What’s up guys? There are literally thousands of websites and services out there that help entrepreneurs and small business owners to run their business, promote and market themselves, and control the chaos. However, deciding which ones to use is the problem. Here is a list of some of the best services out there that you need to be using or at least looking at for your small business.
Twitter allows you to update your followers with what is going on, what you are doing, and what you want to talk about. Limited to 140 characters, you have the opportunity to reach a wide audience with your messages. Following people and having followers is the key to success on Twitter -Ã‚Â you need to build your audience. The micro-blogging platform is free and super easy to use via the web or text messaging. Join, start following, advertise your business, services, or products and watch your business grow.
What – you’re not on Facebook? What the hell are you thinking? Start a profile for yourself, start a page for your business, and start adding your friends. Use Facebook as an avenue to connect with customers on a whole different level. You can also find your friends from college, high school, and former workplaces. Interact with your friends and start talking up your business. Refer people to your business’s Facebook page or group and get them to join it. As people start joining, others will see the notice on their feeds that their friends are joining your group – which may entice them to join themselves. This is a great way to grow your audience and potential customer base. The social aspects of Facebook are also great – upload and share pictures, links, stores, and more.
Looking for a good and easy way to invoice your clients, track your time, or track your expenses? Then check out FreshBooks! The free service will allow you to add a few clients and the paid version will allow for more, but basically you can send invoices to your clients through email and share documents with them as well. The service is great for someone like a web designer or developer that needs to share documents and information constantly with their clients.
Cost: Free or $14/month and up
Project management and collaboration can be a tricky thing when you are small and just starting out. When you are working with a lot of other people on a project, it is key to keep everyone on the same page. Basecamp from 37Signals will help you do that! Basecamp will allow you to customize your management area look and feel, share it with your customers or team members, and share all kinds of documents and information. Anything from 37Signals is a helpful tool for your business, so check out their other services as well.
Cost: 30 day free trial or $25/month and up
If you are looking to save up some of your businesses income and hold on to it for a big purchase of new equipment or other needs for your business, then you need to look in to SmartyPig. SmartyPig allows you to set up savings goals and have money deposited into a savings account direct from your bank account each month. I use them for mostly personal savings goals, but business savings goals are definitely a great idea. The people at SmartyPig are awesome and offer great support, so I strongly recommend them – the best part? It’s free!
If you don’t like Facebook because you feel there is too much info free for searching and not enough privacy, check out the more professional social network, LinkedIn. LinkedIn has been around for a good while, maybe even longer than Facebook? LinkedIn allows you to connect with collegaues, classmates, and other professionals in similar industries…or just random people like Facebook. However, LinkedIn is focused more on the professional side of social networking and growing your connections. You can have people endorse you to help you grow your presence and you don’t have to really worry about any crazy party pictures of you doing a keg stand showing up on your managers Facebook feed (wouldn’t that suck?).
I could not create a list of useful websites without having at least one Google product on it. Analytics is an awesome visitor tracking program that Google has developed. All you need to do is slap a few lines of code on your site and let it be. Analytics will automatically start tracking your sites visitors – telling you where they are coming from, how long they are staying, what pages they are visiting, and much much more. The best part? Like most things from Google, it is free! There is no reason that you should not be using the program to track your site traffic and evaluate what is working for you.
Social media is a huge part of the web 2.0 revolution and is attracting many more people and businesses to the internet. One way to take advantage of social media and viral marketing is through uploading videos that you create to free video sharing websites such as YouTube. YouTube allows you to upload any video you make (as long as it is under its file size requirements) and share it with your friends, embed it in your website, or post it on other websites such as Facebook. YouTube offers an amazing way to find new customers and visitors for your website. By displaying your website name, logo, or web address in your videos, you will see some traffic come from YouTube…as long as the video is good and people are watching it! If you’re looking to brand yourself and your business, start making some videos and posting them on YouTube!
Looking for a good free way to manage your finances and keep track of your spending? Then you should check out Mint. Mint allows you to link pretty much any bank account, credit card account, and online payment account (like PayPal) to your Mint account and see a summary of your spending and your total income/debt. You can then see trends as to what you are spending the most on and what you need to cut back on. Mint also provides you with different opportunities to save money by switching banks or credit card offers.
StartupNation is a community website for entrepreneurs featuring step-by-step advice, videos, podcasts, and many resources. The website also features a pretty active forum. StartupNation is definitely a site to keep an eye on as you work on developing your business and have questions you want to try to get answered.
Young Go Getter
Young Go Getter is an active forum of free blogs for entrepreneurs. You can definitely get the help you need from this group of dedicated people with their knowledge spanning a wide array of industries and technologies. If you have questions about an industry, looking for some help, or just want a place to hang out, then check out YGG.
A community of entrepreneurs and want to be entrepreneurs exceeding more than 5000 members strong, YE is a site to visit and visit often. Although some of the content may not always be the most relevant or it may be ‘spam’ posts, if you have the time to sort through and find the good stuff, then it is worth it. I talked with the creator a couple weeks back and he says things are in the works to make YE much better in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out! This group of helpful people can definitely be a benefit to you and will help you in any way they can!
And finally, of course, Dorm Room Biz is always one of the best places to get help as a student entrepreneur!
What are your favorite websites to check and resources to refer to when you need some help?