When you’re the owner of a brand new business, let’s be honest – you need all of the help you can get. Unfortunately, most startup owners do not have the capital required to hire a host of full-time staff to help them with every issue they come up against so that they can compete with big businesses who do have the manpower. The good news is, you do not need it because we live in a time where technology can take care of many needs, and other businesses and freelance professionals can take care of the rest.
With that in mind, here are some of the tools that every startup should utilize if they want to compete with the big boys and girls…
When it comes to the people who will be most valuable to you as you embark upon your startup journey, it’s fair to say that a decent mentor would be top of the list.
A mentor is someone who has already been through the process of setting up a business and successfully growing it, who is willing to give you their time and the benefit of their experience to help you do the same. Find one and you will have a leg up on the competition.
A Good Web Designer
A good web designer is arguably the most valuable tool at your disposal. Today, having a functional website is the most basic requirement of any business and a good web designer can help you to achieve that by designing a site that is user-friendly, mobile optimized and easy on the eye.
If you can’t afford a web designer, then a tool like Wix, which enables you to be your own web designer by using a no-coding-required software to create your own online store or services pages for a small monthly fee.
Once you have your website up and running, you will need to start creating content that helps it to rank highly in web searches, so that people can actually find you. If you don’t have the time to do this yourself, because your busy building business connections and seeing clients, perhaps, then hiring freelance writers on short-term contracts, or even paying them per piece of content they produce, is an invaluable way of getting the content you need without spending vast sums of money.
The Moz Open Site Explorer
Of course, it’s not enough to just produce content for your business – if you’re serious about your success, you need to track how well your content is doing and where your traffic is coming from. The Moz Open Site Explorer is an excellent free tool that can help you with this. It allows you to do everything from seeing your page authority and domain rankings to enabling you to see where any inbound links originate from. It will help you to get to grips with online marketing so that you can truly master it.
An Answering Service
There are lots of companies who can provide an answering service for your startup. If you can’t afford to pay a full-time receptionist to answer your phones for you, such a service could be really valuable to you because it will give callers a good impression of your startup and help to take the pressure off you as you start to build your company.
Building a large mail list is something that most online entrepreneurs will tell you to, quite simply because the more people whose details you have, the more people you can market to and the more sales you will get. With that in mind, it’s hard to argue that a tool like MailChimp is not supremely important.
MailChimp, which is a popular email marketing service, will provide your business with subscriber forms, email templates, newsletter formats and automated messages. It will allow you to create campaigns that are targetted at specific people and ensure that you always know where your marketing campaigns are going. Once you’ve grown a bit, you may need custom solutions to handle your mailing list, but until then, this is a really useful tool that you should seek to utilize.
Social Media Accounts
It should go without saying that you need to be on social media if you want to build a successful startup in this day and age. Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are vital tools for creating brand awareness, promoting goods and serviced and building an interesting and engaged customer base.
As well as setting up social media accounts on multiple platforms, you may also want to utilize social media management tools like Agorapulse which will allow you to plan your social media posts in advance to save time. If you can afford a freelance social media manager, then having one of those take care of that side of the business could be extremely useful too.
Social Media Influencers
As a startup, one of the biggest challenges you will face is the challenge of getting your brand’s name out there. A good way of doing this is by engaging social media influencers. If you can convince them, or pay them, to promote your stuff to their followers, you could see a huge uptake in interest even in the early days.
It’s a sad fact of business that every penny needs to be accounted for and accounted for accurately. Most entrepreneurs are passionate about their products and services, not their books and that can make accounting a challenge. Luckily, if you can’t afford to farm that out to a professional, there are tools like QuickBooks, which make taking care of your company’s finances as simple as it can possibly be. Use it.
As the founder of your startup, you are the most important person to your business. Your decisions, enthusiasm and drive will determine whether your company sinks or swims. That’s why you need to step up, work tirelessly and remain engaged. If you can do that, there is every chance that you will see the success you are looking for.