As a small business owner, you are required to wear many hats—you are ultimately your company’s head marketer, accountant, financier, human resource manager… you name it. Succeeding as an entrepreneur is difficult namely because there are so many different roles that a small business owner must fulfill. But finding the time to stay up to date on all of the latest marketing trends, keeping up with the stock market and learning the newest methods in the fields of accountancy, finance and HR is impossible when you have a business to attend to. Sure, you may be able to carve out the time to read the Wall Street Journal every once and a while, but let’s be honest—those instances of freedom are few and far between. So—how can you stay up to date in business news and trends while simultaneously building your small business?
Podcasts have got you covered.
What Are Podcasts?
Podcasts are digital audio/video files covering a wide array of subjects and formats that are available to download free of charge. Podcasts are, little by little, becoming a preeminent form of media in mainstream society. There are podcasts about everything—world news, stand-up comedy, radio drama and murder mysteries, philosophical discussions, political debates… whatever topic you can imagine, surely enough, somebody has podcasted it. Accordingly, podcasts are a great reference for small business owners. Check out this list of the best podcasts for small business owners.
The Top Podcasts to Help Start and Grow Your Business
Best Economic Podcasts
If you like to keep up to date with the world’s markets and macroeconomics, there are a litany of quality organizations that produce good podcasts to listen to. Here are some of the best—
- WSJ What’s News—every day, the Wall Street Journal produces a news podcast that keeps you informed on what’s happening in politics and economics. While every major news corporation has a fleet of daily podcasts, the Wall Street Journal What’s News podcast is best for small business—it brings you summaries of planet Earth’s daily dramas from an economist’s point of view.
- WSJ Your Money Matters—another daily emission from the Wall Street Journal, the Your Money Matters podcast is far more economy-focused than its sister program. It delves into a broad range of economic and financial news topics, from personal finance to the international currency exchange. This is a good podcast for small business owners that want to hear news about strictly the economic developments worldwide, without all of the other political drama.
- WSJ Moneybeat— want to keep up with Wall Street, specifically? Add WSJ’s Moneybeat to your list of subscriptions. With real-deal Wall Street financiers as hosts, this biweekly podcast will ensure that you are up to date on how the stock market is doing.
- Economist Radio— if you want some of the best insight on the global market, The Economist podcast will not let you down—in fact, polls suggest that The Economist is, statistically, the most trusted news outlet in the United States.
- BBC Business Daily—the BBC Business Daily podcast gives you the latest analysis in the global economy. Produced every day, this is a great business podcast for those that want an unbiased, truly global look at money and economics.
- Planet Money— produced by NPR, the Planet Money podcast sells itself on being the internet’s “most fun” economic show. Whether it is or it isn’t is up to you to decide, but one thing is clear—the people at NPR do a great job at breaking down complex economic issues.
Best Marketing Podcasts
Coming up with a fresh, effective marketing scheme is a full time job. Nonetheless, as a startup or a small business, you are still a ways off from being able to hire your own marketing manager. That job, like all of the others, falls on you. Here are a couple of good marketing podcasts that can help you come up with a great marketing plan for your small business.
- Marketing over Coffee—published once per week, the Marketing over Coffee podcast is a unique news-focused marketing podcast that generally last less than half an hour. John Wall and Christopher Penn, the hosts of the program, started the show a couple of years ago, and they already have over 100 episodes that you can catch up on.
- Louder than Words—learn how to be creative by listening to John Bonini interview folks who have mastered the art of creativity and innovation. The Louder than Words podcast will certainly get you thinking about out-of-the-box ways to market your small business.
- HBR IdeaCast— with over 560 episodes in their archives (and a new one every week), the brilliant minds from the Harvard Business Review bring you a podcast that is dedicated to new ideas in the world of business, marketing and finance. Many of these episodes are dedicated solely to marketing strategies, so browse through their archives. The HBR IdeaCast is absolutely worth listening to.
Best Podcasts for Entrepreneurs and Startups
As a small business owner, you naturally have an entrepreneurial bug, and can benefit from hearing the testimonials and advice of other former startup CEO’s. Check out the three strongest startup podcasts.
- Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders— brought to you by Stanford University, the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders podcast is a weekly seminar on all things entrepreneur. There are over 272 free episodes available on iTunes and other podcasting websites. 272 free lectures from Stanford University—don’t let that resource pass you by!
- How to Start a Startup—cosponsored by Stanford University and Y Combinator, this is a lecture series that features successful startup owners guiding helpful discussions and proffering insight for prospective entrepreneurs. Again, this is another Stanford class that is offered for free via podcast.
- Startup Podcast— by Gimlet Media, podcast extraordinaire, this is a podcast dedicated to the stories of successful startups. This podcast for startups is less of a lecture series or a class and more of an interview/narrative.
- How I Built This— hosted by Guy Raz, this NPR podcast focuses on movement starters, from idealists social figures to small business owners and entrepreneurs.
A great entrepreneur has to have great leadership skills. This means that every small business owner ought to be savvy with their social skills, be charismatic, team-oriented and cool under pressure—sound like you? If your leadership development needs to be brushed up, refer to these podcasts.
- What Great Bosses Know— hosted by author and professor of communications at Loyola University Chicago, Jill Geisler, the What Great Bosses Know podcast is made to help small business owners become better bosses. Millions of people have downloaded her over 145 podcasts that dissect the elements of a great leader—you should, too.
- A Dose of Leadership—learn how to lead by proven leaders. The A Dose of Leadership podcast features Richard Rierson’s interviews with some of the business world’s most prolific and noteworthy CEOs on the topic of leadership and successful management.
- Out of the Mud— another podcast by Richard Rierson, this show focuses on quintessential comeback stories in the business world. If you have gone through a rough patch in life or in your career, listening to the Out of the Mud podcast will help you gain some perspective on how best to persevere and overcome.
- The Engaging Leader— Jesse Lahey’s podcast emphasizes the role of communication and engagement in effective leadership. He has recorded 150 episodes thus far and has earned himself a reputation for having one of the best leadership podcasts out there.
Accounting and Finance Podcasts
This is oftentimes the least fun part of being a small business owner, but it is the most crucial to your enterprise’s survival. Your business cannot afford (quite literally) not to be up to date on all of the latest accounting and financial practices. Let these accounting and finance podcasts make sure that your business is up to speed.
- Accounting Best Practices with Steve Bragg— it is pretty counterintuitive, to associate accountancy with podcasting—podcasts are, after all, first and foremost a mode of entertainment, and accounting isn’t typically all that entertaining. However, this accounting podcast is remarkably well made and comprehensive, taking small business owners through the best practices and financial management strategies.
- So Money— take the advice of Farnoosh Torabi and her So Money podcast. The entire show is dedicated to smart money practices of individuals and small business owners, alike. It is also rather entertaining, too.
- Xero Gravity— produced by Xero, an accounting software company, their Xero Gravity podcast is dedicated to helping small businesses reach accounting success.
If you take a liking to podcasts and want to find some that are exclusively for entertainment and leisure, here are four suggestions—the first is a political debate program, the second is dedicated to trivia fiends and the final two are dramas.
- U.S. Intelligence2 Debates— trying to work through some of the greatest, most contentious problems in our society? So are the people behind the U.S. Intelligence2 podcast. Moderated by John Donvan, the show pits experts in academia, government and business against one another in an Oxford-style debate competition to try and persuade you to adopt a particular opinion regarding a social problem. What is your stance on immigration? Health care reform? President Trump’s emerging foreign policy? Listen to the experts and decide for yourself.
- No Such Thing as a Fish— if fun facts are your thing, this podcast is for you. The research team behind the television show QI have over 140 episodes that deliver the audience some fun—and peculiar—pieces of little-known information.
- Serial— this is the podcast that made podcasts popular. This radio drama podcast follows true stories that always end in thrilling, unexpected ways. The Serial podcast has won several high-profile awards and has amassed an impressive fan base.
- Lore— love horror stories? If so, the Lore podcast is for you. Forget fiction— this show tells real-life horror stories that are certain to keep you up at night.
It is impossible to carve out enough time to effectively manage every aspect of your small business. Simple administration takes up the lion’s share of a small business owner’s time, and too often, marketing, effective accountancy and a heightened economic awareness goes by the wayside—but luckily, these podcasts can help spark some ideas to make sure your business is run as well as possible.
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