So you’re starting your own small business, or at least considering it. Congratulations! Becoming an entrepreneur is exciting, if also a little daunting. No matter where your expertise lies or where you’re starting from, though, there are some things that can always help you, and are likely to be found no matter where you are.
4 Resources for Entrepreneurs
Here are four great resources for entrepreneurs — but they’re useful even in a traditional 9–5!
1. Your Local Chamber of Commerce.
In fact, they’re there just for business owners like you! The goal of a Chamber of Commerce is to provide resources for entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses in its locality. They do anything from lobbying local officials to hosting events, the entire purpose of its existence is to help local businesses thrive. You can also check out the Austin Young Chamber — many YWA members join AYC as well!
2. Online Classes and Workshops.
Sure, there’s no degree required, and you probably are pretty darn well-versed in your product or service, but there are always subjects you could do well to brush up on, or pick up on the fundamentals.
Especially in the early stages, you’ll be doing a lot on your own. Entrepreneurs wear many hats, including salesperson, accountant, manager, customer service representative, marketer, and more. If you’re not an expert in every one of those topics and how they pertain to your business, there are tons of places to find a short course, or even a one-day immersive, to help you feel more confident in your abilities.
Check with your local community college, institutions like General Assembly, online with Coursera or Udemy, or even with your networking groups — it’s likely that they hold regular workshops or host expert speakers.
3. A Mentor.
This is someone who has the experience and knowledge needed to guide and advise you. A mentor can help you set and achieve goals, improve your communication skills, identify where you need to fill gaps in your knowledge and fill them, and so much more.
Mentorship creates a special relationship that can extend well past the initial phases of starting a business, and can build both an ongoing space for learning, and an increased sense of motivation.
Maybe you already know someone that could fit this role, or perhaps someone has fallen into it naturally for both of you. If not, no problem. There are programs you can find to register as a mentee, including YWA Connect, that will match you with an established professional who can help you grow wherever you need it. (YWA Connect is only for YWA members, though, so if you haven’t joined us yet, make sure you sign up to be notified when we re-open enrollment!)
4. A Network.
Having a network of people around you — be they family, friends, former coworkers, whoever — is critical to your success. They support you, they spread the word, and they genuinely have your back. Having investors, employees (or volunteers), or just a friend to hear you out when you’re exhausted and ready to quit, is invaluable.
Another kind of critical network, though, is a professional one — it can be one of the best resources for entrepreneurs that you can find. A group that keeps you connected to the people in your community that have the connections, experiences, and resources that you need. A group with others who are facing the same business struggles and successes. For example, the Young Women’s Alliance of Austin. This group connects over 300 women in the greater Austin area. Many are entrepreneurs, but all are members for the same reason: to be a part of something that brings like-minded women in their community together, so that all can benefit from what each has to offer.
Give us Your Best Tips!
Is there another resource or group that you couldn’t have started your business without? Let us know! It’s all about sharing.