- Online resources to set up a business and web presence
- Free and affordable resources for day-to-day business management
- Resources for in-person and virtual networking
Q: What resources should all remote business owners be aware of?
A: Free and cost-effective resources are available to support entrepreneurs and small remote businesses to help with nearly every aspect of business ownership from startup to scaling to exit strategies.
You’ve mapped out your vision, written your mission statement, and plotted your strategic business plan. You know who you want to work with and how you want to make a difference in the world. You’re going for it. Now, you actually have to start and run a business. Where do you find resources for starting a small business? Every small remote business should be aware of the list of resources for businesses below.
- Financial resources for small business owners
- Where can I find tax and legal resources for my remote business?
- Insurance resources to consider for small business owners.
Running a Business Alone Can Be Daunting
Or maybe you’ve been in business for a while. You’re already established, and now you’re ready to scale up, pivot to a new client niche, or offer a new service that requires you to secure unique and different resources than the ones you used to get started. Where do you go to get the guidance and funding you need?
Business owners need resources in all seasons, from startup to scaling to exit planning. Whether you are a solopreneur or a team leader, you need resources to help you attract and keep clients, stay legal and compliant, network and market your products and services, and manage day-to-day tasks.
What kinds of resources does your remote business need to scale?
Online Resources to Set Up Your Small Business
Mapping out your vision for a small business is fun and energizing. You’ve got big dreams, and you’re good at what you do, which is why you’re in business.
But it’s tough to do it all. You undoubtedly know the benefit of accessing the best resources to set up your small business. Yes, completing the paperwork required to set up the business can be daunting, but you can do it.
There are online resources to help you, and many of them are free.
Financial Resources for Small Business Owners
All businesses need money to get started.
Some business owners fund their new ventures themselves. Some invite the public to participate in the beginning phases of their business through crowdfunding platforms.
Others ask for help from their in-laws.
There are many ways to fund your new business, so if you don’t have financial reserves to self-fund or generous, wealthy in-laws to ask for seed money, consider other funding options such as loans and grants.
Resources may be available from community banks or credit unions in your area. You can also check into funding through grants or programs that designate money to support minority-owned businesses.
Tax and Legal Resources
When you start a new business, you must consider your business’s tax, compliance, and legal aspects. Requirements will vary depending on your business and location.
For complex legal advice, you may want to consult an attorney in your local area who specializes in working with business startups and entrepreneurs.
If you want to set up a simple LLC or DBA or to secure your intellectual property, LegalZoom is an affordable resource. LegalZoom can guide you through do-it-yourself services, or you can consult with one of their experts for a flat-rate fee to find out more about what your business needs to be protected.
Another online resource is The Legal Website Warrior. Here you can find customizable templates for legal documents created with online entrepreneurs in mind. You can purchase and instantly download documents like a one-to-one client service agreement or brand ambassador agreement for an affordable fee. Document bundles can be bought, which saves you some money.
As all business owners know, you pay taxes when your business makes money or hires employees. Dealing with taxes can be overwhelming.
To make sure you don’t have any unwelcome tax surprises down the road and to make sure you are making the most of your eligible deductions, you may want to consult with a tax professional in your local area.
You can also start by going to the official IRS website, where you can find guidelines and support for small business owners and self-employed people.
You can also use online tax service websites like Turbotax and H&R Block for do-it-yourself tax preparation services or to connect with a tax professional if you want some expert tax advice for your unique situation.
Small Business Insurance Resources
Insurance feels like an unnecessary overhead expense until you need it, and you’re glad you have it. Insurance policies exist to protect just about everything and everyone. Be sure to cover what you need and nothing more.
You may need liability insurance to protect yourself and your clients, whether you work with people online or in person.
You may need property and casualty insurance if you have physical office space where you see clients or a brick-and-mortar business where people shop.
You may need to set up key man life insurance if you enter into a partnership or acquire investors in your business.
You can also find umbrella policies that bundle all your insurance needs, so your coverage comes from one company. Bundling is a convenient option that can help you save money too.
Keeping Your Business Compliant
Depending on the type of business you are starting, you may need to secure a business license or practitioner license.
Your state or local government typically issues Business licenses. Most jurisdictions support online licensing and registration for your convenience.
Practitioner license requirements run the gamut from medical providers to mental health practitioners to barbers to real estate agents. If you are starting a business, you are probably well aware of the practitioner licensing requirements and guidelines that may apply to you.
