An important part of being an entrepreneur is positioning yourself ahead of the curve. To give yourself an edge, you’ll have to work to stay current on industry trends, marketing tactics, and business culture.
Luckily, today’s entrepreneurs are equipped with the most powerful tool in human history the Internet. You can find anything and everything you need to know to further your business at your fingertips, but where do you start?
There are obviously publications like Entrepreneur, Inc., and Forbes that specialize in informing business people like yourself, and these are an amazing resource.
But if you want to dig deeper and be more involved of the different facets of your business, here are some suggestions for the types of blogs you might find most useful.
While crunching numbers is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, it is imperative to understand how your business functions financially. Unless you obtained funding from an investor or government grants, you likely started your business by taking out a loan or investing your own hard-earned capital. It’s your responsibility to protect that investment by doing everything you can to increase profits and decrease spending.
Many entrepreneurs also need assistance in saving for retirement and personal finance. You can surely squeak by with a skilled accountant and financial advisors, but wouldn’t you rather be the expert on how to make your business more profitable, how you could save money by “going green,” or how to diversify your business for security and growth?
It’s always better to understand these concepts yourself than to rely on others to explain, and having this in-depth knowledge could greatly affect the strategic decisions you make. Try brushing up on your financial know-how by reading popular business and personal finance blogs you might be surprised how much it will influence your personal and business spending.
Knowing how to promote your business and yourself is an important skill for every entrepreneur to master. Even if you think you are a marketing genius, marketing and branding tactics are constantly changing. You have to adapt if you want to stay fresh and consistently attract media attention and brand mentions for your business.
Understanding digital marketing and Search Engine Optimization is even more important. While you don’t need to know the ins-and-outs, it’s best to have a working knowledge so that you can effectively communicate with employees or your marketing firm about the health of your website, the types of content you are creating and promoting, and the types of media opportunities that could be available only online.
Did you know, for instance, that dozens of journalists a week post interview requests on a service called Help a Reporter Out, where entrepreneurs can be featured in publications like USA Today, Forbes, and Huffington Post? Or that you could double or triple the amount of traffic to your site through SEO? By doing your research on the best digital marketing blogs, you could land your company priceless coverage or at least understand why you pay your marketing firm a pretty penny to do these things for you.
Related Article: Required Reading: Top 10 Blogs for Inbound Marketers
Staying informed of changes in your industry ensures not only that you know your competition, but also that you have plenty to talk about in press interviews and at industry events. While you may think your industry is too niche to warrant a blog, I assure you there are blogs about everything from paper to snow plows.
You can also get ideas for your own website content by keeping a close eye on industry blogs. While you don’t need to be the one to break news, it’s often beneficial to use news updates to show your customers that you are informed about the issues that could affect them, and prove to investors that you are concerned about the health of the business.
Pay close attention to the questions being asked and answered by industry blogs it can give you a much deeper understanding of what your customers need and want from your product. You can also keep tabs on dramatic pricing changes, industry events, and what other companies are doing to reward customer loyalty.
Most entrepreneurs will eventually end up being someone’s boss, and they likely won’t have much guidance. Whether you are currently leading a team of employees or think you may in the future, it’s a great idea to educate yourself about management.
Many business experts claim that entrepreneurs make terrible bosses, but anyone can learn to lead. While you may not enjoy coaching and inspiring others, the happiness of your team is directly related to how successful your business will be. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that effective leadership is not important even if you are the innovator and not the manager of your business, it’s still important to have good interpersonal and conflict resolution skills.
Business Technology Blogs
No matter what field you’re in, it’s imperative that you stay informed about new business technologies. You’ll need to know when to upgrade your IT equipment, how to cut costs with new tech, and what companies are offering the most up-to-date products and service.
Could you be saving time and money by ditching your land line and using internet conferencing and phone service? Should you be using the cloud to store important documents, and does your business have the most current information on how to protect customer data? Many start-ups don’t have the capital to hire an information technology professional, so you’ll need to educate yourself and your employees about new technologies and digital security threats. Technology blogs for small businesses and entrepreneurs are a great place to start.
Related Article: 10 Must-Read Technology Blogs to Keep You In the Know
While being an entrepreneur is rewarding in many ways, it also means you have to have a working understanding of all aspects of your business. While you don’t have to be the expert, it’s important that you give feedback on everything from financials to marketing and information security. There’s a wealth of information to be found in authoritative blogs and online publications but with so much information you have to prioritize what you choose to read. Try investing your time wisely by reading these five types of blogs.