If you're keen on the Internet and want to get up-to-speed on what tools and sites are worthwhile for small business people, be sure to check out the March issue of PROFIT Magazine. In a 13 page section titled The Fabulous NEW Internet [Web 2.0], Editor Ian Portsmouth rallies his tech writers to handpick . The majority of the tools and sites they recommend are on our radar as well, so we'll be profiling them in more detail in the coming months. Here are a couple of my favorites snippets:
Supercharge your Rolodex - LinkedIn.com
Before Web-based business networking, there was no timely and simple way to discover who is in your extended network—that is, the friends of your friends—and how they might help you. Now there is. Luckily, LinkedIn is easier to use than to explain how it works. Sign up for free, create a personal profile, use the search engine to find your existing contacts who are also members and ask them to link to you. If they accept, you'll see who they know and, in turn, who those people know—growing your extended network exponentially with each person you add to your immediate circle. And you can scan every profile in your extended network to find, say, finance experts, then ask your immediate contacts to introduce you to those experts, who can even be asked to introduce you to their contacts. Got it? If not, you can become a paid member starting at US$20 a month and contact any of LinkedIn's nine million members directly.
Find all the news that's fit for your inbox - Google Alerts
Competitive intelligence has never been easier to gather, thanks to Google Alerts. The free service harnesses Google's search engine to find new Web content matching the keywords you provide. It then sends the related links and a short snippet for each item to your inbox weekly, daily or continuously—you decide. Creating and editing your alerts is simple, and you can create as many as you want. Which brings us to the only potential downside: creating so many alerts using broad search terms (e.g., "Paris and Britney") that you're bombarded with hundreds of matches a day. PROFIT's recommendation: program "news" and "blog" alerts for your company name, the names of your closest competitors and your specific line of business.