Group of Small Business Founders and Leaders

The Ten Best Blogs for Founders, Entrepreneurs, and Leaders

A list of our ten favorite inspiring and useful blogs for small business founders, entrepreneurs, and leaders.

Small business leaders and founders (like you) often write encouraging and insightful blogs. They’ve struggled through your same challenges and expertly articulate their journey to success - or failure.

Most are hyper-transparent, even going as far as revealing financials for readers to critique. And for small business founders and leaders, reading their words can be a bottomless well of tips, lessons, and inspiration.

Our collection features ten of Team 80’s favorite business and entrepreneurial blogs. They’re our go-to’s for Monday mornings when we’re settling into a busy week and need motivation. Each blog offers a different perspective on business and entrepreneurship - together, the collection is a library of business wisdom.

Here are our ten favorite blogs for small business founders and leaders.

  1. Seth Godin
    Seth Godin is a best-selling author. He’s been called “the ultimate entrepreneur for the Information Age,” and his blog reflects his specialties: business ideas, philosophies, and small business marketing tips with a focus on mindset. His words make us think, and with more than 7,000 posts, there’s a lot to absorb.
  2. Guy Kawasaki
    Guy Kawasaki is Canva’s, Chief Evangelist. He sharpened his marketing knife working on Apple’s Macintosh line in the early 1980s, and shares his knowledge on his popular blog. His marketing, social media, startup, and business insights are useful for every small business leader and founder.
  3. The Grasshopper Blog
    The Grasshopper Blog publishes articles that include actionable marketing tips for startups and small businesses. It’s inspiring and insightful content for founders and C-Suite execs and our source for blogs like “6 Tips to Help a Struggling Small Business Stay Afloat.
  4. Side Hustle Nation
    Well-known entrepreneur Nick Loper’s blog, Side Hustle Nation, accompanies his popular podcast, The Side Hustle Show, and offers tips for entrepreneurs trying to run a successful side-hustle without impacting their day jobs. Even if you’re not looking for a side hustle, his blogs provide fresh and inspiring ideas.
  5. Harvard Business Review
    Harvard Business Review features articles authored by founders and leaders on a range of topics like innovation, strategy, and business leadership. It’s intellectually stimulating content to wake your sleepy Monday morning brain.
  6. Small Biz Survival
    Small Biz Survival is an excellent resource for small business owners. The site’s content is intended for small town and rural businesses, but you can apply its insights and information to any small business.
  7. Startup Savant
    Startup Savant is our go-to for down-to-earth business advice and information. The content-packed site features articles covering five areas: compliance, planning, finances, branding, and formation.
  8. Women on Business
    Women on Business from Susan Gunelius, the President and CEO of Keysplash Creative, is an excellent resource for information and news explicitly designed to help more women build and oversee successful businesses.
  9. Under 30 CEO
    Under 30 CEO targets a younger demographic, but that doesn’t mean the blogs aren’t appropriate for business owners of every age. We appreciate the youthful slant; it’s refreshing.
  10. Quick Sprout
    Quick Sprout is the blog of well-known marketer Neil Patel. Patel, a trusted name in business and marketing, shares tactics and insights on marketing, lead generation, and social media. We’re fans of articles on his site like The Best Phone Service for Small Businesses.

There are many useful blogs for small business founders and leaders, but the ten featured here are our team’s personal favorites.

Do you have a list of favorite business blogs? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.


Two creative millennial small business owners working on social media strategy using a digital tablet while sitting in staircase

12 Useful Tips When Starting Your Own Successful Business

If you are in the process of starting a small business, chances are you are in need of some highly effective advice and tips.

You are discovering there is more to owning/running a business than simply opening the doors and building a website.

When it comes to starting an enterprise, you need good management. You may already be pretty good at that. But your business also needs leadership. That means spending some time in the future.

Let’s look at the process of envisioning a great company and beginning to behave like one from the very earliest stages. (Good advice from Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM.)

At Team 80, we understand it can be daunting when it comes to starting your own successful, smoothly working business. Here are twelve things successful businesses do:

Tips For Starting A Successful Business

 

