Free small business resources
There is so much awesome, FREE information online that can help you with your little biz. I’ve done some leg work for you and compiled some of my favs. All the resources below are specifically geared towards small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Websites that specialize in small business advice
Official Canadian Federal Government site for business with services for entrepreneurs. This is where you can find the official info about grants, taxes and other small business concerns.
Small Business Canada has all kinds of resources and information for Canadian small businesses, from how to navigate tax breaks for small business to dealing with the new HST.
Small Business BC is based in downtown Vancouver and offers a range of resources and online articles on how to start and grow your small business. They also offer small business advisory services and host various seminars and events.
SOHO is a Canadian small business community website with lots of resources, networking events and special savings on business related stuff.
The Canadian Youth Business Foundation helps young, aspiring entrepreneurs (18 – 34yrs) with financing and resources to help start successful small businesses.
IttyBiz is an in your face, no holds barred source of small business tips, commentary and opinions. Naomi Dunford will make you laugh out loud, shed a few tears and feel inspired along the way. Not to be missed!
Small biz trends is an American site, so not all the information is relevant to Canadian businesses, however lots of good resources and ideas.
Biz Sugar is chock full of user generated content just for small business owners. It’s updated almost constantly, so there’s always all kinds of great stuff to poke through.
Build a little biz, by the lovely Karen Gunton, helps moms that want to start their own home based business. Her insights into branding, marketing and all things small business apply to any entrepreneur, mom or not!
The Mogul Mom is another site geared towards mommies, but you certainly don’t need to be one to benefit from the terrific tips and articles that are written with the small business owner in mind. Topics range from marketing to productivity to design and everything business related in between.
Internet Marketing Resources
- Thinking about getting started with Twitter (but don’t have a clue what you’re doing)? Check out Twitter 101 for business for tips, best practices, lingo explained and some case studies to give you inspiration.
- If you want to stay up to date with the latest in social media, Mashable is the place to be.
- Social Media Examiner is another hub for social media news as well as great how-to guides for a variety of social media tools.
- Social Mouths is my fav social media blog, with all kinds of useful insights and excellent how-to posts.
- A good introduction to social media, with a small business focus. From a webinar hosted by TD Bank, featuring some local Vancouver social media gurus.
- Aweber is my email marketing tool of choice. Check out their free webinars and their blog, chock full of useful information about making the most of your email marketing campaigns.
- MailChimp also has some great email marketing resources.
SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization):
- Beginner’s guide to SEO starting with the basics and covering different strategies
- What to get PPC (pay-per-click) ads going? Check out the small business center from Google Adwords as well as their Beginner’s Guide that covers all the basics
- Courtesy of Search Engine Journal, some tools (beyond Google Adwords) that can help with keyword brainstorming
- SEO Automatic offers a free webpage review tool to let you know how your most important page tags are doing (and if you don’t have a clue why this would be useful, read this post)
- Gain some insight into how your keywords are being used in search engine queries with this free keyword questions tool from Wordtracker Labs.
- Up the ante on your local search engine optimization efforts with this free online citation tool from Whitespark and Ontolo.
- If you want to dig deeper into the whole world of video, check out You Tube guru Josh Rimer. He offers tons of free info, and a free video marketing e-book if you sign up for his email list.
BRANDING & DESIGN
- Big Brand System is by Pamela Wilson, an expert graphic designer. She offers all kinds of valuable information about branding and design for small business owners. Her Design 101 e-course is not to be missed, especially if you handle visual/graphic stuff yourself.