9 Everyday Small Business Tools And Needs To Thrive
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You’ve probably heard the phrase a hundred times: work smarter, not harder.
Whether you’ve just launched a startup or whether you’ve been in business for a few years, you can make your job a whole lot easier by simply equipping your business with some basic small business must-have tools and services.
And we’re not talking novelty or luxury items here. No company cars in the lot or flatscreen TVs in the office lobby. Just the everyday essentials your small business must have to keep things running smoothly and successfully.
Here’s what you’re absolutely going to need:
1. Advertising to Increase Sales
Your business might be able to survive on word-of-mouth for a while. But to scale and grow, most businesses need to advertise.
Even the largest, healthiest, and fastest-growing businesses pour money into advertising to create awareness, generate leads, and win customers. So, it’s essential for your business to have a few different channels for advertising.
Advertising doesn’t even have to be expensive. It can even be free!
→ Yelp: If your business isn’t already listed on Yelp, you’re late to the party. This massive online directory sees roughly 91 million unique visitors each month. And many of them are searching fora business like yours!
With Yelp Advertising, you can market to and potentially win over new customers who would normally be going to your competitors instead.
Need another reason to sign up? By simply claiming your business on Yelp today, you’ll get a free $300 advertising credit!
→ Microsoft Advertising: This is a great place to start to get your feet wet with advertising online.
With Microsoft Advertising, you’ll be able to reach potential customers across the Bing and Yahoo! search engines with highly clickable ads. Target custom audiences by keywords and keyphrases. You can start with an advertising budget as low as $5 a day.
Spend $25 on Microsoft Advertising today and you’ll get a free $100 credit to spend on more advertising!
2. Email Marketing to Capture and Engage Your Customers
With a website up and running, you’re going to want to set up email marketing.
Constant Contact is a top email marketing platform that can easily integrate with your website to capture visitors who want to hear from you again.
Add a quick Constant Contact sign up form to your website, and boom — you can now generate new leads and reach them whenever you send an email campaign.
Then with Constant Contact, you’ll be able to build email campaigns that keep these new subscribers fully engaged.
The platform features a ton of customizable and branded template options, as well as a host of drag-and-drop assets. All of these tools can be used to create gorgeous emails in a matter of minutes.
After your email campaign is sent, you’ll also be able to monitor key metrics through Constant Contact. You can see how many people opened your email, clicked on a link, and so much more.
You can use Constant Contact risk-free with a 60-day free trial and witness firsthand what the platform can do for your business.
3. Search Engine Optimization and Competitor Research to Increase Organic Traffic to Your Website
Got your website up and running? That’s a great start!
But in order to have a real impact online and reach more potential customers without relying solely on advertising, you’re going to need a hand from a little thing called search engine optimization (SEO).
In short, search engine optimization is a set of best practices that cater to search engine algorithms, which determine how websites rank in search results. As you implement SEO, you also increase your search engine visibility.
To put it simply, the better your SEO, the higher you will rank on search engines (like Google) and the more people will find your business online.
SEMrush can help you get your website SEO to a top-notch level.
With SEMrush, you’ll have access to a ton of helpful tools, including keyword research, social media tracking, as well as an audit tool that will offer a full breakdown of your site. You’ll even be able to research your competitors and keep a close eye on industry trends!
With an analytics interface that gives you access to hundreds of important performance metrics, SEMrush is the go-to SEO software for more than 4 million users worldwide, including the likes of Wix and Booking.com.
Plans start at $99.95 per month, and you can save a little more by paying for the year upfront. You can also get a 7-day free trial and see whether SEMrush is a good fit for your business!
4. Video Making to Help Build Your Brand
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably well aware of the presence of video marketing at the moment.
85% of businesses use video as a marketing tool and 95% of those businesses plan to maintain or increase their video spend this year.
As a small business, perhaps you realize the importance of video marketing but struggle to come up with the funds for it. The good news is that you don’t need to break the bank to create video content for your business.
With Animoto, beginners and experts alike can create attractive, engaging videos for their marketing campaigns.
Access to dozens of pre-built storyboard templates and millions of stock resources means that, even with zero editing experience, you can create professional-looking videos with little effort.
Align your custom videos with your branding and messaging by using your go-to fonts and adding your company logo as a watermark.
Get a free plan with Animoto for many of these features, or choose an upgraded plan for all of the bells and whistles!
5. Funding to Grow into a Big Business
You know the saying, “you need money to make money?” Well, it’s true. If you want your business to grow and flourish, you’re going to need funds that you can access.
You might try to persuade investors to buy into your vision. But at what cost? Once you offer up equity in your company or royalties on your sales, you may find that this kind of burden stifles your business’s growth.
Fortunately, there are a few different ways to get funding without investors.
