Ever played tennis without a proper racquet?
Tried photography with one of those disposable cameras from the corner store?
Sure, you can get there. But if you're looking to make the transition to being your own boss as smooth as possible you'll want the right startup resources, tools and apps. We've rounded up some of the best online tools to help you streamline the process and get the results you want!
But...My Business Isn’t Online!
OK. Before we get started, let’s deal with the elephant in the room: I own a brick-and-mortar store, and we don’t operate online so this article won’t help me, right? Wrong. Whether or not you actually will be working in the online space, there are a host of great online tools for startups out there. Don’t discount the online space as a tool to help you grow, even if you aren’t actually selling through it. Anything you can do to make your life a little easier will benefit you and your new startup. Need some help deciding what your business/domain name will be? Want to design some killer flyers? Need some content ideas? Then, this is the article for you!
Knowing how to start or where to turn to for help can feel impossible. Before we even look at the gritty details, here’s some great startup orientated online resources to help you find the knowledge you need, guide you through the processes, provide community and help you increase your knowledge and confidence.
Now, onto the specifics:
Getting Your Website Running
We don’t particularly recommend attempting to design your own website unless you are particularly confident in this arena, free hosts and design sites have been the first home of many an established business. WordPress remains one of the stablest and easiest to integrate free platforms out there. If you do opt to go this route with your start-up, stick with established sites that display well on a variety of viewers. Or look for a freelance designer to help you custom create a page on sites like Freelancer.com. You can get low cost hosting for small businesses in almost any country in the world, and a small amount of web research will help you find the right host for you to get on your feet.
From a name you just can’t come up with, right through to that critical first blog post, it can be difficult to generate the ideas you need. Fortunately sites like:
And more are out there to help you with ideas for names, blog post content and anything revolving around words. Don’t get caught on that product line name and let that eat your critical design time! You have better things to be doing.
Help, My Business Needs To Look The Best!
There’s a host of small design tasks that go with any start-up. Everything from logos to the right images for posts. Again, you can opt for the services of a freelancer, or you can look to some of the great sites out there.
Pablo by Buffer [images for blogs posts]
Square Space Logo [Design simple logos fast]
Stocksnap.io [stock photos free to use]
FreePik [great for graphic designers
What Tools Can I Use To Draft Legal Documents?
The internet has opened up a host of great resources to help you create the documents you need. Whether it’s simple customising things like your invoice forms, or whether you actually need templates for legal documents, the net can help. Of course, if you’re entering a legal agreement we strongly suggest you get some advice, but boilerplate contracts and other legal documents can be found on several reliable online sources to help make the process slightly less arduous. Try:
Again, make sure you get the correct legal advice and don’t simply use internet sources. There’s nothing that’s going to kill a start-up quicker than making a legal misstep. If you need to get your stationery and forms sorted out, however, these resources will help you get just what you need. Remember that some financial platforms like Paypal also offer you the option to create integrated invoicing to help you keep track of what you’re doing.
How Do I Keep Track Of My Marketing Efforts?
Marketing is the literal lifeblood of a new business, and anything that helps you drive traffic through the doors is helpful. Here’s a few great online tools for startups to investigate. Remember that the core of good marketing still comes down to generating engaging content that drives people through to you, so be sure to spend some time getting a good copywriter on your team.
Marketing Stack [curated list of marketing resources. Also check out Content Marketing Stack]
MailChimp [Email marketing made easy]
Active Campaign [Email marketing]
- Campaign Monitor
How Do I Manage All Of Our Social Media Pages?
Getting an established social media presence is also critical to the growth of a new business. There are a few tools out there that will help you manage your Customer Marketing Relationship [CRM] as well as your social media needs. Here’s some of the best.
Learning to market correctly on social media is the topic for an article itself, so we won’t go into depth here, but there’s fortunately a ton of easy and simple programs to help you out and keep those vital customer stats close at hand so you know what’s working for you.
How Do I Keep Accounting Information?
Keeping your books regular and all of your tax deductions in hand is critical to prevent your business losing money it can’t afford. Wave is a popular accounting package for start-ups, although the industry standards are all paid packages. You might also enquire with your bank account holder, as many banks offer their own free financial management resources that you can take advantages.
Now is also the time to pull up the iStore or Play store. There’s a host of useful apps for startups to manage the often confusing amount of receipts and records they need to keep. There’s receipt scanners which will directly allow you to transform that paperwork to a digital space. While, depending on your local tax regulations, you may still need to hold onto the paper copy, these make it so much easier to manage and capture expenses.
There’s also a host of great budgeting tools for both platforms out there. Experiment with a few to see which are going to work best for you, but you’re very likely to find one. My Budget Book is a particularly useful, fully customisable Android app.
What About Project Management?
Keeping you and your team working, and your tasks all clearly in order, is another critical component of keeping the lifeblood of your start-up running. Asana is a widely well thought of, simple to use online platform that will allow you to organise your tasks even if some of your team aren’t in the same continent as you. Trello is also an effectively used tool for project management. Of course, Google Drive also offers a host of planning tools you can use to keep your team in sink. Likewise, a good calendar like Google Calendar is very likely necessary to help you. Whatever you opt for, make sure that you have the capability to simply and easily see exactly what tasks need to be done and when your deadlines are due.
There’s nothing simple about a new start-up, but fortunately there are some good tools out there, free or low cost, to help you make the most of the start-up experience, drive customers to you, create your brand identity, and help you keep track of your work and finances.
Choose The Fastest Way To Get Your Business Moving.
Starting a business from scratch is as much about finding and using the best resources, as it is choosing which resources to invest in. After all, you have to spend a little money, to make money.
The harsh reality is, some things you just can’t do by yourself. But, that’s okay! Freelancer.com makes hiring the best talent easy as 1-2-3! Whether it’s graphic design, copywriting, website development or data entry you’ll find the perfect match so you can launch your startup hassle-free! Post a project today, and you’ll start to receive bids within seconds.