Another compliance consideration to be aware of before you start filling out tax and legal forms is physical address requirements.
Physical Address Requirements
Even though most legal and tax paperwork can be completed online without handling actual paper, for many of the tax and legal forms you have to fill out, P.O. boxes are not allowed, and you are required to use a physical address.
This can be a challenge if you’re working from home or you are a digital nomad. You need a physical address for business purposes, but you don’t want to use your personal information.
[Solution] A Virtual Office from Alliance
Consider a virtual office plan available through Alliance Virtual Offices. Alliance Virtual Offices provides a real address backed by a physical location available in the city of your choice which you can use for your LLC registration – and on legal and tax forms.
Bonus: Opt-in to mail forwarding to keep your mail secure and your personal information private while maintaining your flexibility to receive your mail wherever you are.
Unlike many “digital only address” companies that are popping up everywhere, Alliance Virtual Offices enables entrepreneurs and small business owners to register their LLC using a virtual office address – with access to private meeting rooms and on-demand coworking access with other like-minded businesses.
Resources to Develop Your Online Presence
Today, you are expected to have an online presence to prove that your business has a pulse.
This usually means having a website where people can find you and see what you’re all about. Some businesses may get away with a robust social media presence. Either way, if you want to grow sales, your business has to be online.
You’ve heard it before. Your website is your virtual storefront.
If you have a remote business, your website is the primary place where you interact with your customers and clients. Even if you have a brick-and-mortar business location, an attractive website is a must in today’s business ecosystem.
You need a website that is visually attractive and easy to navigate. The best website hosting services are dependable and affordable. Two popular services are Wix and Squarespace.
On these platforms, you can start developing your site for free and pay for upgrades and additional services necessary to your business, such as selling products, accepting payments, and booking appointments through your website. You can even set up membership-only areas of your site or sell tickets to your in-person events.
Both platforms allow you to build your website yourself from scratch or with pre-made templates. Or you can hire an in-house expert to take care of designing and building a website for you.
And, of course, you need data to see where your site visitors are coming from and how they interact with your site so they provide you with detailed analytics.
Social media platforms are perhaps the easiest and fastest place to get your business in front of thousands of people.
You may live to develop and consistently post curated social media content that attracts your clients and converts them to paying clients and customers. Or maybe you cringe at the thought of it.
Either way, there are online resources to make it easy for you to develop and maintain your social media presence.
Hootsuite allows you to schedule social media posts in advance and measure the results of your posts.
Canva makes designing attractive, engaging visual content easy, even if you have no experience.
Email newsletters are a sales funnel staple and can really boost your sales.
And to take website visitors to email newsletter subscribers to paying customers, you need to promote your business and earn their trust through consistent email marketing.
You can write the content in the emails yourself, or you can hire a freelance writer. You can find freelancers that specialize in email marketing at online platforms Upwork or Fiverr.
Your local colleges may also be an excellent place to find someone with the skills to help you write website copy, design a logo, or develop a website at an affordable rate.
You also need to have an email newsletter service provider. Three that have been around for a while are Constant Contact, Convertkit, and Mailchimp. These offer free resources for basic features and tiered pricing for upgrades.
All of these resources for entrepreneurs allow you to stay connected with your prospects and clients – whether you work from home (WFH) or run your business on the road.
Read More: How to Become a Digital Nomad
With a virtual office address, entrepreneurial-minded, remote business owners benefit from a professional business address and on-demand meeting space – without the financial burden of a traditional office lease.
Business Resources for Small Entrepreneurial Teams
You may be a solopreneur. Or you may have a team of two, forty, or four hundred people. Regardless, it would help if you had the tools to manage yourself and your people.
Day-to-Day Team Management Resources
You need to keep yourself and your team on track to successfully manage your business. You need a seamless way to communicate, collaborate, share and store documents, distribute workloads, and maintain calendars to stay on track.
When you run a remote business, and your team is not in the same office or perhaps not even in the same state, day-to-day work management tools for your team are crucial.
Turning to the old standbys, Google or Microsoft may seem too easy for a team management solution. But Google Workspace and Microsoft Teams products are great because their products are easy to use, and most people are already familiar with them.
Numerous other online team management solutions are available, including products developed specifically for industries such as insurance firms and medical provider practices.
