Harnessing the Web for Start Ups

In honor of “National Small Business Week“, I thought I would share a number of resources that are helpful to me with my businesses, and some that I think are doing a nice job of harnessing the power of community and sharing on the web.  If you have some to share, please add them to the list by leaving a comment.

lemons1

Inside Small Business by HP LogoWorks

LogoWorks designs logos, small websites and direct mail  for small businesses at reasonable prices.  You can get a great logo designed for $299, and a starter web site professionally designed and coded for $999.  They aren’t the cheapest or most expensive out there, but offer a good value and high quality.

To stand out among all the companies that offer similar services, they have created the “Inside Small Business” blog as a resource for entrepreneurs and small businesses, reaching over 100,000 readers monthly.  I think its a smart strategy to keep their design customers coming back, and to add value beyond their core service offering.  The trust they are building will lead to other purchases of either services or HP equipment for small businesses.

QuickBooks Community

Intuit’s QuickBooks software is used by millions of small businesses in virtually every industry.  We employ a QuickBooks freelancer who maintains all the books at a reasonable hourly rate and lets me and my business partners focus on the important stuff like working with clients.  The QuickBooks community lets you connect with other small business owners or their bookkeepers to share tips on how to use the software itself, and more importantly on running your business.  There are also resources and articles in the “Library” section to help folks get started on their business, and a marketplace for innovative products and classifieds where QuickBooks users can advertise their business.

The site is also a brilliant resource for Intuit’s developers to understand how real people use the software, where their frustrations are, how they “work-around” issues, and get ideas for new product development.  There’s nothing like getting new ideas from people who are already heavily invested in your product.

Startup Nation

StartupNation was created by two of the country’s top entrepreneurial experts – Rich and Jeff Sloan. They co-host StartupNation’s nationally-syndicated, call-in radio program and share advice and inspiration on over 80 radio stations across the country every week.  The website is a fantastic resource for anyone just getting started and trying to figure out the right model for them – franchising, work at home, web-based, etc.   The site offers high level inspiration, self assessments to see if entrepreneurship is really for you, and down-and-dirty tactical advice with “how to” articles on things like credit card processing and building web site traffic.

LegalZoom

LegalZoom is an online service that lets you take care of common legal matters like setting up LLC’s, wills, incorporation’s and trademarks without hiring an attorney.  They have state specific documents for these and other services and you can get it all taken care of quickly and for far less money than an attorney would charge.  I have set up three LLCs using their services and it has always been painless and quick.  

LegalZoom has done a nice job of building a “Business Resource Network” of credit card providers, logo designers, payroll service providers and so on for their customers.  What is really clever is how they have integrated a number of them into the process – so as you are filling out your LLC information you will be asked a series of questions, some of which will suggest that you check out their preferred partners for services you will need and may have not considered.  This of course drives revenue to LegalZoom, but is also really helpful to the business owner who may not know where to turn for these services.

Like This Article?

2 Responses to “Harnessing the Web for Start Ups”

  1. 10 ways to get involved with entrepreneurship for free | Dave Rigotti on May 20th, 2009:

    […] (A thanks is owed to the Loud Amplifier Marketing blog for reminding me it’s National Small Business Week with their post titled “Harnessing the Web for Start Ups.”) […]

  2. Anders blogger in marketing on May 20th, 2009:

    Thank you for producing a good and very informative website. I like your statements and actually wonder why so many middle sized companies do not take more advantage of using the services from qualified On Line marketing consultants, who are now changing focus from 100% IT solutions to be more based on solid business principles and words like profit and ROI ought to be on top of the list.

Leave a Reply