With the technological innovations of today, getting the services you need as a small or startup business has never been more accessible. The trick is learning which tools are worth the investment early on. From phone services to accounting tools, some of the best resources are low cost and highly valuable.
Before you start looking at tools, give yourself a needs assessment. Start with your problem areas. Answer questions about what eats up most of your time each week, what you don’t like doing, or what you feel that you can’t do well. Tools that address those concerns may be well worth the investment. Here are some of our favorites and how they can help your business grow today:
- Dropbox – A tried and true classic, Dropbox will hold all your files and be universally accessible for your company members. You cannot collaborate on the same file at the same time, but the system offers easy synchronization and can be used on every operating system.
Lean Domain Search – If you’re having trouble coming up with an appropriate domain name, search this free generator to find domain names that haven’t been taken.
Square – Square allows you to turn your smartphone into a credit card processing machine. Make sales anywhere you are with the secure payment system that many businesses are already using. The application and swiping accessory are available for both iOS and Android, too.
Booth – Turn your smartphone into a business phone with calls that route to a different number but ring on your personal phone. Work from any phone and avoid giving out your personal number with this service which is also capable of routing calls to different departments.
Asana – This project management tool foregoes the need for email to assign and manage tasks during the day. If you manage freelance workers or individuals who work from home, this easy-to-use interface is perfect for getting information to the right people. Available for mobile and online use, use Asana for conversations with teammates, tasks, meetings, lists, and more.
Google Tools – There are many free tools that Google offers to help small businesses and startups get started in the world of online marketing. Even large corporations use Google Analytics and their tag management system, but Google also offers a host of other solutions for advertising and creating an online presence.
Kickstarter - Launch your product oriented business with crowdfunding from this site that has helped many entrepreneurs pay for materials and manufacturing.
99Designs – If you need a graphic designer to develop your logo, website art, or advertising material, start with a free design consultation on this network of freelancers. 99Designs offers a money back guarantee, so all you have to do is determine your price range and deliver design specifications so that designers can submit work for you to choose from.
Expensify – Use this service to keep track of your expenses on the go or wherever your employees are working. Expensify features include card management, auto-categorization, invoicing and more. HootSuite – This platform allows businesses to monitor social media activity, see what followers are saying online, protect your online reputation, and engage with all platforms from one centralized location.
Meetup – A key part of running a startup involves bringing your message to the community. Find where your target audience or a group of like-minded entrepreneurs will be meeting and head over there for networking and to learn a new skill.
GoDaddy – This widely used web host can help you deliver a seamless online presence to your audience around the clock. Register with this company if you plan to do a lot of marketing online. The platform is known for its stability, which is integral to reaching potential customers who are browsing online.
Optimizely – Need to test a campaign? This A/B style testing platform allows you to test your delivery and marketing campaigns across all devices so that you can choose the one with the most impressive impact and best user experience.
Every business has different requirements as a startup. Check out the providers on this list and see if any make sense as time-savers for your entrepreneurial venture. These are some of the most well-known tools on the web, but there are also dozens, if not hundreds, more coming out daily. If you have a particular need that you don’t see, try looking online for what other businesses are using today. From integrating platforms to developing seamless marketing campaigns, you’ll find a solution that saves you money and adds value to your company.