The internet is full of entrepreneurial platforms geared towards helping you succeed. From networking to educational resources, you’re spoilt for choice. And that’s before you start looking into the tools out there to help you get through each day efficiently and effectively.
But, as you start your entrepreneurial journey, which platforms should you be looking at? And how to make sure you find valuable allies, not distractions?
In my experience working closely with dozens of successful founders, the two most important things to focus on in the beginning are building your network and learning from people who’ve been in your shoes.
For that reason, I’ve split this article into two sections to cover both of these vital components.
Let’s jump straight in with the first section.
Networking & Community Platforms
Building a network and community around you and your startup is vital to your success.
From sharing your idea with potential investors and clients to meeting potential hires and advisors – none of it is possible without building connections.
There’s no point in creating a great startup story if there’s no one to tell it to.
Here are nine platforms you can use to help grow your network and get out into the startup world.
No list of the best entrepreneurial platforms would be complete without mentioning LinkedIn.
It’s synonymous with online networking and has some great communities out there (like the OnStartups group – home to over 900k entrepreneurs).
While it’s great that there is a free platform that is home to pretty much every active entrepreneur on the planet, it does mean it’s quite an oversaturated platform.
Not that this doesn’t make it valuable, it means you just have to take your time separating the wheat from the chaff in terms of the people and groups you follow.
Bonus tip: Linkedin co-founder, Reid Hoffman, runs one of the best Podcasts for founders out there: Masters of Scale.
Meetup is arguably the best platform to get to know the entrepreneurial communities in your backyard and beyond.
For the last 20 years, it’s been helping people find relevant, local events and communities. And now, they even have online events to help your reach go even further.
One of the positives of this platform is that, on top of signing up for an event, join the organiser’s community and receive regular updates from them.
And, the events aren’t just great for networking. They’re fantastic for staying up to date with the latest industry trends.
Pavilion is a paid community focused on helping business professionals network and improve their knowledge.
The community has over 10,000 members, allowing you to connect with them both online and personally at dedicated executive events.
If that wasn’t enough, they have a curated library of over 1300 resources to help you with everything from job descriptions to reporting frameworks and more.
They also host Pavilion University where they leverage a proprietary “Immersive Learning Framework” to fuse “structured training with ongoing social learning to drive results.”
They offer formal training courses in sales, marketing, revenue operations, customer success, finance and leadership.
Startup Nation is a great place to meet other entrepreneurs and discuss important topics on all things business.
More than a community, Startup Nation has a large library of content, from articles to podcasts, that can help you become a more successful entrepreneur.
Founders Network is an exclusive online platform for entrepreneurs. The network is made up of over 600 tech founders with 30+ chapters across the globe.
It gives you a quick and easy way to share experiences and get advice from people within the community.
They also give you access to a community of over 50 active investors as well as numerous events and formal mentorship opportunities.
Like Meetup, Eventbrite doesn’t just cater to entrepreneurs. However, it’s become one of the best ways to find startup events and networking opportunities in your local area.
Do you have a brilliant idea that you want to bring to life?
From the product and business reasoning to streamlining your MVP to the most important features, our team of product experts and ex-startup founders can help you bring your vision to life.
Bizfluence is much like LinkedIn, with an emphasis on positive user interactions and minimal censorship.
The platform is great to meet entrepreneurs and, much like LinkedIn, can also be used to find and join communities relevant to you.
Opportunity helps you connect with a network of over 5M entrepreneurs and startup professionals from around the world.
So whether you want to talk to developers, investors, fellow founders or more, it’s likely you’ll find who you’re looking for.
They use algorithms to scan your existing LinkedIn network to help match you with relevant people who can truly help your startup
Intch is a mobile app that helps you connect and grow your network as easily as possible.
One of the ways Intch differentiates itself is by asking you exactly what your goals are for using the app.
This allows them to then suggest only relevant introductions that will help you achieve your goals.
Insight & Advice Platforms
While a large part of entrepreneurship is about learning by doing, there are several online platforms that can share valuable insights and lessons from entrepreneurs and business leaders from around the world.
As Warren Buffet famously put it:
It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.
Here are the 10 platforms our entrepreneurial community use to gain new insights and keep up-to-date on the latest on everything startup.
