The word "entrepreneur" has taken over our newsfeed recently. A bare-bones definition of an entrepreneur is someone who starts a business venture, taking on financial risk, in the hope of turning a profit. The word today has taken on its own, rather glamorous, texture that goes well beyond the dictionary -- but at its core, it's still somebody trying to get a business idea off the ground.
If you're a seasoned, serial entrepreneur -- and there are many -- you've probably got a proven formula and a flair for success. But if it's all new to you, or you haven't managed to make previous entrepreneurial efforts pay off, where do you go for support and information?
The good news is that advice is freely accessible via the Internet. A Google search of "advice for entrepreneurs" will gift you more than 93,000,000 results, ready to supply everything you need to move forward with your brilliant start-up. Likewise, a search for "entrepreneur" on Amazon will find 38,054 magazines, books and e-books to guide you along the entrepreneurial path. If there's one thing to be said for the international entrepreneurial community, it's that it's extremely generous with its wisdom. In fact, many successful (and not-so-successful) entrepreneurs have converted the giving of advice into a business. So how do you sort the brilliant counsel from the money-making noise? After all, your time is very literally money and you can't waste it down a million rabbit holes.
One of the easiest ways to successfully navigate this maze of information is to try to isolate some experts who resonate with you. Perhaps they started out in a similar industry or are specialists in a particular field of business. Many well-known entrepreneurs have their own blogs or regularly offer advice on other platforms. Here are a few worth considering:
Fred Wilson has more than 20 years venture capitalist experience and authors one of the most popular VC blogs in the world. His daily posts are insightful and easy to understand, and he regularly interacts with his blog "community."
Guy Kawasaki, former advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google and chief evangelist of Apple, has written 13 books and is an active public speaker. Guy has his VC hat on for most of his blog posts and is great for a regular dose of entrepreneurial realism.
Dave Kerpen is an entrepreneur and author known for his unique sales strategies. He offers general advice in his articles and is also an expert in leveraging social media for small business. You'll find him at inc.com and LinkedIn as well as on social media.
Eric Ries is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author, renowned for his Lean Startup movement, which aims at efficiency in new business. His articles are a fantastic resource for those starting out, especially tech start-ups, but there's sound advice for all small business too.
Seth Godin is an entrepreneur, marketing guru and bestselling author with an incredibly popular blog. His posts are easily digested and offer pithy advice, both thought provoking and relevant, with a healthy dose of humour.
Richard Branson needs no introduction. A Google search for Branson's advice gives you almost 700, 000 results. There's some good, practical council in amongst it, but Branson's best pieces are the ones you'll want to print out in big letters and blue tack to your office wall.
Venture Hacks' start-up experts Babak Nivi and Naval Ravikant have experience on both sides of the fence -- as entrepreneurs and investors. Their blog features concise information and clever "how-to" guides, as well as a link to their innovative investment and start-up platform AngelList.
Probably the best way to survive the content apocalypse is to use a platform that curates information for you. For example, you can leverage LinkedIn by subscribing to LinkedIn Today or following your favourite LinkedIn Influencers -- you'll find many top entrepreneurs on there. Following particular Influencers and topics customises LinkedIn Today to deliver relevant articles to your inbox.
Another option, Quora is a Q&A site that provides targeted advice in a timely fashion. You can follow particular topics appropriate to your business, or general topics such as "entrepreneurship." You can also check out what questions Mark Zuckerberg, Dave Kerpen, Eric Ries et al are asking and answering.
You'll also find many websites that specifically offer information for business. Some of these are general or you might be lucky enough to find one that specialises in your particular area of business. Some sound options to explore are Huffington Post, Business Insider, Entrepreneur.com and Inc.com, which all provide quality articles and information for small business owners, start-ups and budding entrepreneurs. And if you're a tech startup, news-style site TechCrunch is well worth a look.
Personal blogs, news sites and online communities all provide a starting point, but the problem with entrepreneurial advice is the nature of those giving it. Successful entrepreneurs are, by nature, passionate and productive. Over 90,000 articles are published on the Internet every single day. One can only guess at how many actually deal with entrepreneurship, but given the authorship, it's probably a fair few. So even if you whittle down this avalanche of entrepreneurial content, you can still be faced with an overwhelming number of advice pieces, or even holiday pics, depending on whom you follow. And it's all too easy to get sucked into the time vortex of what the "big guys" are doing rather than concentrating on your own journey.
The time seems ripe for a next generation player on the entrepreneurial stage, connecting start-ups with mentors, curating existing advice articles and delivering real-world business outcomes. All with one eye on quality and the other on the clock.
Tania Price is the CEO of Entropolis.
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