Lisa, Great article on tools... Thanks for this resource! I appreciate your great value and content. Keep it coming... Having the right tools and resources are keys along with a great mentor... Debbie
With the state of the economy the way it is today I am seeing an increase in the level of interest a person has in starting their own business. When I ask the new entreprenuer a few basic questions regarding the tools they are using to build their new business I am shocked at how many people have that deer-in-the-headlight look.
So many people are jumping to the conclusion that starting a business from home is tied to a big expense and that the tools they need to use are not affordable to operate efficiently. Therefore, many business owners are not empowered to build strategically with the use of the internet. Because I am a big believer in maximizing online tools I came up with a list that will help take your business to the next level.
Here is a list of necessary tools that are free to use.
Webcast: Mikogo is free screensharing software that you can use for webinars, product demonstrations, online meetings, etc.
Video Production: Animoto is a great way to turn your photos into video. As we all know video’s drive traffic to your website. Therefore, a simple way to create a video is to upload pictures of you or your business into Animoto, select sound clips to match the video and publish to YouTube or other video sites.
Conference Calling: Free Conference Call.com is a teleconference line available 24/7. Do you need to have a quick meeting with your team members or sales staff? Easily done with this service.
Calendar: Google Calendar is an efficient way to keep track of your events. I use this service to color code the conference calls, events, and even set up Text Messaging reminders so I don’t miss a beat. A great feature in Google Calendar allows you to invite others to share the calendar so it works great for planning events.
Business Forms: Google Docs has a host of forms and templates that can assist you with your business. Find a template, complete the form and then print it to a PDF file direct from the desk top. Many of the templates will even feed into specific software programs you might use. It is a great way to invoice your clients.
Advertising: Craigslist is a favorite for free advertising. If you own a service business or want to sell a product this service is for you. Not only is it good for advertising it is also great for prospecting. Check out the “wanted” section as you might be able to fill a need of what people are looking for. Be sure to read the compliance section of Craigslist because they don’t hesistate to shut your account down if your ad is flagged too many times.
Autoresponder: Mail Chimp Not only does this site have a cute chimp on the front page it offers a great foundation for new marketers to start building a list. You can build and manage your list as well as design HMTL newsletters for free. I personally use Aweber as it is the list building tool I’ve used prior to learning of Mail Chimp.
Website Software: WordPress.org is a great tool for the new business owner to use while building an online presence. With all the new plugins available to the wordpress owner you can create a website in a matter of minutes compared to a few months and at a high expense. WordPress.org is free but you would need a hosting account to maintain it. I use a few different hosting companies for my sites but I prefer Hostgator as my wordpress host.
These are a few of my favorite tools (sounds like a song doesn’t it?). Be not afraid to learn any one of them as they all have video instructions and are easy to learn.
Do you need to know where to market your website? Go ahead and opt in at the box on the right. I will send you a PDF file and checklist to get you started in the right direction.
Make Internet Marketing Fun!
I am compassionate about helping others with online and offline business concepts. While providing training and consulting for Social Media I also enjoy volunteer work. I've owned my own businesses since 2007. Networking both offline and online is a joy. Please connect with me and let me know what you are working on too.