Best Business Practices: Getting the Information You Need to Effectively Run Your Business

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Best Business Practices: Getting the Information You Need to Effectively Run Your Business

As a small business owner, it is critical that you keep abreast of commerce and industry trends. Unfortunately, you are busy running your business and don’t have a lot of time to devote to independent research. You need to find and absorb information quickly, so that you can focus the bulk of your time on getting business done.

The following is a quick five-step program for gathering information efficiently and making the most of your time.

Step 1: Decide on the online resources that matter to you.
There are number of invaluable online resources that will help you be knowledgeable, efficient and effective. Your list of resources should be a mix of business sites, blogs and podcasts, as well as your target market(s) and industry-specific resources. Some reputable business resources include:

And the 100 Best Small Business Podcast list at the Small Business Trends Radio website has some fantastic recommendations and Forbes has an excellent small business blog section.

Step 2: Bookmark the most valuable websites.
Once you have a final list, bookmark all the websites so that you can easily access them in the future.

Step 3: Create a Google Reader account and subscribe to your favorite blogs.
Create a Google Reader account (if you do not have a Google account, you will need one to create a Google Reader) and assign the blogs you are interested in to the Reader. It will pull the new posts and organize them for easy pursuing.

Step 3: Subscribe to relevant industry podcasts.
Subscribe to the podcasts that interest you. Download these regularly and listen to them during your commute, while you work out and while you are doing simple tasks or chores.

Step 4: Schedule time to actually read/listen to the resources.
All of this organization will do no good if you do not take the time to actually go through it. Treat it like any other business-related task. Set aside an hour or two each week on your calendar. Better yet, start each day briskly going through the resources.

Step 5: Thoughtfully revise your websites, pod casts and Google Reader settings.

Inevitably, some resource will prove more valuable than others. Do not be afraid to purge resources that prove less helpful or insightful. Your time is too valuable to waste. Likewise, if you discover a fantastic new resource, be sure to formally add it into the mix.

Andrew Yeung is President of CompAndSave, a leading online provider of premium printer ink cartridges, including Canon cartridges and HP deskjet cartridges. A streamlined state-of-art manufacturing facility and online distribution model allows CompAndSave to sell laser toner cartridges at steep discounts, saving small businesses thousands in operating costs each year.

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