurs, there’s no one template that guarantees greatness, says Rory O’Driscoll, a managing director with San Francisco-based Scale Venture Partners. “I’ve seen a 25-year-old serial entrepreneur run great a company and I’ve seen a 45-year-old with no entrepreneurial experience also run a great company,” he says. “But there are certainly commonalities between those whose companies are successful.”
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/7hj8c3q
1. The astute accountant
2. The seasoned attorney
3. The masterful mentor
4. The supportive sidekick
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/86lmrr3
Is your start-up starting to feel like a frat house? New research suggests that having more women at your company, and increasing diversity in general, can improve your chances of success.
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/3jm7hel
The most successful innovators are consistently portrayed as possessing a passion that borders on dogmatism. They work tirelessly to bend reality to achieve their vision, with Steve Jobs and his “reality distortion field” serving as the prototypical example.