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Staying Savvy

At some point, all small-business owners will find themselves in need of inspiration. And there's nothing better than books, blogs, podcasts and online forums to give you the revitalizing boost.

Michele Chiappetta
November 28, 2018

When you’re starting a business, there is a lot to learn. And that’s an understatement. There’s a decidedly sharp learning curve when you’re first putting your toe in the business waters, even if your business is a solopreneurship, a freelance gig, or a tiny family business employing just you and your spouse.

No matter how small you are or how big you want to grow, the basics of business are essential to understand and set up right. And it’s crucial to put on your learning cap and keep mastering more tools that will help you ramp up to and maintain long-term success.

That’s where discovering resources for growing your business acumen is essential. So, I’ve put together a list this month of some of my own favorite podcasts, websites, and books about business. These are resources I use again and again or have found super practical in terms of being easy to understand and build on.

Start Your Own Business: The Only Startup Book You’ll Ever Need
By Entrepreneur Media
Filled with practical information on all the key elements of launching and making your first few years a success, this book is a great resource. It covers topics such as when to launch, market research, knowing your competitors, different business structures, finding startup funds, negotiation, hiring … basically all the questions you want answers to when you’re still learning the small business ropes.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is a super resource in many ways — and it’s a free website, so that’s a bonus. This is the place to go for business owners who want details on various governmental programs they can take advantage of, such as grants and loans. In addition, the SBA.gov website provides articles, online courses, tips and guides to basic issues that small businesses face. I like to use the site for starting research into a topic I need to learn more about.

Building a Story Brand
By Donald Miller
While Miller has books and website courses, I’m specifically recommending his podcast here. Story Brand is a distinct style of positioning your business in terms of marketing. Miller’s podcast talks about positioning, of course, but the even cooler reason to tune in is the variety of guests and topics he covers. Past guests have included Daymond John, Scott Hamilton, Seth Godin, and the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson. Listening to this podcast, you’ll be inspired to reach for more.

Problem Solvers
By Jason Feifer
Businesses continually face challenges, unexpected mishaps, new issues they’ve never faced before, and all-around questions that keep you on your toes. This podcast interviews business owners who have faced problems so serious, their business could have been crushed, but instead passed through the gauntlet with flying colors. Sometimes, you’ll be able to relate to the problem and get tips for fixing something you’re dealing with. Other times, you’ll just be reminded you’re not the only one facing troubles and be inspired to keep fighting forward.

Money Lab
By Matt Giovanisci
What’s interesting about Matt Giovanisci is that he’s a serial entrepreneur. If he gets an idea for a business he likes, he starts it — and sees what happens. So, he’s got some interesting successes and failures under his belt, and he’s not ashamed to talk about either. His podcast is one place where he talks about his many, many tries, failures, and successes. You’ll definitely get some ideas you can use for your own business, as well as learning what not to do.

By Nick Loper
This is one of my favorite websites, and I’m also a big fan of Loper’s podcast, The Side Hustle Show. Loper is a fun, down-to-earth guy who enjoys picking the brains of people who built their side hustles into full-fledged, money-making business machines. And what’s so cool about his approach is not just the practical advice he comes up with, but the incredible variety of money-making opportunities out there. If you have an idea, no matter how unusual it seems, there’s probably a way to monetize it if you work it diligently enough. This website and podcast prove it.

You’ve probably heard of Seth Godin. But in case you haven’t, Godin is a thought leader on building your tribe, marketing, leadership, and pursuing meaningful work. He’s easily found in lots of places, including Udemy where he offers courses that inspire business owners. His website curates all his many podcast interviews, videos, articles and blog posts. He is easy to relate to as he provides relevant content that will help you up your business game.

You Turns
By Lisa Oz and Jill Herzig
This podcast concentrates on how to handle the ups and downs of changes in life. In that sense, it’s not just about business but about everything. But if you’re running a small business, then you know what I know — everything in your life can be affected by your business, and everything in your business can be affected by your life. Navigating change with grace and flexibility is a handy skill to have, and this show explores that, which can only be good for the rollercoaster ride that is working for yourself.

Free Marketing: 101 Low and No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Business, Online and Off
By Jim Cockrum
A key to getting your business in front of consumers is marketing. And there are endless debates on this subject. Do you invest in print, TV, radio, billboards and the like? Do you bid for Google AdWords and other SEO-based tricks? Do you get a killer website, or do you rely on word-of-mouth? This book tackles questions like this. But what it’s especially good for is sparking ideas as you brainstorm ways to spread your marketing message with the world. The book concentrates on options that fit well with a tiny budget, making it ideal for a startup.

I’d love to hear your suggestions for what I should investigate over the next several months in terms of entrepreneurship in Tulsa. Feel free to message your ideas to Preview 918 on Facebook (which I can see anytime), or email me, or share ideas on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtags #lovethe918 or #tulsasmallbusiness.