Startups.com is an entrepreneurial platform with an extensive library of resources all written by successful entrepreneurs who have actually built a startup.
From playbooks and videos to expert advice and founder stories there is a lot to be learned on everything you need to know when building an early-stage startup.
Like the video playlist “Validate Your Idea” – a series devoted to identifying customers, determining whether what you’re building is actually what they need and how to prioritise your goals to maximise execution.
It’s completely free and a must-read for any entrepreneur.
2. A Smart Bear
A Smart Bear is an entrepreneurial blog founded by Jason Cohen, a serial entrepreneur, investor and CTO with over 25 years of experience in tech.
He posts valuable insights on every aspect of building a business but focuses on startups, marketing and (as he puts it) geekery.
He writes one to four articles per week (and has done for the last 15 years) and all of his insights are available for free – you can even sign up by email to get them into your inbox directly.
Forbes is one of the biggest online libraries filled with entrepreneurial insights from business leaders and startup founders.
They claim to publish, on average, over 5,000 articles per business day. This comes from staff writers as well as third-party authors who contribute their articles to the platform – once someone from the Forbes team has approved it, of course.
While Forbes is centred more around news rather than advice-driven content – there is a tonne of valuable insights across the platform. Ju
Inc. Magazine has been helping entrepreneurs build and grow their companies since 1979.
It’s extremely comprehensive and offers three articles a month for free. For $19.99 a year, you can remove this paywall. Which, in my opinion, is a small price for the amount of value on the platform.
5. Fast Company
Also published by Inc., Fast Company is a platform focused on small businesses. For this reason, it’s become a go-to for founders of startups and SMEs.
No list on entrepreneurial platforms is complete without mentioning Entrepreneur. Much like Forbes, it’s packed with easy-to-digest articles packed with insights from global founders and business leaders.
They also have a separate platform targeted at European entrepreneurs.
Much like Forbes, it’s free to read. However, you can opt for the premium version for $49 per year, which removes ads and also gives you a subscription to their official magazine.
For Entrepreneurs is a platform created by the 5-time serial entrepreneur turned VC, David Skok.
He shares his 40 years’ worth of experience building successful startups through a series of guides that focus on everything startup – although there is a particular focus on SaaS and recurring revenue startups.
One of the great things about this platform is that there is an order to the articles, intended to guide you through the startup journey step-by-step.
AllBusiness is the second entrepreneurial platform on the list that focuses on advice for small businesses.
With categories like “Getting Started”, “Sales & Marketing” and “Tech” you’ll quickly find the advice you need from their expert writers.
What’s more, it’s completely free.
Medium is one of the largest online platforms for content on any topic you can think of.
By searching for tags like “startup” and “entrepreneurship” you’ll quickly find an extensive library of tips relevant to your business.
While the majority of the platform is free, you can monetise your articles as a writer. Meaning that some publications sit behind a paywall. You can read three of these a month for free before needing a subscription – at $50 a year.
One thing that is worth mentioning is that anyone can publish on Medium for free. So although there are a lot of valuable articles on the platform, it can take some time to find them.
Much like Startups.com, Quicksprout offers an extensive library of resources that aim to guide you through your startup journey.
It has several categories to make it easy for you to navigate to what you want to read as quickly as possible.
Quicksprout is completely free and is written by experienced entrepreneurs and business managers.
Honourable Mention: The Altar Resource Library
If you’ve got this far, I can’t not mention our very own entrepreneurial platform for startup insights and advice, the Altar Resource Library.
It’s packed full of startup guides, advice on looking for development, expert interviews and our series of founder’s stories The Startup Journey Interviews.
All of our guides are written by successful startup founders who have been in the shoes of an early-stage entrepreneur – literally.
And all of the content is free.
Whether you’re looking to build your network, gain some insights from experienced entrepreneurs or simply stay up-to-date on what’s going on in the startup ecosystem, there’s a platform here that can help you.
I hope they help you better achieve your goals.
Good luck and thanks for reading.
Jamie is the Head of Content at Altar.io. With a background in Theatre and Marketing for the Arts, he’s now turned his attention to the Startup World, committing to creating valuable content for entrepreneurs with the help of industry leaders.