65 Indispensable Websites for Business Owners
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At last count there were approximately 10 gazillion websites out there. Where's a business owner to start when looking for valuable information? If you're reading this, it means you're on Entrepreneur.com, which is a good start. Read on for 64 more vital online spots you should know about.
Accounting Terminology Guide
If you need to know what a specific accounting term means, no matter how obscure, this is the site for you. Hosted and maintained by the New York State Society of CPAs, nearly 500 accounting terms are defined on this site, all sorted in an easy-to-use alphabetical list.
Updated daily, this site offers accounting industry news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight--everything you need to prosper and interact with other accounting professionals.
This is the online edition of Adweek, a popular print magazine focusing on all things advertising and marketing. This site features the inside scoop on what's going on in the marketing departments of high-profile companies and corporations.
American Association of Franchisees and Dealers
This organization represents the rights of both franchisees and dealers. Here you can learn about upcoming events, read some free publications online, order other publications from the bookstore, and become a member.
Backpack is a web-based service that makes organizing your company's information easy. Backpack lets you make pages that can contain any combination of notes, to-dos, images, files and so on.
Better Business Bureau
Browse or search for a business or charity's reputation. Included are instructions for how to file a consumer or B2B complaint.
Looking to buy a franchise? There's a good chance you'll find one here. From restaurants in California to auto shops in Florida, you can search more than 25,000 businesses currently for sale, many of which are franchised.
Bizwomen is an online community for women business executives and entrepreneurs to connect, support one another, learn and grow. You can share and explore ideas with women across the United States or in your neighborhood to help grow your business.
Business Owner's Tool Kit
With an emphasis on problem solving, this site features more than 5,000 pages of free cost-cutting tips, step-by-step checklists, real-life case studies, startup advice, and business templates to small-business owners and entrepreneurs.
Business Owners Idea Cafe
Managed by successful entrepreneurs and the authors of several guides on forming and running a business, this site includes numerous award-winning resources, along with practical advice, business news and humor.
Run by internationally acclaimed brand consultancy Interbrand, BrandChannel.com provides a global perspective on brands and the art of branding. Site features include in-depth feature articles, conference announcements, career resources and access to white papers.
A leading source of news and information for the branding industry, it's also the only online trade magazine to offer saturation coverage at all levels of the brand-activation process.
Catalyst is a leading corporate research and advisory organization that works with businesses to build inclusive environments and expand professional opportunities for women.
A content-rich website, Chief Marketer provides marketing executives with insights into key marketing issues, innovations and practical solutions.
When April rolls around and you find yourself scrambling to find a CPA, this site will help. Billed as "the largest online database of Certified Public Accountants," here you can search for CPAs by ZIP code, name, industry or area of specialty.
Customer Service Group
New Jersey-based Alexander Communications Group (ACG) uses this site to provide practical information free of charge to customer service professionals. If you work in the customer service industry, be sure to sign up for Service Starters, ACG's free customer service industry eNewsletter.
Customer Service Manager
If you work in customer service, this website is for you. Here you will find an active community of customer service professionals, along with daily news, reviews, articles and resources aimed at improving customer service.
Customer Service Zone
Customer service expert Robert Bacal's website for customer service professionals, The Zone offers information to help businesses of all sizes and their employees provide efficient and effective customer service.
Direct Marketing Association
The Direct Marketing Association is the largest trade association for businesses that are interested and involved in direct, database and interactive global marketing. Here you can learn more about the DMA, become a member and access its services.
Electronic Frontier Foundation: Intellectual Property
EFF works to preserve balance and ensure that the internet and digital technologies empower consumers, creators, innovators, scholars, and average citizens. This section of the EFF website spotlights current challenges and solutions facing the intellectual property rights of everyone.
Entrepreneur.com / WomenEntrepreneur.com
Published by the same people who bring you Entrepreneur magazine, this is an excellent site for entrepreneurs, featuring a solid collection of articles and tips from experts, plus hundreds of links to other entrepreneurial resources on the web. WomenEntrepreneur.com offers additional articles, blogs and resources specific to women for starting and growing their businesses.
Entrepreneur's social networking site is a gathering place for thousands of business owners. Take part in discussions, join like-minded business owners in groups, and give and receive valuable advice from the trenches.
Entrepreneur.com's Trade Publication Directory
Don't miss one of the internet's largest searchable databases of trade publications. From agriculture and biotech to purchasing and procurement, Entrepreneur.com has your industry's trade publication listed here.
Fambiz.com is the internet's leading website for owners and employees of family controlled companies. Managed by Northeastern University's Center for Family Business, here you will find insight on every family run business topic imaginable.
Federal Trade Commission: Franchise and Business Opportunities
This site has lots of information, including an FAQ section, Guide to the FTC Franchise Rule, consumer alerts, Before You Buy pamphlets, and state disclosure requirements.
Learn more about available franchise opportunities or advertise your franchise to potential buyers at this site, which aims to connect franchise buyers and sellers, as well as anyone thinking of starting one.
If you're thinking about buying a franchise, do your research here; you'll find detailed information on nearly every franchising opportunity known to man.
Franchise Zone by Entrepreneur.com
Dedicated to linking enthusiastic entrepreneurs with the top franchises, this site provides all the information you need to find the best franchises and become a successful franchisee. How-to articles, advice from experts and lists of the top franchises in various categories make this the first site to turn to for those considering the purchase of a franchise.
FreshBooks is an online invoicing and time-tracking service that helps businesses of all sizes save time, get paid faster and look professional.
