Coming up with a sound business idea is the easy part of starting your own business. Making it a success in the long run however is far more difficult. Finding some good tools to help with setting up your business and moving it forward are essential. Whether you’re a start-up, small business or even a freelancer, any budding entrepreneurs will know the hard work that goes into building a business in the early days especially. You are not always likely to have a huge budget or resources initially, so finding some tools and resources to get the most out of your day is key. Here at Transmit Startups we want to make your working life as easy as possible, so have chosen some of our favourites that will cost you little to nothing:
Team Collaboration - If you are working as part of a team, it is worth looking into a system that everyone can use, to keep all team members up to date with what is going on within the business. Tools such as Asana, Trello, MeisterTask and Evernote are all good platforms to assist with ease of working and planning.
Password Security - With SME’s being the target-group for cyber attacks since last year 2015, security for your company should be a primary concern. LastPass and Keeper are a couple of applications that can be used to store and generate all of your passwords safely and easily across the business.
Web Content - It’s always a good idea to choose relevant themes that your readers will be interested to read and topical for the current market. Google Trends, Buzzsumo and Hubspot Blog Topic Generator are ideal tools to use to help feed your creative juices and provide help when you hit a writing block.
Access information - Using a cloud-based drive such as Google Drive will allow you to access all information within it remotely, share documents with other people and free space on your system.
Project time-keeping - Toggl is a great easy tool to use, it can be used via the desktop site or by a pop-up app which can be accessed quickly to keep track of all of your projects and how long you spend on each of them. Perfect if your company charges by the hour or day to make sure all members of the team are logging time spent on each project.
Store images & documents - Dropbox is probably the most well-known file-sharing resource which has a free basic option and trial and various price points depending on the amount of data you require.
Email tracking - It is often useful to know exactly who is opening your emails or even if they have been read at all. Sidekick is a downloadable tool that will send a quick notification upon every opening of one of your sent emails.
Video calling & instant messaging - Using Skype within your company has many benefits, cost being one of them. Cheaper day to day calls help save your business money, but most importantly if you need to meet with clients around the country or world, using Skype video calling instead of the tremendous costs associated with travel, will help out the bottom line.
Domains - For an initial search of your preferred company name research through Lean Domain Search, and then go on to purchase your site name at GoDaddy.
Building Websites - Squarespace has a range of modern and beautiful website designs, Shopify if you are looking to build an ecommerce site, or WordPress for uniquely customisable templates.
Web Hosting - Bluehost is the preferred and recommended host for WordPress sites allowing for unlimited sites, email accounts and domains.
Online Security - As with the Password Security outlined above, it is so important for small businesses and start-ups taking the time to invest in antivirus and malware software and ensure it is available on all company devices. Kaspersky, Bitedefender and Panda are the top three resources recommended for small business use.
Analytics - It is useful to keep an eye on how well your website is performing so that you can learn from the results and act accordingly to change aspects that aren’t working or maximise on what is working for you. Google Analytics, Moz, Kissmetrics and Optimizely are all key tools to help you look behind the performance of your website and analyse its data.
Social media management systems - These are the platforms to use to keep track of the various social media channels you decide to use. There are a few options available and it is worth playing around and familiarising yourself with a few before committing to just one, to see which suits your needs best - Buffer and Hootsuite for multi channel posting, Facebook Business Manager, and Later (formerly Latergramme) for Instagram are some of our favourites.
Email marketing - Whether you are looking for a basic newsletter to send out to your growing client base, or would like to connect a newsletter to your e-commerce store, MailChimp is the perfect provider. There is a free basic option for small database send-outs and also the option of more advanced templates and customisation tools if you want to get involved in the design. Play around with different templates and test which have the higher opening and click-through rates.
Customer Survey - Once you have established a customer base, it is useful to gather some data on your customers and find out their thoughts on your business and how it can be improved. Survey Monkey will provide various easy-to-use templates and precise easy-to-read data once you receive completed surveys back from your customers.
Competition - Sometimes you might be looking to give your social followings a boost with the aid of some timely competitions. Woobox or Rafflecopter are both ideal platforms to host your competitions and provide easy analysis of the results. Have a play around with them both and see which you prefer.
Images - PicMonkey to edit and resize images, Pexels, Pixabay for non-licensed images. All of these sites are easy to navigate if art and design are not your forte.
HR / Legal / Accounting
Payroll - Free Agent is the ideal accounting tool for small businesses, helping you to generate invoices and pay staff salaries.
Funding - We’re not one to toot our own horn but we have to say that approaching us here at Transmit Startups will be a good choice to get your business off the ground, with help and support along the way.
HR - As a start-up you are unlikely to have access to a HR department, so instead access the online platform HR Dept for a range of free resources.
Expenses - As the name would suggest Expensify will help you keep track of all work expenditure whether that be by card, cash or cheque.
Contracts & legal documents - A wide selection of freely available contract templates and legal documents through Docracy.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the run through of our favourite start-up resources. Anymore that you would like to share? Leave us a comment below and join in the conversation!