17 Everyday Business Essentials That Will Save You Time & Money
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Running a business comes with tons of perks – flexibility, personal fulfillment, and the freedom that comes with being your own boss. However, it’s also a lot of work. There are demands from clients, the never-ending pursuit of new customers, and the stress of always trying to stay on top of the competition. Luckily, these tools and tactics can lessen the headache and help your business reach its full potential.
1. Lead Generation.
If you’ve got a website or blog that you’re looking to collect email subscribers for, then you should be using Leadpages. It can supercharge your email subscriber efforts.
With Leadpages you can do a number of things to acheieve this, such as setting up landing pages (dozens of templates to choose from) for a product, contest, subscription service — whatever you want. Easily test what's performing well, and what's not. Simple, right? Well, that’s the point. No coding skills required, and tons of time and money saved by not needing to hire a developer or designer to set everything up.
It’s the kind of service that every website owner can utilize, and it can be a hugely valuable tool added to your arsenal.
Get a 14-day free trial here.
2. Reach your customers through email.
Email marketing companies provide you with a way to reach out and stay in touch with existing customers, or visitors who have expressed interest in what you have to offer. However, designing and writing email newsletters, timing your sends, and tracking your results can be a hassle. That’s why you’ll want a good, reliable company to do all the work for you.
You can’t go wrong with Constant Contact, as it’s one of the biggest email marketing services in the world. Its easy-to-use email editor allows you to pick a template and customize it any way you want, and you can rest assured that each template will look great on small screens, big screens, and everything in between. You’ll get real-time reports on who is clicking, sharing, and reading your emails. It also transforms your emails into
eye-catching social media posts in just a few clicks.
For a 60-day free trial, click here.
AWeber is another great choice which offers business owners email automation and templates. It has low, easy-to-understand pricing with no strings attached. If you have 500 or less email subscribers, you pay just $19 per month for AWeber to take care of everything for you. More than 100,000 email marketers already trust this service, so they must be doing something right.
Give it a try, completely free for 30 days, by clicking here.
Both Constant Contact and AWeber offer great templates with drag-and-drop editors, as well as features including the tracking of opens, clicks, and visits to your site. However, if you’re looking for something more personalized with automation and integrations, you should opt for drip. The service is great at intelligent email and social media tactics which adapt to your customers’ interests and behaviors.
Interested? You can try drip free with no obligation.
3. Advertise, advertise, advertise.
You can have the best business in the entire world, but that doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t getting customers. Online advertising is a great way to get the word out – and no, not through Google Adwords.
Bing Ads is one of the best ways to spread the message about your business, for several reasons. First of all, about 23% of all online searches happen on Bing. That equates to around 15 billion searches. Secondly, Bing is getting more popular each day. And perhaps the best reason to go for Bing over Google is that advertising is generally cheaper – often up to 40% cheaper.
Bing Ads is currently offering $100 worth of advertising credit to anyone who spends $25, so give it a try today.
Another overlooked advertising platform is Yelp. If you have a local business, this is surely not a place you want to miss. According to a 2013 study by Boston Consulting Group (as cited on Yelp’s website), the average annual revenue reported by Yelp advertisers is $23,000. That’s a pretty substantial number, which means that choosing not to advertise on Yelp would be a fool’s errand.
We’ve got you $300 in free Yelp ad credits to get started, so why not give it a go?
4. Who needs landlines?
Your clients need to be able to get in touch with you, but traditional landlines are a thing of the past for many business owners. This is because a much better deal can usually be had by using an internet-based service like eVoice – a cloud-based phone system which includes a free local or toll-free number, call routing, voicemail, and conferencing. One of the coolest features is that customers can call a single number and be seamlessly directed to employees who can take the call on their mobile phones (without the customer even knowing the transfer is happening). It also offers a number of other neat features, like converting a caller’s voicemail into emailed audio files or text messages.
You can try it for free for 60 days by clicking here.
Grasshopper offers a similar service, also making it easy to run a business from your cell phone. This service knows how to cater to today’s entrepreneur, making it extremely easy to start and grow a business from anywhere – even your home. Just like eVoice, it allows you to get a toll-free or local number, add extensions for departments and employees, and direct calls to the appropriate place – no matter where your employees are actually located. They can be taking business calls from the beach or the bathtub. That’s the beauty of it. Tens of thousands of entrepreneurs are already using the service.
The greatest part is that you don't have to sign a long-term contract, so you can try it out with no strings attached.
5. A logo that impresses.
They say first impressions are everything, and your logo is often the first impression that your customers see. That’s why it needs to be awesome. However, you don’t need to waste time hiring designers you’re unsure about. Instead, you can be part of the process and only pay for a logo if you’re completely satisfied.
