Small Business and Startups: Where to Learn

Resources for entrepreneurs are widely available and easy to access, but you need to know where to look and who to visit. First-time entrepreneurs, in particular, have tons of questions and hunger for mentors, confidants, cronies, and fellow travelers. Anyone with an idea for a business can find a place to turn, an article to read, a war story to listen to, an online discussion, or a local entrepreneurship program or incubator to provide guidance. Many of these resources are free or low-cost, and the amount of knowledge available to share can make your head spin. Here are a few resources, programs, and organizations you can leverage.

1. The institutes, the incubators, and the accelerators.

These programs are designed to kickstart entrepreneurial ideas and the idealists who dream them up. Their stated goals are similar: provide opportunity, nurture great ideas, make introductions, and create an environment where great companies can get started. These organizations are designed to help budding entrepreneurs a place to learn while developing their ideas. Check out the sites for these five for more information:

Founder InstituteJunto InstituteY CombinatorThe Technology Innovation CenterTechStars.

2. The networks.

Online and off, these organizations and groups are designed to help entrepreneurs meet one another, share ideas, transmit knowledge, and create an atmosphere where learning and collaborating are the norm. Many cities are actively developing centers for entrepreneurs and startups that provide lectures, resources, co-working space, and an environment that promotes economic growth and development through entrepreneurship.

Young Presidents’ Organization, KCnextOnStartups1871

3. The blogs.

These great blogs focus exclusively on startups, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and the issues and subjects near to their hearts. Entertaining, sure. But mostly, these small business marketing blogs provide great tools, resources, learning opportunities, and practical information targeted directly at you.

4. The webinars.

There are numerous free webinars for free to entrepreneurs, which are a great way to learn in-depth about specific topics. Studies show that video is an excellent way for many people to learn, and the experts who create these webinars share tons of valuable information, tips, and specific strategies for your business.

BizlLaunchStanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Webinar SeriesThe Company CorporationDell Global Events Webcasts

5. The government.

Your tax dollars are hard at work funding resources and programs created just for you. These federal resources are designed with the small business person in mind and were created specifically to help get businesses off the ground. See these and stop by to learn how they can help you.

SBA, SCORESmall Business Development Centers

And lastly (but not least), this blog you are reading right now! crowdspring’s Blog provides resources, inspiration, small business tips, marketing expertise, and lots and lots of great information for small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs. Right here!

Photo: Learning to walk, Shaun Mitchem/wikipedia