As a first time entrepreneur you probably have tons of questions. And every time you do a Google search for an answer you are bombarded with too much information and in some cases that information contradicts other things you have heard. Due to this, I have created a list of 54 resources that should help you out.
Legal & Accounting
Legal and accounting issues may not seem important when you are starting your company, but they are. Legal and accounting mistakes that you make early on can haunt you for years and can be expensive to fix. So if you are going to start a company you should do things right from the get go.
- S Corp. vs. LLC: Which Structure is Right for Your Business – Determining the type of legal structure for a new business can be daunting for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Learn more about S Corporations and Limited Liability Companies (LLC), and decide if one of these business structures is right for you.
- LegalZoom – a cheap way to get incorporated.
- Findlaw – a directory of all the lawyers throughout the US.
- Bookkeeping 101: Debits and Credits – Accounting ends with score keeping but begins with record keeping. The first task of accounting is to accurately record transactions. Transactions are events that change the composition of a firm’s assets, liabilities, and equity.
- Accounting Basics – This explanation of accounting basics will introduce you to some basic accounting principles, accounting concepts, and accounting terminology.
- Docstoc – A free place to get legal documents and templates which can drastically help reduce your legal fees and in some cases allow you to do some legal stuff yourself.
- You’ve Been Sued: What Do You Do? – Everything you wanted to know about being sued.
- Opening a Business Bank Account – Business bank accounts and your identity.
- Closing Down Your Business Permanently – If you’re shuttering your business for good, there’s more to it than drawing the blinds.
- Legal Issues to Consider When Starting Your Business – There are a multitude of legal issues to think about when it comes to starting your business. Everything from your business name to its structure to its operation has legal implications.
Design is something we tend to take for granted. Not only is important for your website to look good, but you also want to make sure it is usable and converts.
- Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design – The ten most egregious offenses against users. Web design disasters and HTML horrors are legion, though many usability atrocities are less common than they used to be.
- Google Website Optimizer – A free tool that will help you maximize your conversions.
- Web Developers Handbook – Everything you need to know about web design and development.
- CSS Vault – Web design inspiration.
- A Roadmap to Web Standards – Before you start designing your website, make sure you are complying with web standards.
- Signal vs Noise – A design and usability blog by 37signals.
- Crazy Egg – A simple tool that shows you how website visitors interact with your website.
- How to choose a website design agency – Choosing the right web design shop can be a tricky thing.
You can have a great product or service, but if no one sees it you will never make any money. Now this doesn’t mean you have to hire a marketing firm to help you out, but you could learn some basic things about Internet marketing.
- Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization – The basics of search engine optimization.
- Social Media Marketing Beginner’s Guide – Interested in leveraging the social web? Here is what you need to know first.
- Top Ten Things You Can Do To Get Blogged On – Getting bloggers to blog on your company isn’t an easy thing. If you flow these rules and you should be successful at it.
- How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines – What you need to know if you want your corporate blog to get traffic.
- Web Analytics: An Hour A Day – Google’s analytics guru, Avinash Kaushik, breaks down web analytics and the tracking needs you may need for your website.
- Dullest – The blog of Google’s main search engineer, Matt Cutts. Before you get into search engine optimization, you probably want to read his blog.
- MailChimp – Sending high quantities of emails isn’t an easy thing to do. In most cases your emails won’t go through unless you use a service like MailChimp.
- Banner Basics: Create Ads That Work – Banner advertising isn’t dead… you just have to learn how to effectively use them.
When you don’t have much cash in the bank, you can’t afford to make hiring mistakes. Sooner or later you are going to have to hire a few employees, so you better know what to look for.
- When to hire your first employee – if you are considering hiring an employee, you should read this first.
- 5 tips for hiring your first employee – Microsoft breaks down some useful tips for new companies.
- 9 Steps Before You Hire – 9 good tips for first time business owners.
- ADP – Payroll can be a hassle. ADP provides good payroll solutions for a very affordable price.
- How to Fire an Employee – If you hire a bad employee you better learn to fire them.
- When to Fire an Employee – Analyzing when it is time to accept that a performance improvement will not happen.
- Fully-Baked: The real cost of adding a new employee – Employees cost more than just their salaries.
- 201 ways to turn any employee into a star performer – A book that you should read if you want to maximize your employees output.
- Tsheets – Employee time tracking software.
- RescueTime – Employee time tracking and time management software.
Raising Venture Capital
Raising money can be a pain in the ass, especially if you have never done it before. If you want to raise money, you need to know the basic terminology that venture capitalists use, how to create a pitching deck, and how to get in front of venture capitalists.
- Vfinance – A directory of venture capitalists, angel investors, and business plan templates.
- Forbes Midas List – A list of the top 100 venture capitalists for the year 2009.
- The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint – Before you make a powerpoint that showcases your company and how much money you are raising, you should read this.
- How to Raise Venture Capital – An detailed overview on how you can raise money.
- Venture Hacks – A blog for entrepreneurs that discusses everything about venture capital.
- The Funded – An online community of entrepreneurs to research, rate, and review funding sources worldwide.
- How To Raise Venture Dollars – Ben Elowitz who has raised over 40 million dollars breaks down the tricks to raising money.
- Paul Graham – Awesome essays about venture capital and entrepreneurship.
General Business Advice
Other entrepreneurs have already solved many of the problems you are going to face. So when you run to into these generic problems, here are some websites you can turn to.
- Inspired Startup – Successful entreprenuer Andy Liu breaks down how to take your startup to the next level.
- The 50 best business blogs – There are thousands of business blogs, but here are the 50 best according to Times.
- The Top 10 Mistakes People Make When Starting A Business – You don’t want to make any of these mistakes.
- 10 Timeless Business Tips From 10 Millionaires – If you want to be a millionaire then you better learn from them.
- Solving Your Business Problems – Start solving your problems before they even take place.
- Struggling Entrepreneur – The Struggling Entrepreneur is a free podcast series that deals with the issues, challenges and problems of the individual who wants to be an entrepreneur, but who encounters a somewhat difficult path and appears to be struggling.
- Smarta – A support community for entrepreneurs.
- Litemind – Exploring ways to use your mind more efficiently.
- Mixergy – Successful CEOs share their experiences with the masses.
Living The Frugal Life
Although it may sound sexy to be an entrepreneur, most entrepreneurs don’t make a ton of money. You are going to have to learn to live a frugal life so that you can continue to do what you love and not worry about paying your mortgage.
- Little Steps: 100 Great Tips For Saving Money For Those Just Getting Started
- 75 Painless Money-Saving Tips – Saving money can be painful, but here are 75 ways that are painless.
- Strapped For Cash? Billshrink Can Save You Thousands!
- High Yield Savings Accounts at 20 Largest Banks – If you are going to keep your money with a bank, might as well be a bank that has high yield savings accounts.
- Scrooge Strategy – 1 premium tip every week that helps you save money.
- How to Reduce Rent – Rent is probably your biggest expense, here are a few ways to reduce it.
There are a ton of resources out there for first time entrepreneurs, but these are the main ones I use. Do you have any other recommendations?
Update: If you feel that a specific site should be added to the entrepreneurs handbook, leave a comment and I will add it to the blog post.