Logojoy operates on the belief that great ideas need great design. That’s why it’s committed to helping you create a logo that you’ll be proud of – one that can feature on your website, on promotional goods, or anywhere else you want it to go. All you have to do is bring a loose idea to Logojoy, and let the service’s artificial intelligence do the rest. Your logo is guaranteed to be 100% unique, and will come with a social media kit which includes 40+ perfectly sized versions of your image for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Etsy. This website happens to be the most popular logo maker in the world, and for good reason.
You can also head over to LogoGarden to make your own logo. Yes, you read that right. Make your own. Don’t worry if you don’t have much artistic ability; the website makes it incredibly easy. You simply pick from thousands of icons by industry, and select one to edit. From there, use the logo creator’s design tools, fonts, colors, and editing features. Tweak the logo as much as you want. When you’re satisfied, save it and download it. Congratulations, you just made a logo.
6. A design that dazzles.
Having a great website isn’t just about having a functioning website. It also needs to be aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. Luckily, there are some great options which allow you to have a gorgeous site for an extremely reasonable price.
99designs is home to a wide community of professional designers. The process is simple – create a detailed brief, letting designers know exactly what you’re looking for. From there, you can view designers’ portfolios and hire one directly, or start a contest. Launching a contest lets interested freelancers submit their ideas, allowing you to pick your favorite design. This site is a great way to hire a true professional who has been vetted for quality.
DesignCrowd is another great site, offering a network of more than 617,000 designers. You can use its website for any creative project, from logo design to t-shirt design. It also allows you to create a contest, with the typical project receiving more than 100 design submissions from around the world. You can choose the best design, correspond with the freelancer to tweak it as you wish, and receive all the necessary copyright ownership. If you don’t like any of the designs (which is highly unlikely), DesignCrowd will refund your money. This means there’s no reason not to give it a go.
7. A host that delivers.
Security. Scalability. Load time. Uptime. These things matter. This is why you need to find a web host that will work hard to keep your site up and running. There are a lot of choices out there, but not all of them are quality choices. Luckily, we’ve done the hard work and identified three of the best options.
If you have a WordPress site, look no further than WP Engine. It’s dedicated solely to WordPress, so it knows how to support those websites. Unlike many web hosts, it’s available to support customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That alone can be a godsend when you’re pulling your hair out and are ready to throw your computer out the window (don’t worry, it happens to everyone from time to time). Choose from a variety of plans, from Startup to Growth and Scale. Have a look and the WP Engine website to determine which plan is best for you.
Just be sure to click here first, to receive 33% off your first payment.
HostGator is another great hosting platform, also offering customers support every day of the year, 24 hours a day. Those who opt for this host will also benefit from a 99.9% uptime promise. There are three hosting plans, starting at just $2.75 per month. You’ll get unmetered storage and bandwidth, along with unlimited email addresses, even if you pick the cheapest plan. Not bad at all, right? More than 9 million websites already trust HostGator.
Give them a try – you have nothing to lose, thanks to the company’s 45-day money-back guarantee.
Blue Host is owned by the same company as HostGator, and gives you a free domain, site builders, and 24/7 support. It’s another great option for anyone planning to use WordPress, as the company employs a team of WordPress experts who are on hand to offer assistance when you need it. The process is super easy, allowing you to have your WordPress platform up and running in just a few minutes. From there, you can manage all your installations in one place. The company is currently running a special promotion which allows you to pay just $3.95 a month.
Try Blue Host for free, using its 30-day money back guarantee.
8. A website that’s easy to build.
Gone are the days when business owners had to hire expensive developers to build their websites. You can do it all on your own now, even if you don’t have any experience in the field.
Weebly offers a selection of free templates which can be fully customized to fit your needs. From basic business sites to online stores and portfolios, you’re bound to find a template that works. Every single template is ready to launch immediately, so you can get a professional looking website in the blink of an eye. Weebly is also a great service if you’re looking to create a blog to connect with your customers. Don’t worry if you lack experience – there’s no coding required and you’ll get step-by-step guidance throughout the entire process. A major perk is that you can manage or edit your site from any device. Weebly’s $8 a month ad-free plan will allow you to look like a bona fide professional in no time. They’ll also give you a free domain and $100 in free Google ad credits.
You can also opt to go with Blue Host for just $3.95 a month, which also gets you a free domain and the use of the company’s site builders.
9. Video Marketing.
Create powerful, professional marketing videos with Animoto’s incredibly simple video editor.
Animoto’s the fast and easy way to make videos that’ll grow your business. Create videos in minutes with their online video editor, so you can increase sales with video ads and promotions, create marketing videos for social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and improve brand awareness with powerful professional videos. No video editing experience required.