With Fundera, you may be able to choose from a handful of different small business loan options!
Here’s how it works. Fill out a single application form with just a few questions about your business, and Fundera will return all of the different lending options that you might qualify for, from SBA loans to business term loans to startup business loans and more!
Next, Fundera will pair you with one of their lending specialists, who will help you understand your options and crunch numbers. This way, you can make the best possible decision for your business.
Once you’re approved for your loan, you may get your funds in as little as one business day!
Worried that your credit might not be good enough? Bad credit is often OK with Fundera. What’s more is that when you spend and repay responsibly, you can actually build your business’s credit.
Ready to get your business funded with Fundera? Complete a short questionnaire to start getting personalized loan options!
6. A Website (Because It’s 2020)
Businesses talk themselves out of starting websites all the time. “They’re too expensive.” “They take too long to set up.” “Our business doesn’t need one.”
Guess what? Today, you can set up your own website or blog for little to nothing, in as quickly as a few minutes. And there’s just no way around it — a website is a must for every business (yes, even yours!), for a bunch of different reasons:
- A website helps develop your brand and builds reputability.
- Many people want to scope you out online before buying.
- Your website is available, even when you’re not.
- A website is a key component of most marketing strategies.
But websites have also come a long way. Depending on your type of business, there are a few different options you should look at:
A. If your business needs a simple website with content, Bluehost is a reliable and extremely affordable option.
Sign up with Bluehost for just $3.95 per month and you’ll get a free domain, a free SSL certificate (which keeps your customers’ data secure), up to 50GB in storage, and access to 24/7 support.
Bluehost’s website builder allows you to set up your own site in minutes. No web development or design experience needed!
B. Does your business need an online store? With BigCommerce, you can get it up and running in no time.
The company’s website builder gives you all the features you could ever need to showcase your products and services in the best possible light. Choose from hundreds of responsive templates and customize them to your liking with code-free adjustments.
You’ll be able to manage orders and inventory using the platform’s control panel. Not to mention, BigCommerce supports PayPal, Apple Pay, Pay with Amazon, and dozens of other payment methods.
Ready to start? You can even take advantage of a 30-day free trial today!
7. A Business Phone Line (Because Handing out Your Cell Number Won’t Cut It)
Berkeley Communications on Unsplash Nothing screams, “I’m still figuring this business thing out” like listing your cell phone number for customers to contact your business.
And do you really want to give customers your personal phone number anyway?
In the past, business phone lines were a little more difficult to set up and had the potential to be expensive. But today, virtual phone systems can keep your setup simple and your costs low.
Need convincing? Check out Phone.com. For just $12.99 a month, you can get a local or toll-free number, unlimited extensions, 300 minutes, and 5,000 SMS messages. This base plan also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee!
All plans come with more than 50 standard features, including caller ID, custom greetings, call queuing, hold music, and voicemail. What more could you need?
Getting a phone line for your business has never been easier. Sign up with Phone.com today and find out why over 30,000 other businesses use it!
8. Protect Your Business with Insurance
Nothing puts a damper on the joy of having a business quite like insurance. It’s one of the first things you should have, but one of the last things you ever hope to use.
Not to mention, insurance can be pretty tricky. Especially if you’re new to this, you’re likely going to spend hours Googling the different coverages your business might need.
Let’s face it — you’ve got enough on your plate. Instead, lean on Thimble for a little help. This company will help you set up and manage commercial insurance for your business online.
Fill out some basic information, and get a free, personalized quote for affordable rates in minutes.
Get insured with Thimble and get back to doing the thing you really love — building your business!
9. Fax (for the Digital Age)
Yeah, fax is still a thing.
While computers, tablets, and smartphones have replaced fax machines (for the most part), many businesses like having the option available.
But a traditional fax machine can also become a real pain. Just think about the phone lines, paper, ink, toner, and of course, those dreaded maintenance costs. Add to this the frustration of paper jams, busy lines, and waste.
Fortunately, you can actually hang on to your fax capabilities without having a fax machine at all!
Enter eFax. This service offers a simple way to send and receive faxes from anywhere and at any time.
Using the eFax portal or application on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you’ll be able to view faxes as PDFs, add electronic signatures as needed, and reply to faxes with ease.
Sign up for a 30-day free trial and get your free fax number, secure and unlimited storage, as well as access for multiple users.
With more than 10 million customers and nearly 20 years in the game, eFax makes faxing super easy with its paperless, online service.
Got Everything Your Small Business Needs to be Successful?
A surefire way to start your business out on the right foot is to have all of these items in order before you launch. Missing even one item from this list might come back to bite you — whether it’s insurance, funding, or your website!
But even if that ship has sailed, it’s never too late for you to go back and make sure your business is properly equipped with the essentials. You can even use these items as your personal checklist!