Most online solutions for team management offer tiered pricing, so you only need to pay for the features you need for the number of people on your team using the software.
If you are a team of one, but you would like someone to help you screen calls and take messages or receive and sort mail, we can set that up for you.
Or, if you usually work virtually but your team needs to meet in person occasionally or hold client meetings in a professional office space, we can accommodate your needs.
If a customized hybrid team management option is what you need, consider the flexible options solutions available through Alliance Virtual Offices.
Building Your Team
Hiring the right people for the job makes all the difference in a small business.
To grow your team, check out online hiring resources like Indeed or Ziprecruiter, where you can post your job opening and search for qualified candidates.
There are also niche sites to help you target people in specific industries such as insurance and legal professionals, or find people with particular interests such as nonprofits and startups.
Going through an industry-specific hiring site can help you find someone with a specific skill set or specialized experience who can fill a unique role on your team.
Upskilling is paramount whether you are a company of one or three – or an established group of consultants or solo attorneys.
Training and Development
Everybody wears several hats in small businesses, so you probably have knowledge in many aspects of your business. But you don’t have to be an expert at everything. That’s impossible.
It makes more sense for you and your team to learn new skills as new challenges and opportunities arise.
If you want to learn from mentors with experience in various fields of work, check out SCORE. It’s a non-profit organization that connects new business owners with seasoned business mentors with expertise in various areas.
SCORE also offers free online courses and helps you find in-person courses near you to help you build your business.
Coursera and Udemy are two other online training and education platforms where you and your team can learn skills related to web development, marketing, graphic design, and practically anything else that can be taught online.
Networking Your Small Business
Some people are networking geniuses, and others require a little nudge even to introduce themselves to one person. When it comes to starting and growing a business, networking is necessary.
Thanks to online networking platforms and social media, you can do all your networking online if that’s what you prefer.
If your business has a global reach, you may benefit from focusing your networking efforts on the leading online professional networking site, Linkedin.
You can also check into online communities that cater to your industry to connect with like-minded professionals. If you are a member of a professional membership organization, see if their website has a networking feature.
They may host chat threads, promote regular virtual or in-person meetups, or offer group discounts on things you need, like liability insurance.
Joining an industry membership organization will also help you stay informed and give you a badge of professionalism that is attractive to your clients and customers.
Remote business owners are increasingly using virtual offices and a distributed team. Along with conferences and events, coworking and meeting rooms are a great way to network with like-minded business owners.
Even though you can do all your networking without leaving your home or office, don’t underestimate the value of meeting with people in person.
One way to connect with other business owners in-person is by joining your local Chamber of Commerce. If you don’t want to join, see if yours hosts free events.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is another good resource.
Read More: The Best Methods for Enabling Networking Within Coworking Spaces
You may also find meetups of business owners in your field or a field adjacent to yours. You can find meetups of all kinds on Meetup.
What are the businesses and professionals your clients are seeing that can refer clients to you? These people are worth knowing.
Networking with people who can refer clients to you is just as valuable as building relationships with clients themselves. For example, if you are a moving company, divorce attorneys probably have clients who will need your services.
Local or online trade organizations offer support for your profession, allow you to meet with like-minded people to share ideas for resources, and keep you updated with the latest information and developments in your field.
Resources for Small Businesses: The Key Takeaways
Online resources are available for practically every aspect of starting, growing, and running your small business.
Presentation is everything. How you present your business to the world matters.
But it goes beyond presentation. It’s about you feeling confident that you are resourcing your business. You will feel good going out into the world knowing you are standing on solid ground.
- 10 Free Resources for Small Businesses to Leverage Year-Round
- The Best Free Resources for Small Business Owners
- Additional resources for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs
- 10 Best Small Business Project Management Software Tools (2022)
Most online resources can be accessed for affordable rates, often free. Save money by using these free and inexpensive online tools to manage your business so that you can allocate it to other areas.
And time is money. Use your time and energy to focus on the big stuff.
So use this basic checklist of resources to find the resources you may need for your small business. You can prioritize and fill in the gaps as you need to.
Check some tasks off your list and take some pressure off your shoulders. It feels good to have things done, right?
Have you considered using a virtual office plan for your remote business?
Along with the prestige of a recognized business address, coworking access, and meeting rooms on demand, Alliance Virtual Offices is here to help grow and scale your business.