  1. Have a Detailed Vision in Sight: This is the first tip as it will be the very foundation that your business is built on. Envision your fully operational company five years into the future (including an exit event.) Choose a Core Purpose and the Core Values that will define your organization and let this vivid vision guide you on your journey.
  2. Write Out an Execution Plan for This Vision: This will be the outline for your entire business. Consider this execution plan for achieving your 5-year vision to be your how-to-manual for your business. It is the tool that you will use to review your milestones, budgets, tasks, and your 3-year, 1-year, and quarterly goals. Make it quantitative: what will sales be, gross margins, headcount?
  3. Choose The Right Legal Structure: A legal structure well attuned to your planned day-to-day operations (including exit) will impact everything from your taxes to your reporting obligations to your personal liabilities. You will choose between being a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, S corporation, or Limited Liability Company. Most small businesses will opt for an LLC, possibly accompanied by an election to be taxed as an S corporation.
  4. Create a Functional Organization Chart: An organizational chart designed around your finished business can help visualize the flow of leadership from ideas all the way through to delivering your product or service to your customers. This is a functional organization chart. That means you don’t initially drop names into the boxes, but, instead, use a shorthand description of what needs to happen within the boxes. Lately, we’ve been recommending adding a separate box labeled “The Future”, to encourage businesses to remember everything changes and to build in the continuous adaptation process needed for sustained success.
  5. Detail The Functions of Each Position: For each of the boxes you created for your functional organization chart, create a Position Agreement which describes what needs to happen within that box, including what outcomes are produced. List up to 5 major roles for each function. Describe how the function supports the Core Purpose of the business and which other functions it supports or relies on for support of its own activities.
  6. Devise a Hiring Plan: Once you have assessed your specific needs using a functional organization chart and Position Agreements, you will need to create a step-by-step hiring process for identifying and attracting the right people. You are looking for 3 specific traits in each position: (1) people who clearly understand the job, (2) people who are passionate about doing the job (share the Core Purpose and Values), and (3) people with the capabilities needed for the job.
  7. Create an Active External Advisory Board: Let’s face it, you are going to be very busy working “in” your business. Setting up an advisory board that meets quarterly helps ensure you set aside some time for working “on” your business. Having advisors who are from outside your business keeps you in touch with the world where your customers and competitors live. A good advisory board is not a place to get your questions answered: its where you go to get your answers questioned.
  8. Develop a Target Market Analysis: A written out analysis of your target market will help your company allocate funds effectively as well as help identify the audience that will most likely use your product or services. Create a marketing persona that embodies your customer or audience. What emotions do you want to stir in your customers? What pain are you addressing? What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?
  9. Create a Marketing Plan to Address Your Marketing Target: Now that you have identified who your audience is, it is time to develop a written plan for penetrating your target market. Find the channels and mediums where your audience is, and create useful, relevant, attention-grabbing content/advertisements that are geared specifically towards them.
  10. Establish Process for Business Activities: Well thought out business processes will make it easy for your employees to understand and identify day-to-day business activities from making coffee to customer fulfillment. If it is not in writing, it does not exist. Good systems lead to great businesses. Use some of the time your systems save to continually improve your systems, Spend the rest of the time with your customers (or family).
  11. Set an Annual Operating Budget: Take the Quantitative Execution Plan you developed early in your planning and before the start of each year, create a budget that represents that year’s annual slice of your execution plan. Don’t just take the current year results and project them into the following year. Make your budget strategic by having it reflect the “big rocks” in your plan to improve your results. What will you stop doing next year? What will you start doing? What will you do more of? If you have more than 3-5 big rock initiatives, they aren’t big rocks.
  12. Lead Your People/Manage Your Business: It is a reality of business that there is never enough time. You must make time to pause often and think of two things:
    What can I do to help my people?
    How are my numbers?
    We know that sounds a bit unusual. But good business leaders know how to inspire their teams, while at the same time holding themselves and their teams accountable for results. Know your key performance indicators (KPI’s) and make sure your team knows them as well.
    12.5. (Bakers Dozen?) DON'T FORGET TO HAVE FUN!

Smiling hipster man reading book at cafe

21 Essential Books For Small Business Leaders

Broader Views of Intelligence

  1. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ - Daniel Goleman

Business Leadership

  1. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable - Patrick Lencioni
  2. Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Field Guide for Leaders, Managers, and Facilitators - Patrick Lencioni
  3. Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization - Dave Logan, John King, Halee Fischer-Wright
  4. Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor - Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman, James O’Toole

Business Basics

  1. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It - Michael E. Gerber
  2. Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business - Gino Wickman (to be read after The E-Myth)
  3. Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It...and Why the Rest Don't (Rockefeller Habits 2.0) - Verne Harnish (to be read after Traction)

Business Tools

  1. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition - Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, Laura Roppe

Disruptive Thinking

  1. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich - Timothy Ferriss

Happiness

  1. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work - Shawn Achor

Happy Workplaces

  1. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose - Tony Hsieh

Inspired Businesses

  1. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (Good to Great) - Jim Collins
  2. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't - Jim Collins

Life Planning

  1. Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life - Bill Burnett, Dave Evans

Making Decisions

  1. Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman

Marketing Basics

  1. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die - Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Personal Growth

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change - Steven R. Covey

Personal Integrity

  1. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) - Don Miguel Ruiz

Product Launch

  1. Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers - Geoffrey A. Moore

What Motivates People

  1. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us - Daniel H. Pink