Being an entrepreneur or business owner can be a very difficult job, especially if you are launching a new business. But one of the benefits that the internet has brought us is that there are a huge amount of tools and resources that you can use to help you out. Here’s a list of many of the best ones.
- 1 Preparation
- 2 Setting Up
- 3 Website
- 4 Marketing
- 5 Social Media
- 6 Analysing performance
- 7 Productivity
Before deciding to start a new venture it’s vital to learn as much as you can about running a business, here’s some great resources for doing that.
Here are some of the best general business websites which publish frequent articles and information to help businesses grow.
AllBusiness.com – many resources that will be useful for small businesses in particular
ForEntrepreneurs.com – some excellent advice for business owners
EpicLaunch.com – lots of great tips for entrepreneurs
Smallbusiness.co.uk – guides and advice aimed at small businesses and start ups in the UK
Start Up Donut – Lots of useful information on all areas of concern for small businesses.
Smallbiztrends – Advice for small businesses and news
SMARTA – a website that acts as support and a source of advice for business owners.
The Self-employed – website offering advice in all areas of interest for self-employed workers
Businesszone – A wide range of articles useful for businesses. You have to sign up to read it but it’s free.
Start up Professionals – Advice for businesses from Martin Zwilling who is a startup mentor, blogger and author
Moz – Moz are experts in SEO and their blog is a great source of information for people wanting to learn about how to make their site more visible online
Business is Great – Business advice from the UK government for both small and large businesses
BusinessMatters – A business magazine, which presently has 50,000 subscribers.
SMEInsider – A business site that is primarily geared towards UK businesses
Small Business Administration – a great site for small business owners
No Passive Income – Informational blog for small businesses and for people looking to earn a passive income
Federation of Small Businesses – This UK organisation has been going for over 40 years now and provides a wide variety of information and services for its members
Quora – ask any questions about your industry.
StackExchange – answers to any questions you might have
Kaufman Founders School – an online resource for business people
Startup Stash – an excellent curated list for all your startup needs
SCORE – business advice from both retired and working business people
7 Habits of Highly Successful People – Stephen Covey. A well-known and still useful book
The Networking Survival Guide by Diane Darling. The art of networking, one of the most vital sides of business.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield – Recommended
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg – The COO of Facebookm Sheryl Sandberg, talks about the particular problems faced by women in business and how to get over them.
The E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber – How to avoid failing in business.
Learning via the printed word or online is great but so is getting out there and meeting business people and seeing what they are doing
Meetup.com – there are many business-related meet up groups all over the world, just join up and turn up to one of the events
Entrepreneurs’ Organization – a very influential business community
Young Entrepreneur Council – Another very important community
Startup Grind – These events are focused on startups and take place in larger cities all over the world.
Young Presidents’ Organization – a networking group of young business leaders.
Charlie – find out all about the person you’ll be meeting at your next meeting
You’ll often find that you have to write a business plan, especially if you’d like to borrow money for your business. Here are some useful resources to help with this.
Small Business Administration – Shows how to do a business plan
Bplans – examples of business plans
Palo Alto Software – DIY business plans for beginners
Launchpad – more wide ranging information about launching a business
Business Model Generation – create your business model
You’ll want to find a great name for your business, here’s some places that can help.
Impossibility – generates names for your business and also checks if that domain name is free
Naminum – Another business name generator
Wordoid – suggests good names for your business
Domainr – checks if the domain for your name is free
Knowem – checks if domain names and trademarks are free
You’ll often need cash for your startup, here are some of the best resources for finding this.
Kickstarter – particularly good for creative projects
Indiegogo – a very popular site internationally
DreamFunded – funding via crowdsourcing
GoFundMe – good links with social media on this site
RocketHub – Another good crowd funding site
Angellist – a hub to connect and raise funds
The Funded – a site where you can discuss fundraising and discuss investors
f6s – contains a social network for start ups and angel investors
You’ll want a nice logo and branding for your business and good looking materials and website. Ourselves are obviously the best choice for you but here are other options if you must look elsewhere!
Withoomph – logo design
Canva – do your own design
99 Designs – more logo designs, you will get something cheap but not necessarily of high quality.
Capturing email addresses is a vital way to get more business. You can send out offers and news to everyone on your mailing list.
MailChimp – collects email details via a sign-up box and sends out automated emails
Aweber – email collection and automated emailing
YesWare – check how many people have opened your email.
