- September 12, 2004

Due Diligence Now!

When was the last time you checked your bookmarks?
You may be seeing some renewed activity in the business sector, sluggish as it may be. I've been reading mixed reviews that indicate the job market is enjoying a bit of a comeback. Whether you've actually seen that or not, it's very important to stay informed right now. Businesses are revving up for what they hope will be a good holiday season. And, election campaigns are now in full force. Less than two months from now, we'll be called on to make decisions that will affect our very livelihood for the next
four years, and many years to come.
Now is the time to prepare by staying abreast of current events and resources designed to support small businesses. With all the mixed messages and mud slinging out there it's more important than ever to review a number of resources in order to make wise decisions. 
Doing so can be a challenge, but if you have your Bookmarks (Favorites) set to include those most pertinent to you as a business person and as a creative entrepreneur, you can return to them quickly. No doubt you already have many set. But, bookmarks (Favorites) do get broken. So you might want to check them now.
Websites that are most important to visit regularly today include: newspapers, your state/city/village government sites, business sites and professional organizations. To stay abreast of the issues that directly impact you and your business decisions, cycle through all of these sites frequently...even daily if possible.
Here are a few Online Business Resources small businesses (yes, that includes those who are artists, musicians and writers) will find helpful:  
AARP - Legislation and Elections http://www.aarp.org/legislative/
AARP - Money and Work http://www.aarp.org/money/
BBC       http://news.bbc.co.uk/
Business N@tion   http://www.businessnation.com/index.html
Business Week On-line  https://www.bloomberg.com/small-business.
CBS   http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/home/main100.shtml
CCH Business Toolkit  http://www.toolkit.cch.com/
Entrepreneur On-line  
Entrepreneur's State-by-State Guide
Inc On-line  http://www.inc.com/home/
MSNBC     http://www.msnbc.msn.com/ 
New York Times  http://www.nytimes.com/ 
Office Depot --Your Business Center http://www.officedepot.com/ (scroll down to this section)  
Service Corps Of Retired Executives (SCORE) http://www.score.org/
Small Business Administration http://www.sbaonline.sba.gov/
Small Business Computing  http://www.smallbusinesscomputing.com/
SoHo Today  http://www.soho-today.com/index2.shtml
Wall Street Journal   http://online.wsj.com/public/us 
Don't forget to search for - and bookmark - your own local newspapers and your state government's website (including the specific departmentsthat are devoted to serving the business community). It's easy. In the search box of your favorite search page (or www.Google.com) simply enter the name of your newspaper, the word "News", and your state. For example I'd search for: "Oak Leaves News IL" to get to the news page.
And then, search for your state government, these will typically be an address that ends in ".gov" or ".org" rather than ".com" The Entrepreneurs State-by-State Guide above will give you a good start. Another option, for most states, is to type in the address bar of your browser: http://www.illinois.gov (substitute the name of your state, for example: http://www.newmexico.gov .
Remember to search for and bookmark your local village or city Mayor's Office, Chamber of Commerce and your professional organization as well. If you do this now, you will be able to quickly cycle through them and stay current on issues that will dramatically affect your business success.  



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