10. A keeper of passwords.
If you’ve ever found yourself staring blankly at a sign-in screen because you forgot your password, you’re not alone. It’s no wonder that people forget them so easily, with every website requiring something different – uppercase letters, lowercase letters, special characters, numbers.
With Dashlane, you’ll never have to struggle again. That’s because it only requires you to remember one “master password,” which you simply enter each day. Dashlane takes it from there, remembering all your other passwords and signing into your various accounts with them. The best part is that you’re kept incredibly secure throughout the process, as even Dashlane doesn’t know or store your master password.
11. An online store that's good looking & functional.
Just like brick and mortar shops, online stores need to be well organized and attractive to bring in customers. They need to look professional. They need to be easy to use. All of that is easily done with Shopify, a commerce platform that allows anyone to sell things online.
You can choose from hundreds of graphic themes offered by sector. This means that whether you sell vintage clothing or brand new jewelry, you're bound to find something that's a perfect fit.
But it's not just about having a nice looking store. It's also about having the technology that makes it possible for customers to buy your products online. This means having a payment system that can accept credit cards, and a dashboard where you can view sales and order details. Shopify offers all of that.
You can get a basic plan for $29 a month, or pay just $9 a month if you only want to sell on Facebook, accept credit card payments, and use ‘Buy' buttons.
Sign up for a free 14-day trial and see why more than 600,000 companies around the world choose Shopify as their online selling platform.
12. An easy payment system.
No matter what kind of business you run, you need to have a way to accept credit cards. After all, how many people do you know that still carry around cash? Your grandfather might, but you’ll probably be hard-pressed to find anyone else who does.
Square makes it incredibly easy to take debit and credit card payments, no matter where you are. All you have to do is sign up and receive your free magstripe reader, allowing you to swipe credit cards anywhere. You can also order a Square reader for contactless and chip cards, starting at just $49. Square takes just 2.75% of each swipe, dip, or tap. This tool is a great way to ensure you’ll never miss a sale from a person who isn’t carrying cash. Square also offers an app which helps you track sales.
13. Invoices that are organized for you.
Accounting and numbers can be a real drag when all you really want to do is enjoy the more exciting side of running your own business. While there are a lot of ways to take care of your business’ accounting needs, FreshBooks is a fabulous choice. It’s a cloud-based secure accounting program which is accessible from wherever you are. It’s easy to use, and organizes all of those boring numbers into great-looking invoices. Just think of all the things you could be doing with your time if you weren’t pouring over invoices, tracking expenses, and following up on payments.
Click here to get a free 60-day trial of FreshBooks.
14. Legal experts to answer questions & make paperwork a breeze.
At some point, you’re going to need legal advice. Maybe you’re just starting out and have questions about business formation and trademarks, or maybe you have forms that need to be completed and submitted. LegalZoom is a great resource which can help you make sense of it all.
If you have a question, LegalZoom has an answer. It provides personalized, affordable legal services for less than a traditional lawyer. It’s been around for more than 12 years, and has helped over a million small businesses. If you have ongoing legal needs, consider signing up for a plan that will provide you with legal advice from a real-life lawyer for as little as $31.25 a month.
15. Make signing a snap.
Signatures are usually needed to seal any business deal, but you aren’t always located in the same place as your customers. That’s okay. Docusign makes it easy to sign documents electronically, no matter where you happen to be. You can send out relevant documents via email, and the recipients can sign them with just a couple of taps on their phone or tablet. You won’t have to spend loads of money overnighting important papers ever again. The system is perfectly secure and encrypted, and a complete audit trail is maintained.
Click here for a free 30-day trial.
16. A business loan with a great rate.
It's not always necessary for business owners to take out a loan, but those who do need to borrow a little cash should make sure they do it in the smartest way possible. Comparing interest rates is absolutely key when it comes to choosing a lender. After all, you want to make money…not spend it all on high monthly payments.
Zaprates is a loan comparison site that can help you find the perfect business loan. Simply visit the Zaprates website, enter a few details, and get quotes in minutes. Once you apply for a loan, you'll find out within 24 hours whether you've been approved. You don't have to have perfect credit or a credit history, and little to no collateral is required. You'll be given all the information up front so you can make an informed decision that will help your business become what you want it to be.
Click here to get free quotes.
17. Don’t just fax … eFax.
In the age of online digital storage, the need for hard documents is becoming increasingly less common. However, that doesn’t mean they’re obsolete. If you’re required to fax over a document, there’s no need to hunt down an old-fashioned fax machine. Just use eFax, which allows you to send faxes over the internet using your phone, tablet, or computer. It goes straight to the recipient’s fax machine. And when someone with an old-school machine sends you a document, eFax delivers it to you via email. From there, you can review, sign, and send it back – no printing or scanning required.
Click here to get a free 14-day trial.