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Resources for entrepreneurs

60 Great Tools

Now starting a business is hard, especially when you don't have the right tools. But how do you knows which tools are the best to use? Rob Fitzpatrick, a serial entrepreneur, and author of a great book on how to talk to customers put together a brain dump of tools he frequently turns to for his projects. Some are more obvious, others fairly unusual, but each can be extremely useful for startups. So this is a list you certainly should check out.

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Accelerate St Louis

Accelerate St. Louis provides information and resources to startups, connects entrepreneurs and investors, and helps tell your story as it evolves. So if your start-up is located in St. Louis, you should check them out. They also provide some great networking opportunities.

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Florida Secretary of State

If you want to start a business in the state of Florida then the first order of business is that you need to obtain the proper licenses and you also need to register your business with the state. The Florida Secretary of State can facilitate this process for you. Most of your business filings can be done online at their website and the fees associated with various filings are also listed on their website.  

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Get Your EIN

EIN stands for Employer Identification Number and if you are starting a business in the U.S. then you will need it, no two ways about it.  Just think about this, when you go to open a checking account for your business the first thing the banker would ask for is EIN for your business. Think about EIN as the Social Security Number for businesses. It is assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). There is usually no cost in applying for an EIN and you can apply for an EIN online. The process is very easy.

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Indie Gogo

A crowd funding site and a great way for start-ups to raise money and also validate their ideas at the same time. A must check site for all start-ups.

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Innovate St. Louis

Innovate St. Louis helps to create vibrant entrepreneur centered communities where entrepreneurs, investors, and relevant stakeholders connect to accelerate the success of new ventures. They also have two flagship mentoring programs, Innovate Venture Mentoring and IT Entrepreneur Network that you may want to check out. So if you are located in St. Louis, I would certainly check them out.

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Kauffman Founders School

In the field of entrepreneurship education the Kauffman Foundation has a global name. The Kauffman Founders School includes tools put together by the Kauffman Foundation that are great for start-ups or existing businesses. The tools are presented as short videos and the presenters are practicing entrepreneurs, educators, and consultants that are on the top of their game. Plus, the resources provided by the Kauffman Founders are completely FREE.  

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Kickstarter

Probably the most popular crowd funding site for start-ups. Another much check site for all start-ups. There is no reason why you can’t run campaigns in multiple crowd funding sites for your start-up. Along with money a great way to validate your idea as well.

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Legal Zoom

Legal Zoom is an easy-to-use, online service that helps people create their own legal documents. When you start a business there are a lot of legal requirements that you have to be aware of and also fulfill at the same time. Think about Legal Zoom as your online 24/7 attorney. It can help you incorporate a business, trademark a name, prepare non-disclosure agreements or take care of other common legal matters. Though the services offered by Legal Zoom are not free, it is quite reasonable.

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Meetup Group

The St. Louis Entrepreneur Group or commonly known as the Meetup Group is for people that either own a business, would like to go into business for themselves or those who work for a small business in the St. Louis area. They regularly help entrepreneurs and small businesses that are just starting out as well as offer assistance to those already blazing their own trail. A great way to meet people that can make a difference for your business.

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Missouri Innovation Center

The Missouri Innovation Center is a non-profit organization focused on providing support for high growth business ventures that improve human life and sustainability. They are located in Columbia, MO and are motivated by good ideas, exceptional people, and contribute to the growth of Mid-Missouri by attracting high growth businesses in need of assistance navigating the landscape of commercialization. Also, if your start-up needs an incubator space they might be able to assist or point you to the right direction.

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Missouri Secretary of State

If you want to start a business in the state of Missouri then the first order of business is that you need to obtain the proper licenses and you also need to register your business with the state. The Missouri Secretary of State can facilitate this process for you. Most of your business filings can be done online at their website and the fees associated with various filings are also listed on their website.  

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Prosper

If you are a women entrepreneur I would certainly recommend that you take a look at Prosper. Prosper was created to address the entrepreneur gender gap in the St. Louis region.  They are a group of business leaders, thinkers, doers, innovators and students who want to make sure that the St. Louis region is well positioned in the new economy and, more specifically, that women entrepreneurs are a vital part of its future.

Prosper Women Entrepreneurs is comprised of two separate divisions:  Prosper Institute, a non-profit organization focused on training and mentoring women in the entrepreneurial community, and Prosper Capital, a for-profit organization focused on increasing women entrepreneurs' access to growth capital and the number of women investing in early stage capital markets.

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Regional Economic Development Inc. (REDI, Columbia, MO)

REDI acts as a local point of contact for any company that requests information about Columbia, Missouri and Boone County. In addition to providing available site and building information, comprehensive area demographics and labor availability studies, REDI organizes community tours, facilitates community leader introductions when prospective companies visit the area and acts as a liaison for local utilities and city government. REDI also serves as a liaison with the Missouri State Department of Economic Development to provide customized state incentive proposals. They also host an event called “1 Million Cups” every Wednesday morning where aspiring start-ups get a chance to talk about their products or services. There is no cost to present and you can get some great feedbacks from the audience. So if are thinking about testing your idea, why not get a time slot to present it at 1 Million Cups. REDI also has great resources for start-ups located in Columbia, MO.

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SME Pals

A site dedicated to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs thrive online. Find new ideas, create a business plan, and learn how to take ideas and turn them into a strong, profitable online business presence.

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Start-Up Tools By Steve Blank

Steve Blank is widely respected in the world of start-ups. In other words, you can call him a start-up guru. He has gathered a list of resources that can be extremely valuable to all start-ups. Also, he has this innate ability to simplify concepts. So if you are thinking about starting a business, learning from Steve can be extremely valuable.

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U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

SBA has some great tools for both start-ups and existing small to mid-sized businesses. You can also look at business plan development templates while you are surfing their site. Most SBA services are free to the public. While you are there you may also want to take a look at the various loan programs they have. But keep in mind that most of their loan programs are geared for existing small to mid-sized businesses rather than start-ups.

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Utah Secretary of State

If you want to start a business in the state of Utah then the first order of business is that you need to obtain the proper licenses and you also need to register your business with the state. The Utah Secretary of State can facilitate this process for you. Most of your business filings can be done online at their website and the fees associated with various filings are also listed on their website.  

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