Business Resources for Beginners

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(You’ve been doing well at publishing, technology and audience-building. Suddenly your online publication has become a business. Where can you find help in managing your startup?)

Sarting a Web 2.0 business is a game of twists and turns and success may come from an unexpected quarter when entrepreneurs follow the rules: build, test, assess and only then try to scale.

That’s the short and dirty synopsis of a fun and useful Business 2.0 story that uses this example of how an afterthought turned into the main event:

“Ludicorp, the original parent company of online photo site Flickr, began as a startup developing a massively multiplayer game called the Game Neverending. As part of the initial software development, the company developed a tool that allowed people to share photos and chat about them. As more and more of the internal team and their friends began to use the tool, it became clear that providing technology to share photos in a unique way was the real opportunity–a shift that led to the creation of the Flickr website and an all-new business model. The Game Neverending was never launched, but Flickr was acquired by Yahoo in 2005 for an estimated $30 million.”

Don’t be blinded by the chimera of success. The Small Business Administration says “over 50% of small businesses fail in the first year and 95% fail within the first five years,” according to a list of the top 10 reasons why. Reason number one: lack of business experience. So check out some tips before you become a stastistic.

The Business 2.0 article is a hoot and the magazine has reposted it in PDF format for easy download. It’s breezy and a bit frothy as a result but is packed with insights and graphically appealing. The few minutes it takes to read will surely deliver a few good ideas.

By the way, article co-author Om Malik has taken his own advice and has started GigaOmniMedia. (Let’s hope Om has read his own second-to-last set of rule, including this rubric: “rent should be no more than four to six percent of total operating costs.”

The Business Week article is the aerial view of business at 30,000 feet. In looking for specific information start with the Small Business Administration. A good SBA summary of resources would be the place to start. It will point to places like:

  • Business Owners Idea Cafe, an award-winning community that been around since 1995;
  • Beaucoup places to find help writing business plans;
  • Even places to find advisers, such as SCORE, an organization of retired business people who will come in and help you one-on-one (my sister Tina (Parental Wisdom) Nocera recently reminded me how helpful SCORE can be.

Finally, check out the “business administration” category of Andilinks, a repository of resources on a wide array of topics all gathered and reviewed by Andrea Silver. About Andrea I can say little. About Andilinks, I can’t say enough. It’s a fascinating site that reminds me of browsing titles in a book store. Just visit when you have time to lounge.