Hello Bar – collect email addresses with this free tool
Intercom – offers a way to chat to customers but also collect their email address.
Boomerang – Useful tool for scheduling emails and reminders, can be added to gmail
Obviously making online sales is vital for any business these days, here are some of the top sites to help you with this.
WooCommerce – this is a plugin that can be added to WordPress best for smaller websites
Shopify – an online store where you can sell your product
Magento – commerce software, best for larger businesses
Prestashop – free software to set up shop
Symphony Commerce – advanced commerce solutions
Locate a co-founder
There are definite advantages in having a co-founder, including bringing in skills you might not have, but finding one can be difficult. Here are some places to try looking.
CoFoundersLab – find a co-founder in your industry or city
Founder2be – find a co-founder
YouNoodle – uses competitions to find a co-founder
FounderDating – brings the dating concept to finding a founder
You’ll unfortunately have various legalities to go through for your business, here’s some resources that can help you with this
Startup Documents – allows you to create and store legal documents to start your business
Orick’s Legal Documents for Startups – find contracts and other legal documents
Legal Zoom – legal documents and solutions
Nolo – find legal forms and lawyers
PandaDoc – find out how you can eSign any important documents.
Loyalty programs are not just for big business, all businesses can benefit from them. Here are some companies who can help you to do this
Technology Advice – find the best loyalty programs in your area
RewardStream – loyalty program
BigDoor – give rewards even if purchases not made
It’s vital to know your industry and the latest in what is going on in it. Here are some tools for helping you get the latest information.
Business Data and Statistics – US government stats
The U.S. Census Bureau – US demographic data.
BizStats – get free stats
SizeUp – compare yourself against your competition.
Conducting Market Research – find out how to carry out market research
Wireframing and mockups
Before you or your designer create your website it’s a good idea to do some mock-ups to show how it could look, these sites will help with this.
Gliffy – create wireframes and technical drawings and charts
Wirefy – making wireframes for sites
Frame Box – create frames and share them
Pencil Project – an open-source prototyping tool – free
MockFlow – create wireframes and collaborate with others on it.
If you’d like to have a go at doing your website yourself, there are various options open, you can either choose a company who will host it for you, or you can find the host yourself and use a content management system to create the site
Strikingly.com – a quick way to create a site
WordPress – if you want to create a site yourself and also host it yourself, this is the most popular software system to use, has a huge selection of plugins you can use
Joomla – another popular CMS system
Drupal – Very powerful open source content management system
Postach.io – if you’d like to convert an Evernote notebook into a CMS this is your site
Website registration and domain hosting
You need to register your site and also find a company to host it, here are some possible choices
Godaddy – the biggest registrar but not the cheapest
Namecheap.com – one of the cheapest places to register your site
Internetbs.net – another cheap registrar
Hostgator – the biggest hosting company in the world
Justhost – another very large hosting company
Ipage – a large hosting company, often have good deals
Alexa – Check out the rankings for your website and your competitors
Google Analytics – google’s free analytical system allows business owners to measure traffic and what is working, or not, on your website
Ahrefs – see how content on your site is performing in the search rankings
PowersuiteSEO – a suite of tools for measuring your site’s performance and your competitors
Mixpanel – Measures searches and shares instead of page view
Simplereach – Uses real time data to judge the impact of content.
Full Circle Insights – Tools for measuring overall marketing impact
Squeeze CMM – Check your ROI on content produced.
Insight Squared – Software for sales and marketing support data.
Product launchtime is a key moment and you want to get it right. Here’s some sites that can help
Unbounce – Some nice landing pages for your site.
LaunchSquad – get a press release and content created for your launch
LaunchRock – build your site
Effectively Launch Your New Product or Service – Plan your PR campaign
Prefinery – private beta software.
Beta Page – a website to upload your new business site to for people to check out
Content and online marketing
Content marketing is now the best way for businesses to market themselves online, here are some of the best resources to help you out with this.
Content Marketing Institute – the latest information and news about content marketing
Buzzsumo – see what content is working best on the web and getting shared the most
Searchmetrics – market analysis for improving your content marketing
Quill Engage – customer reports based on google analytics
Content Marketing Guide – lots of good information here
AtomicWriter – a tool for analyzing who your audience is and which of your content they are
Content Ideator – inspiration for finding new ideas to write about
Daily Page – Great tool for jump-starting content ideas
It’s vital to get your message out to the world however you can, here are some ways to do that.