Fundability is a marketplace where entrepreneurs and investors can find funding success. Founded by entrepreneurs and investors, Fundability's Company SnapShot, Deal Search Engine, and DiligenceRoom provide intelligent online tools for the savvy entrepreneur.
Glide is a complete mobile desktop providing a secure and scalable platform for personal and collaborative computing.
This online payment system works alone or as an alternative to systems already in place. Customers don't have to share credit card information with merchants that use the system, and identity protection is increased.
The folks at Google deliver a free web-based word processor and spreadsheet, which allow you to share and collaborate online. Google Docs accepts most popular file formats, including DOC, XLS, ODT, ODS, RTF, CSV, PPT, and more.
Hoover's gives you access to up-to-date information about industries, companies and key decision makers. Great for professionals working in sales, marketing, business development, and others who need intelligence on U.S. and global companies, industries, and the people who lead them.
One of the best invention/patent sites on the Web for novice innovators of all ages, this site is specifically designed for kids. It provides information on how to invent, famous inventors and discoveries.
Internal Revenue Service
Business owners can get all of their federal and business tax information--not to mention forms--directly from the source. It's also a good place to stay current on tax laws that affect business owners.
Started by the former CEO of CareerBuilder.com, Jobfox walks you through creating a skills inventory and then tells you which employers are looking for people with those exact skills. The Jobfox site also provides a free trackable resume and career web page to showcase your skills, experience and work samples.
The Kauffman Foundation delivers an up-to-date and relevant website dedicated to furthering our understanding of the phenomenon of entrepreneurship and to advancing entrepreneurship education and training. Check out the Resource Center for getting started information on business operations, sales and marketing, human resources, finance and accounting, and the like.
Whether you're looking for a new job or trying to help someone else find the perfect job, LinkedIn can help you find and get in touch with the people you need to contact. Create a profile and click the Jobs tab to get started.
Microsoft Small Business Center
A vehicle for selling various Microsoft small-business products, this site also provides plenty of excellent information and advice entirely for free. If you're starting or running your own small business, Microsoft's Small Business Center is an excellent place to learn from the experts.
Entrepreneurs can get help with the personal finances, money management and budget planning. In addition, Mint offers free financial planning software.
National Association for the Self-Employed
The NASE provides its self-employed members with support, education and training. The organization conducts surveys relevant to the needs of the self-employed and posts articles business owners can use.
National Association of Women Business Owners
NAWBO is a fierce advocate for women business owners, providing resources and support. It can help women get access to government contracts that most business owners don't know about.
Perhaps the best-known payment system, PayPal allows web sites to receive and send money electronically. Business owners and customers find PayPal easy to use--and secure.
Easy-to-use web-based customer relation management tools for your entire company, including online solutions for sales, service, marketing, and call center operations.
Small Business Administration
Here you can learn how to start your own business and finance it. The site also provides information on business opportunities, local SBA offices, laws and regulations, and much more.
Survey of Current Business
The monthly Survey of Current Business is the definitive source of information by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis about its economic accounts. Monthly updates present the latest national, international, regional, and industry estimates, and keep business leaders up to date on relevant BEA issues and initiatives.
Put your finger on the pulse of your customers with this free basic service. Create and publish custom online surveys to gather data you can use.
If you're looking for a trade publication, you're likely to find it here. This site features an extensive list of free business, computer, and engineering trade newsletters and magazines, all of which you can subscribe to for free.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Find your local branch, figure out how to start, learn about new taxes and much more at the national Chamber of Commerce site.
U.S. Copyright Office
Find all of the forms, publications and information you need to copyright your original work.
U.S. Department of Labor: Office of Small Business Programs
The OSBP promotes opportunities for small businesses, especially disadvantaged businesses, women-owned businesses, HUBZone businesses and businesses owned by disabled veterans.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Official site for searching the U.S. patent database. Includes international treaties, statutes and patent news.
Easy-to-use database with the latest information on U.S.-based venture-backed technology companies, senior management, company financings, and M&A transactions. Updated daily, this site offers a convenient way of accessing critical information related to business development, funding searches and venture capital investment goals.
VisualCV reinvents your resume using technologies that transform the way in which resume data is presented, accessed and shared. VisualCV allows you to easily build and manage online career portfolios that come alive with informational keyword pop-ups, video, pictures and professional networking.
The site offers financial advice, analysis and planning for business owners.
Word of Mouth Marketing Association
Official website of WOMMA, where you can find the latest thinking on a variety of Web 2.0 marketing strategies, including word of mouth marketing.
The small-business owner's manual on where to go, what to know, and how to get the most value from the ever-growing array of web resources for business. The site features more than 2,000 how-to guides written by business experts and organized by common business tasks and challenges.
Women's Work is dedicated to helping women move from standard 9-to-5 jobs to flex careers--telecommuting, small business and other options. This site is packed with articles, advice, how-to guides, flexible career choices, and success stories to inspire and motivate.
Wufoo is a web-based application that removes inefficiency and tediousness from the form-building process. Wufoo reduces what used to take trained professionals days (if not weeks) into something that can be done by anyone in minutes.
Yelp provides a fun and engaging website for "passionate and opinionated influencers to share the experiences they've had with local businesses and services." Watch out because "yelping" can be quite addictive.
Zimdesk provides all the features and functionality you would expect from a standard desktop PC. The difference is that Zimdesk runs from an internet browser, allowing you to access all your applications, files, games and accessories from any computer.
Zoho offers a suite of office productivity tools online, including a word processor, spreadsheet program, invoicing tool, presentation creator, web-conferencing functions and calendar organizers.
This list was compiled by the Entrepreneur.com staff, with a major assist from Mikal E. Belicove, author of the 2009 Internet Directory: Web 2.0 Edition.