Starting a small business has never been easier, especially if you know some of the incredible tools on the Internet. This month, I go over some of my favorites.
One of the first steps in starting your business is to have some business cards created. Well, now, instead of paying some printer for these essential promotional pieces, you can make them yourself. At the aptly named, FreePDFCards.com site, you can easily upload a logo, choose numerous lines of text, and, in the end, create an 8.5 by 11 PDF sheet of cards ready to print. At that point, all you have to do is buy a bunch of Avery pre-cut cardstock. Simple!
One of the ingredients of a good business plan is a clear explanation of EXACTLY how it will operate. And what better way to communicate that idea than a professional flow chart or diagram. Instead of going out and buying expensive software like Visio, check out Gliffy.com, a free site that allows you to create beautiful Venn Diagrams, floor-plans, and business process charts. See their site for even more ideas!
Communication is key when staying competitive. Keeping in touch with your employees and contractors becomes much easier when you use a site like AnyMeeting. Basically, this tool brings all the best features of WebEx or GotoMeeting without the cost! You can host a webinar of up to 200 people for FREE. Features include video conferencing, application sharing, conference calling, and screen sharing. You can even have your webinars recorded and take online surveys. The site is ad supported and they have paid options if you want to nix the ads.
One of the biggest mistakes new business owners make is ignoring their expenditures. Proper cash tracking is essential. Mint.com can help. This free service, owned by the people at TurboTax, allows you to track every check, payment, and deposit in one easy place. You simply connect your bank account and their system does the rest. It has easy budgeting features and can even alert you of any unusual expenditures. While more sophisticated software exists to do the same thing, Mint.com is perfect for the “just-starting-out” business needing to keep an eye on the checking account.
New sites are always popping up. If you have found an online tool you just can’t live without, leave a comment below and let us know!
Eric Spellmann continues to be one of the highest rated speakers at our national America’s SBDC conferences. His unique view that small business websites should “do” something pushes against the standard “online pamphlet” view of most web design companies. He believes your customer’s websites should be driving qualified leads and sales on a weekly basis. Eric speaks at a number of other national and state conferences nationwide, but enjoys running one of the most successful web design companies in the country. He truly believes in the SBDC mission as it helped him start his own company many years ago. To contact him, visit his website at EricSpellmann.com.