PRWeb – a press release service.
Market Wired – PR and social communications solutions
HARO – you can sign up for their newsletter, journalists ask for input on various subjects and if you can offer this you can get exposure and a valuable link to your site
ProfNet – linking up experts and journalists in a similar way to Haro
Facebook – you can promote your posts to reach more people
Monster Funders – if you are doing fundraising, Monster Funders will promote your promotion via Twitter
With your startup you need to make sure it’s built on a strong framework. Here are some of the strongest CMS systems that can help your startup scale online.
Blogger.com – google’s free blogging platform
WordPress.com – different from wordpress.org, this is where you create a blog and it will be
hosted for you on WordPresses own platform
Livejournal – Huge blogging platform
Medium – a site where you can blog
How to start a blog – find out all you need to know about starting a blog (or a website) on this great site.
People love video and so does Google so it’s a great idea to either have video on your site or to post a video about your business on Youtube or Vimeo.
Youtube – the most popular site to post videos
Vimeo – another popular video hosting site
Wistia – hosting for your videos with extra marketing and analytics tools
Powtoon – make your own videos or animations.
Stupeflix – create your own videos
Wideo – animated video creation
After a while you may want to start growing your business, here are some places you can go for advice on this.
GrowthHackers – learn from an online community how to expand your business
Colibri.io – gain visibility by tapping into social networks
Nimble – assemble a list of contacts and track your relationships with them
Pay With A Tweet – expand by allowing content to be accessed in return for sharing your information on Twitter
MixRank – get a targeted list of possible customers
Getting your site visible in the search rankings is vital, here are some of the best sites to learn about SEO.
Search Engine Journal – Another of the top SEO news sites
Quicksprout – Neil Patel is one of the experts on content marketing and SEO and there is a huge amount of information on his website.
Backlinko.com – a huge list of how to get backlinks in a white hat way that Google will like.
Yoast.com – SEO blog by the makers of one of the most famous optimization plugins for WordPress
Search Engine Watch – SEO news and articles
Matthew Woodward – UK blogger and internet marketing expert.
Charles Floate – excellent SEO and internet marketing tips
Robbie Richards – SEO advice and online marketing strategies
SEO Nick – SEO blog and advice
Google Analytics – discover how your website and content are performing, free tools
Raven Tools– Get reports on SEO, Social Media and ad campaigns.
SEM Rush – Allows you to track keywords on your own site and on competitors’ sites.
Moz – Montior your website and social media performance.
Majestic – track how your website is performing and the links you are getting.
Here are some of the sites you should think about using
Twitter – Share messages and photos of up to 140 characters to your followers
Facebook – Share articles, messages and promotions and attract online followers
Pinterest – Upload and share images
LinkedIn – Professional online networking site, connect with people in your industry and post content that will appeal to them
Google+ – Similar to Facebook, upload messages and make contacts.
Tumblr – Create and share multi-media content via this microblogging platform
Reddit – a huge community who share articles and information
Social media management
Social media can take a lot of time up so it’s important to do it as efficiently as possible, these tools can help.
Hootsuite – You can manage all your social networks from one dashboard
Buffer – simplify your social media activity
HubSpot – advanced inbound marketing software
Tweetdeck – the best tool for organising and tracking your Twitter activity
Adstage – allows you to manage all your social media activity in one place.
Social media monitoring
Socialbakers – Find metrics on which social platforms are working best for you
Curalate – Find out which visual content from Pinterest and Instagram are working best.
Visible – Social media analysis tool
CrowdBooster – Find out how your social media efforts are doing
Trendspottr – Spot which trends are rising on social media
TrackMaven – Gather information on what your competitors are doing on social media
Simply Measured – Measure social media impact
Zuum – See what your competitors are doing on social media
Cafyne – A set of tools to manage your social media activity
It’s vital for any business to judge how they are performing, here are some sites to check this out.
Google Analytics – Google’s free analytical system allows business owners to measure traffic and what is working, or not, on your website
Buffer – social media stats.
BetaPage – a site where you launch your beta startup, and get free testing and subscribers
Piwik – similar tools to Google Analytics
Cyfe – an app where you can check out your business performance
KISSmetrics – See what is working and what’s not in your digital marketing campaign
Google Trends – look at what are the most popular trends on Google
Product Hunt – find popular new products
Erli Bird – testing and beta testing tools.
