If you have ever even considered opening up your own business, you will know that there are so many areas to work on!
Branding, paperwork, marketing, suppliers, financial aspects and, among other things, online presence. The fear of not being good enough at managing the more technical aspects of an activity is quite common. On the other hand, creating a website designed and built by a big agency and costing thousands of euros is often not possible.
The good news is that we have lots of tools at our disposal at a very affordable cost – and often for free. Of course, you will have to roll up your sleeves to learn how to use the various elements but trust us, anyone can learn.
Using the right programs is essential for achieving a professional result and being able to efficiently manage all aspects of your online business.
- Tools for website building
Any business, whether online or offline, should have a website. If you want to build your site by yourself, you’ll find that there are plenty of website builders out there that allow you to achieve a great result either free or for a small amount of money.
If you’ve decided to create the website of your business by yourself, a great choice would be WordPress, one of the most complete website building platforms on the market. By installing one of the many templates available you can create very professional looking web pages: you’ll find several free themes that look professional and eye-catching!
If this is the first site you’re creating, we suggest you focus on simplicity: define the purpose of the site, take users through a clear and simple journey and use call to action buttons to prompt an action.
- Tools for Payments
Even if you are just starting, you should immediately think about how to send and receive payments on the web. When you have a product or service for sale, it will be essential that your customers can pay you as easily as possible!
A great solution would be to open a Stripe account. It simplifies and helps make all stages of the purchase process of a transaction simple and secure. Stripe includes anti-fraud tools, a billing platform for businesses that offer pay-per-use services and subscription plans and an app dedicated to marketplaces and platforms.
If you sell digital products, such as e-books, audio, or video tracks, you could also choose Gumroad. This is a platform that takes care of all aspects related to payments and delivery of media files.
Both PayPal and Gumroad charge a commission on sales. However, they are very widespread, they will save you a lot of headaches and allow your customers to safely pay. .
- Tools for marketing
A precious ally for online marketing definitely is a newsletter tool, a software to collect contacts and send email campaigns. If you are looking for a free solution, MailChimp is a great and very popular tool that is worth a try.
If, on the other hand, you are ready to invest in a truly powerful premium tool, you’ll find plenty of more equipped softwares and websites, such as Infusionsoft, Aweber and Constantcontact – perfect for beginners. By doing email marketing the right way, you can get extraordinary results without spending a fortune.
When you have a thousand things to do, there is simply no time to spend hours on social networks! However, whether we like it or not, being present and engaging on social platforms is very important.
Fortunately, technology comes to our aid here. There are tools that you can use to schedule posts on all your social profiles in advance, from a single platform. Think about Buffer, free and very easy to use, or Hootsuite, a bit more complex but full of features.
You definitely want to add a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool too to your list of must-have tools. HubSpot, the number one software in the world for Inbound Marketing, provides a free CRM, that allows you to collect all lead details in a single profile, so you can access the information for each contact and observe all their interactions with your website, and ultimately use this data to create hyper-targeted marketing campaigns.
Through this platform you can have a total overview of your lead’s actions: from the pages viewed to the content downloaded, interactions with social media and much more. HubSpot guarantees a high capacity for personalisation, so that the sales team has a complete view of lead management.
- Tools for content creation
One of the many strategies for finding customers on the web is to offer free resources and content. On the other hand, the sale of online courses could also become a source of income for you that should not be underestimated.
Either way, don’t think you have to use a software worth thousands of euros to produce your pieces of content.
To create presentations, blog posts, and e-books, you can use free or inexpensive tools. Here are some of the most common ones:
Microsoft Office Package – Word is essential for writing posts for your blog. Excel is perfect for keeping track of expenses and receipts, and for creating customer and supplier records. PowerPoint is ideal for creating presentations and e-books.
If you like the Microsoft Office package programs but are looking for a free alternative, try OpenOffice.
To create and edit documents online, and to save all your files in the cloud, you can use Google Drive or Dropbox. They are both free and allow you to access your files from any PC. You can also use them to share documents with your collaborators or integrate them on your site.
To create images and graphics, try Canva. This is a free online application that has really nice pre-set templates. In a few minutes, you can create very professional looking graphics.
Finally, if you want to record videos – for example, for an online course – you can try using Camtasia (for Windows) and ScreenFlow (for Mac). These are premium tools that serve to record and edit videos with great ease.
What are your favorite business tools, and which ones would you recommend for people who are just starting out on their business enterprise?
Read about more business tools that will make your life easier when starting your company here. Once you are ready to join Collabmaker and start your journey towards success, become part of our community by clicking here!