Running a successful startup is not easy especially if you do not have the right skills. The first stages of developing a business are easier as well as affordable than most entrepreneurs think. With the many tools available online, running a startup should not be a daunting task. Here are some of the tools you need to begin and run a successful startup.
1. Legal Tools-Incfile & Legalzoom
With varying business structures and licensing requirements in different states, coming up with the legal structure of your startup can be very tricky. It is important to consider the idea of hiring professional and experienced members of staff to provide you with legal advice. This will help avoid many legal issues that are likely to arise along the way.
Use a service like Incfile.com to get your business up and running quickly instead of using a lawyer. Filing the necessary legal paperwork is about $49. After your business is up, you may want to use Legalzoom for contracts and other documents. Keep in mind that as you grow, you will need professional advice and guidance.
2. Dynamic Website-Weebly and Others
Websites play a very important role when it comes to operating a startup. A good website should have a great landing page where your potential customers can find out more about your products and services easily. Ensure that the site is easy to navigate and offers great mobile as well as web interfaces.
Weebly is probably the easiest option for a quick website set up. The have a free option which is ok but if you are running a business, you are better off paying the $12 for a more professional site and your own domain name. You can also host using WordPress which have many themes but for some of the customization, you may need the help of a developer.
Other options include:
Wix-Good option but stay away from free version if you want to look professional.
Bluehost-Great option, but usually better for blogging.
Hostgator-Another good option similar to Bluehost.
3. Management Software-Quickbooks
Managing the operations of your business is no longer something that should make you have sleepless nights. Once you begin looking like some of the leading companies within the country, you need to behave like they do. Management software such as QuickBooks online makes financial management easy and cheap.
You only need a computer or laptop and internet connection to get started. With time, you can upgrade to better platforms that will make securing data easy.
4. Storage of Digital Documents-Google Drive
Gone are the days you had to worry about losing your documents, thanks to digital storage. You can use the cloud to store your important files safely. Storing documents in the cloud makes it easy to collaborate as well as share them. Google Drive allows you to store up to 15 GB of data without paying a single dollar. Unless you want to produce or store many files, Google Drive has adequate space. This will go a long to help save more space within your office.
5. Client Email Marketing-Aweber or Mailchimp
The use of auto responders and list builders has increased tremendously in the recent past. The leading ones are Aweber and Mailchimp. These tools are great for keeping up with your customers and creating campaigns to market to them.
The interface offered by Mailchimp is quite flexible and user friendly. However, this user interface makes Mailchimp slower than Aweber. One of the key benefits of Aweber over Mailchimp is that is offers excellent tracking. You can see detailed report including the exit links clicked by the users in case ofAweber.
On the other hand, Mailchimp has no such option and it simply highlights the users who clicked your link with a star. However, Mailchimp offers a free version which can be used for an email campaign to be used for up to 500 subscribers. It does the job but not as dynamic as the Aweber base version.
6. Social Media-As Many As Possible
The best way to promote your start is securing a name and profile on different social media platforms. The high number of people using social media platforms such as facebook, instagram and twitter are some of the potential customers.
Start with Twitter and Facebook for all businesses. If you are in a creative business, you should also sign up for Pinterest but if you’re not, leave it alone for now and focus on building your community on Facebook and/or Twitter only. Here is a short guide to social media based on your business.
Tech business: All but focus on Twitter and Linkedin for making connections.
Fashion or Style: Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat, Facebook, and Twitter
Real Estate: Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Linkedin, SnapChat
Service business: Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook
Restaurant or Food Service: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram
7. Phone Communication-Grasshopper
For a new startup of if you are a solopreneur, it is important to keep business and personal separate when it comes to communication. You also want to present a professional image to your customers, clients, and vendors. We recommend Grasshopper for that.
Grasshopper allows you to keep your number but also get a 1-800# or a local number for your business. You also set up customized extensions, make calls showing your grasshopper number, read voicemail, and forward calls so that you do not have to be in the office all the time.
I personally like Grasshopper because it makes me even more mobile. It’s really cool to have and you can try it out for free. Paid plans are still reasonably priced starting at $12 a month.
In conclusion, before you put your startup idea into action, it is good to equip yourself with the relevant tools. Some of the tools that will make it easy to run your business include social media, phone, computer and branding among others.