Google Alerts – Discover when your brand is mentioned online and get sent an alert
Webtrends – Tools for analysing digital campaigns.
Customer feedback and support
It’s vital to give your customers the support they need and to get good feedback from them.
Olark – provides a platform for customer chat
Tender – provides support software for your customers
Desk – easy to use support software
Zendesk – customer support and tools for self-service
Groove – offers an online help desk
Surveys and polls
Surveys help you to get information to base your business decisions on.
Google Consumer Surveys – High quality market research tool from Google.
Typeform – make your own surveys
Qualtrics – an advance survey platform
Tally – allows you to create your own polls.
A/B testing means checking which of two versions of a page on your site are most appealing to people coming to your site so you can constantly tweak them. Various companies can help with this.
Experimentation and Testing: A Primer – some great information for getting started with A/B testing
Google Analytics – this multi-faceted program allows A/B testing
Optimizely – A/B testing site
Crazy Egg – look at heatmaps of your site to see what readers are looking at
Vanity – A/B testing development framework
It’s vital to see how you and your competitors are performing online for the most important keywords that you are trying to rank for.
Google AdWords – let’s you see how much competition there is for various keywords
SEMRush – find out how you and your competitors are performing for keywords
Spyfu – look at what keywords your competitors are advertising for
iSpionage – analyse your competitors
WordStream – improve your adwords performance
Having information in the cloud helps you keep it safe and accessible on all your devices.
Google – offers the Google drive, where you can store data for free, as well as a lot of other tools. Create a Google account and access all these tools.
Dropbox – free cloud storage that you can also share
AWS Free Tier – Amazon’s cloud offering
Github – a hub for the open source community.
Joyent – offers cloud solutions
Box – keeps and shares content
Payment – billing and invoicing
To help with your billing and invoicing check out some of these online companies.
Yardbook – invoicing for professionals.
Stripe – Take online payments using an APIs and other tools
Aria – helps develop recurring revenue strategies
Due – track your invoicing and billing online
Quickbooks – keep a track of your books online.
These days it’s possible to easily work with anyone in the world, here are some resources to help you do this.
Skype – allows you to call or message people who also have the software anywhere in the world
Asana – lets you assign tasks to members of your team
StartMeeting – facilitates audio conferences
Yammer – have your own social network in your company
Hipchat – allows group chat and messaging
At some point you may need more work doing. Since hiring a full-time employee is expensive you might want to employ a freelance. Here are some places to find one.
Freelancer – find freelance help
Elance – one of the most famous sites to hire freelance help.
upWork – freelance worker site
How to Hire Your First Employee – if you decide you want to hire a full-time employee check this site out
Damongo – A good place to find freelance workers for small jobs
It’s vital to keep track of the projects you are working on, so here are some of the best tools to
allow you to do this.
Trello – allows you to keep lists of things to do and share these with a team if necessary
BaseCamp – this is probably the most popular software for project management
Campfire – adds real-time chat to collaboration
Wrike – team collaboration.
Doodle – keep track of your calendar and find the best dates to have meetings with colleagues
GoToMeeting – Web conferencing and online meeting tool
Making the most of your time is vital for all businesses, here are some resources to help.
Self-Control – this allows you to block out distracting websites such as Facebook for a certain amount of time.
RescueTime – tracks your daily use of time so you can change your working habits if necessary
FocusBooster – an online timer.
Last Pass – Keeps track of all your passwords and you can access them from anywhere with just one password, which will hopefully have to be the only one to remember
OneLogin – Has similar features to Last Pass
Many business owners will have to travel a lot, here’s some sites to help with this.
Trip-it – helps store all your travel plans in one place
Shoeboxed – scan all receipts that you get on a trip and store them
Time Trade – schedule all your appointments
Airbnb – if you want to find cheap lodgings this is the site to look at.
Tripadvisor – if you get any time off, this is the site to find out what you can do
Every business owner needs somewhere to make a list of tasks to be done, and here’s some places you can do this online
Evernote – you can input your tasks on one device – e.g. a computer – and then easily access that list on another device such as a phone
Pocket – save articles to view later
Remember The Milk – reminders and to-do-lists.
Wunderlist – share lists with members of your team
Todoist – a good to-do-list tool
If you’ve any questions or would like any help with your business please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org