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How to Get Advice About Starting a Small Business

Aug 17, 2007
There are a bunch of places offering advice on starting a small business but not all of them are worth your time. Here's a list of some resources that have helped me start my businesses.

Online Forums

An online forum is a place where a bunch of people can get together and discuss a specific topic.

There are forums out there on almost any subject including starting a small business, running a web site and lots more. A quick search on Google for "small business forums" should return quite a long list of good and not-so-good forums for you to try. I personally recommend these sites:

www.businesswarriors.co.za
www.5000bc.com

Both are run by very respectable, experienced small-business owners who are teaching people how not to make the sort of mistakes most people make when they're starting out.

Successful Business Owners & Entrepreneurs Around You

Make a list of all the people you know and highlight the people who are successfully running their own small (or large) business. A successful business owner usually has:

- Enough time to spend with his/her family
- Money
- A nice house
- A few charities he/she supports
- Happy employees and
- Happy clients

Once you find these people, ask if they wouldn't mind giving you some advice on your small business and how they got theirs started.

The next step is the most important: Do it! Pick 1 or 2 of the things they suggested and apply them over the next week, month or year - depending on what it is.

If it works out and you see some good results after a decent period of testing and comparing your results with previous results, call your "mentor" up again and offer him/her a lunch on you and get some more tips.

This is probably the best method for getting good advice as you're learning from someone who has made it and knows what it takes.

The biggest mistake you can make here is to pick the wrong people. Pay careful attention to the list of things a successful business owner has and make sure you don't make this mistake.

The next big mistake is not doing what you're advised to do. You might as well give up because no amount of good advice will help you if you're not willing to actually do something about it!

Article Directories

This one's a bit "different" but it works really well. Let me explain...

Article directories are web sites where people submit articles they've written so that other web site owners can publish them.

This is done to get traffic to the article writer's web site because of the links embedded in the articles.

The secret to succeeding with this is that your articles have to be well-written in order to be accepted by web site editors.

www.ezinearticles.com is my personal favourite article directory but you can take your pick of the huge list of directories at www.articlemarketer.com/partiallist.php.

Book Stores

Visit your local bookstore and check out their small business section. There are some real gems in there that can really help you change the way you think about money, business and life in general.

Some books that come highly recommended include:

- The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E Gerber (You must read this!)
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
- Any of the guerilla-marketing titles by Jay Conrad Levinson
- Crashproof your Business by Peter Carruthers
- Entrepreneurship and New Venture Management by Isa Van Aardt, Carel Van Aardt & Stefan Besuidenhout

There are a lot of titles out there but the important thing is to make sure that you learn something new and that you implement what you've learned. Otherwise, what's the point?

eBooks

An eBook is an electronic book that you can buy immediately online. A lot of the time these books are smaller than similar books in bookstores but they contain very focused information that you can use in your business from day 1.

I've purchased and recommend the following:

- Conversations with Millionaires by Mike Litman
- Outsourcing Yourself by Barnaby Kalan
- Surefire Salesletter Secrets by Yanik Silver

I've actually bought and read many more but I don't have space to list them all!

You need to be careful that the book is worth it or you'll regret it later. So do your homework before clicking "Buy Now".

Web Sites

There are some great web sites out there that will help you start your small business. Some of them are free and others are subscription based. Here are my recommendations:

www.entrepreneur.com
www.small-business-hub.co.za (I run this one)
www.gmarketing.com/articles/read/176/100_Marketing_Weapons.html

There are a lot more resources out there but these should be more than enough to get you started.
About the Author
Norio De Sousa runs http://www.small-business-hub.co.za . A free resource to help you start & grow your small business in South Africa .
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