My reviews are independent and unaffiliated. I make no money off these links. In most cases, I have used the services of the companies reviewed, or I have first-hand reports from people I trust. When you click on each link, a new window will open. You can close the new window to get back here.
Business cards, stationery, and imprinted items
VistaPrint: I used to recommend this resource, but their quality has turned erratic and their customer service, which used to be outstanding, has turned extremely bad. If you want to use them for their free business cards, make sure you opt for the blank reverse side, otherwise there will be an ad for VistaPrint there. If you forget, or if you don't want to pay for a blank back, don't worry - just use a sticker to cover it up! Use the sticker to list things like service lines, product range, or for a repeat customer program. That way, the back of your business card is marketing your business.
iPrint.com: This company offers business cards, rubber stamps, labels, signs, banners, and imprinted promotional items such as pens and Post-It note pads, and more. Its products are good, and shipping is quick. Watch the ever-changing weekly specials to get the item you want when its on sale.
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Business machines and merchandise
Your credit card company: All major credit card companies offer deals from various merchants, ranging from free shipping to dollars- or percent-off, contingent on your using a particular card to pay for your purchase. These deals often appear on the back pages of your statement or on the companys website. Its always worth a look.
CouponMountain: This website has large, categorized listings of promotional offer and discount coupon codes from various online merchants. When you click use a coupon, the online merchant website is launched in a new window, with the coupon in a separate little window as a reminder to use it when you check out.
CurrentCodes.com: This is a very large listing of promotional offer and discount coupon codes from various online merchants. Deals include special value merchandise, dollars-off, percent-off, and free shipping. This link takes you directly to the Business/Office category, but there are other merchants in categories from clothing and housewares to travel and entertainment. I have found that this site often has discount codes other websites lack. Click on a deal, and youre launched to the merchant website, with a frame showing the relevant codes in a pull-down menu box. Quite often, retail store locations will match online deals, so its worth checking out even if youre going to buy from a store.
DealCatcher.com: Another huge listing of deals from various online merchants. This link takes you directly to the Computers & Office page, but there are other categories. The selection of online stores is similar to CurrentCodes and Coupon Mountain, but DealCatcher picks up a few more sales and special value merchandise than the others. You can launch directly to the merchant website with the coupon code visible in a separate window, or you can have the coupon emailed to you. In many cases, the merchant website is launched with the savings already in place. DealCatcher is unique for its RebateCatcher.com partner site, which compiles rebates and downloadable rebate forms from manufacturers and retailers of computers, software, and electronics.
DealNews.com: This website lists lots of online and in-store bargains, organized and searchable by category, store name, and "hotness." If you're looking for a particular product or item, you can set up a free email alert that notifies you when it goes on sale.
KeepCash.com: This website offers a giant list of web coupons from a large list of online retailers, searchable and categorized. What's cool: a look at the coupons for one retailer brings up a bottom list of coupons from similar retailers. What's not cool: you have to click on each deal to get the coupon code, and some listed retailers come up empty. Still, this site often has coupons that are not in the other sites, particularly the online versions of brick-and-mortar stores. And, it has a section dedicated to online deals. It also offers a forum, but it's sparsely populated.
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Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Business Plan Index: This terrific resource lists hundreds of sample business plans, most of which are available only in print, at the library in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Still, there are by actual count well over 100 sample business plans available online. Some of the links are dead, but most work.
Ersys: Demographic data, as well as maps, local links, and other information, for 2,600 major U.S, cities. Ersys is a project of Synergos Technologies, Inc., based in Austin, Texas.
Melissa Data: A gold mine of useful demographic data, broken out by ZIP code, telephone number, SIC code, you name it. And all free. Melissa Data is a contact data company based in Rancho Santa Margarita, California.
U.S. Small Business Administrations Small Business Start-Up Kit: This is the definitive online resource for starting a small business from the SBA, an impartial, non-profit, government agency. It covers such topics as business plans, funding, regulations, and government and local assistance. Also on the SBA website is the SBA Business Plan Tutorial, an online, self-paced guide to creating a professional business plan for your small business. It includes some marketing tips, but the instructions on monthly cash flow projections, income projections, and balance sheets are essential.
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