Business Startup Tools Guide Part 1: Getting Started

Starting your own business can be difficult at the best of times, and you need all the help you can get. In this series, we shall provide you with a range of resources to help with every aspect of this process, from business crash courses and web apps to raising money from venture capital. Today, we’ll be looking at some useful tools to investigate if you are thinking about starting a business, but have yet to take the plunge.

Library of Congress’s Entrepreneur’s Reference Guide: This guide from the US Library of Congress is an essential resource for finding relevant books and learning materials on a full range of business activities, including marketing, raising capital, human resources, and management. Although the guide itself is quite old, having been written in 1999, the list of books is updated every five years to reflect the most recent and relevant information and advice for new businesses. This website started out as a platform for entrepreneurs to post two minute “elevator pitches” for their startup ideas, but has since expanded into quite a far-reaching resource for business startups. Watching the pitches can be very useful, both for helping you to come up with ideas for your business, and also for getting ideas on how to present your ideas and win funding. You can also use the site to upload your own pitch and receive feedback from other entrepreneurs, or perhaps even find funding for your business if your pitch is successful. In addition to the pitches, the site also features educational videos and industry news to keep you up to date with everything that is happening in the startup universe.

VB Profiles: This resource from venture capital website Venturebeat includes a comprehensive database of tech startups and a community discussing each one – which can be highly useful for finding out what is already happening in your chosen field. Also, posting about your business on this website can help to put you in the shop window if you are interested in raising money via VC at some point in the future.

eHow’s Introduction to Entrepreneurship: This online how-to guide, which features submissions from thousands of different freelance authors, includes a great set of guides and advice articles for those who are thinking of starting up in business. Topics include opening a new business, accounts, raising funds, and how to incorporate. Starting a Business Hub: This website is quite similar to eHow, in that it features curated content from thousands of freelance authors, and like eHow it has quite a comprehensive set of resources for entrepreneurs. It includes some very detailed articles about naming your business and working out how much it’s going to cost to establish your company, some useful checklists, and a small business startup kit.

Alltop Startups: This is a kind of Reddit for entrepreneurs, bringing together the best startup-related stories from the web’s most popular business blogs, including VentureBeat, Gary Vaynerchuk, TechCrunch, Fast Company, and Entrepreneur. A great way to quickly take a broad sweep of the best entrepreneurial content from around the web.

The Startup Kits: This resource from the website of Entrepreneur Magazine contains startup kits that are tailored to lots of different types of business, including restaurants, clothing firms, home design companies, and consultancies. These are essentially sets of resources that give you everything that you will need to start up a specific type of business, including articles, guides, marketing advice, and useful tools.