Small business owners are always looking for ways to improve their companies. From holding promotional giveaways for marketing purposes to hiring new employees, entrepreneurs do their best to search for strategies that will better their businesses in both the short and long runs.
However, some owners overlook some great resources that can streamline basic procedures and even lead to stronger revenue. The web contains a multitude of services and news sources that can immediately benefit small businesses.
Read on for a list of the top five free online resources you should be using.
1. The OPEN Forum
The American Express OPEN Forum is one of the best places to seek advice from industry leaders, experts from various fields and other small business owners. All of these contributors provide unique perspectives that can teach entrepreneurs. The site is regularly updated with new articles and videos from thought leaders.
One reason the OPEN Forum is so beneficial is that contributors produce content about the latest trends for almost every aspect of business. From social media marketing and new employee training to leadership and client retention, the site covers practically every topic that a small business owner likely has questions about.
2. Survey Monkey
Entrepreneurs should regularly seek feedback from both clients and employees. These groups can tell owners what aspects of a business must improve and what ones should be expanded upon in the future. However, conducting polls and measuring responses isn't the simplest task in the world, but Survey Monkey can handle almost every aspect of research.
Survey Monkey uses a tiered pricing plan so that entrepreneurs can find the perfect option for their needs. The free plan is the most basic, but likely includes enough features to help most small business owners. This pricing model allows companies to put 10 questions in their surveys and receive 100 unique responses.
Video conferencing has become extremely popular, especially as remote working has gone from rare to common. Small business owners can easily integrate communication software into their companies, but most software is expensive.
However, one of the most popular video conferencing applications is completely free for basic calls. Skype can be downloaded on almost every computer and allows entrepreneurs to contact other users without ever paying a dime. What's more, the service also has calling features for landlines and mobile devices for modest rates so small business owners could essentially replace their phones with Skype.
Almost every small business owner has worked with the Small Business Administration at one point or another. The federal agency and its state offices helps independent companies access necessary resources and provides advice for important matters.
The SBA's website is also a valuable resource to small business owners across the United States. The site features links to loans, grants, local resources and helpful tips. The SBA basically developed a one-shop stop so that entrepreneurs wouldn't have to waste hours scouring the internet for specific information. Almost every question and concern can be dealt with by accessing the SBA's page.
Few organizations do as much for small businesses as the National Federation of Independent Business. The group offers all types of assistance to entrepreneurs, even those who aren't card-carrying members. Many of the NFIB's blog articles and advice are free to access so that every small business owner can use the information. Additionally, the NFIB regularly releases survey results and new research about how members feel about specific issues, including the direction of the economy. Basically, the NFIB's website is a great place for small business owners who want to read late-breaking news and helpful content.