The transformation into entrepreneurship is different for everyone, but having awesome tools at your disposal is a critical piece to finding success. Here are some great resources – put them to good use!
Business Building & Planning
- Live Plan (www.liveplan.com) – ($139) If you’re struggling to write your business plan, this software walks you through from concept to investor pitch. Highly customizable.
- Growthink (www.growthink.com) – ($97) Growthink offers a slew of products which stem from their business plan guide. The business plan guide is step by step fill-in-the-blanks
- Other – There are plenty of templates and free resources you can find. Spend your time finding what your business needs to get started, and begin there. Invest the money in the software only when and if you need to.
Day-to-Day Business Services
File Sharing, Storage and Organization
- Google Apps (www.google.com/apps/business) – ($5) Many of Google’s apps are free at the personal level, and free trial available for businesses too. Everything from email to storage to calendars, Google can provide it all.
- Evernote (http://www.evernote.com) – (Free) Virtual notebook that syncs your notes in the cloud. Easily organized into categories, tags, and more and can be shared with other users as you choose. Easy collaboration tool!
- Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) – (Free) Cloud storage (4.75GB for Free) which is easily shared with individuals whom you allow access. Essentially like a traveling virtual hard drive. It’s a must-have!
- Neat (www.neat.com) – ($399+) Physical document scanner to allow you to be completely paperless. Scan documents, receipts, and whatever else, and upload into cloud with add-on NeatCloud services.
Phone Call Services
- Grasshopper (www.grasshopper.com) – ($12+) Phone service will provide 800 numbers, extensions, call forwarding, voicemail and more.
- Google Voice (www.google.com/voice) – (Free) Basic phone service will provide a phone number, call forwarding and voicemail transcribe service.
- GoToMeeting (www.gotomeeting.com) – ($49+) Conference hosting service with Free 30-Day trial. Virtual meetings, video conference, etc.
- Cisco WebEx – (www.webex.com) – (Free+) Conference hosting service. Basic package with VoIP is free, with other plans starting at $29/month.
- Join.Me (www.join.me) – (Free+) Conference hosting with VoIP. Basic package is free, plans increase from there.
- Skype (www.skype.com) – (Free) Internet calling service, with phone packages available at low monthly rates. Easy for quick face-to-face meetings
- Google Hangouts (www.google.com/hangouts) – (Free) Internet calling service with audio, video and multiple caller features. Great for quick video chats and interviews.
- Google Calendar (www.google.com/calendar) – (Free) If you’re using Gmail at all for your business or personal, you should use Google calendar to help ease scheduling woes.
- BusyCal (www.busymac.com) – ($49) BusyMac has a product called BusyMac allowing easy sync between devices and users and a host of features for increasing productivity. Free trial is available.
- iCal (http://www.apple.com/osx/apps/#calendar) – (Free) This is the easiest free way to organize your calendar. You can sync across multiple emails and calendars and easy organization tools help you coordinate tasks and to-dos. Syncs across all your Apple devices.
- Legal Zoom (www.legalzoom.com) – ($N/A) Legalzoom has any and every legal document service you could ever need and great customer service to assist you.
- Fax.com (www.fax.com) – ($10+) If your business does need a fax service, Fax.com offers fax to email service and has a free 30-day trial.
- Docusign – (www.docusign.com) – (Free) This is an awesome app which comes in handy for signing and sharing documents. It is simple to use, sign, and send, all from the app.
- Insightly – (www.insightly.com) – (Free) CRM tool which integrates with email and calendar for tracking and following up on sales leads.
- Hootsuite – (www.hootsuite.com) – (Free) Manage all social media platforms from within one interface. Loads of options for free, and tons of extras on the paid services.
- Woobox – (www.woobox.com) – (Free) Simply download this tool to link with your business Facebook page. Great features such as Facebook app add-ins, polls, surveys, contests, and more.
- Perfect Audience – (www.perfectaudience.com) – (Free) Marketing tool to allow you to retarget leads that left your site, or social media feed.
- WordPress plugins – (www.wordpress.org/plugins/) – (Free) Endless tool to take advantage of within a WordPress designed site. Countless quality options, mostly free.
- Mail Chimp – (www.mailchimp.com) – (Free) Outstanding mail service and management system. Automation, analytics and customized email campaign abilities.
Website & SEO
- Hubspot – (www.hubspot) – ($200+) Full lead management system with outstanding analytics. Free trial is worth it.
- Moz – (www.moz.com) – ($99+) Analytics tool for superior SEO monitoring, but expanded into full service online marketing platform. Free trial is offered.
- Google Analytics – (www.google.com/analytics) – (Free) Google Analytics is a must for any business. Google’s free tool allows you to view and track essential data on your webpage.
- Wunderlist – (www.wunderlist.com) – (Free) Awesome tool for keeping lists. From your personal grocery list to daily to-do’s, all can be managed and shared within the free app. Sinks with phone and laptop, complete with deadline-add options. I can’t get by without this.
- E.ggtimer – (www.e.ggtimer.com) – (Free) Set a timer for periods of productivity. Alarm sounds when the time is reached. Crazy easy to use and useful.
- RescueTime – (www.rescuetime.com) – (Free – $9 month) Free trial gives access to some productivity monitoring tools. Upgraded option gives you site-blocking options, alerts, time tracking, etc. As the name implies, this service can save your day.
- Cold Turkey – (www.getcoldturkey.com or www.selfcontrolapp.com for mac) – (Free) User is able to control websites that may be unproductive during key work hours. Shutoff your Twitter, Facebook, and gaming sites, and get focused until the timer runs out.
- Mac or PC Wi-Fi (Airport) The basic answer to online productivity is to use the features your computer already has and a timer. Shutoff Wi-Fi for the first few hours of the day. When your timer goes off, turn it back on.
Part-time/Virtual Employee Resources
- Elance – (www.elance.com) – (Free to browse) Put yourself on the site as a freelancer or post a job and browse talent for a part-time need you have. Payment accepted through the site.
- ODesk – (www.odesk.com) – (Free to browse) Largest freelance network on the web. Well organized and with a money-back guarantee. Payment accepted through the site.
- VWorker – (www.freelancer.com) – (Free to browse) Similar services as other freelance sites. Browse jobs by category or budget.
- AskSunday – (www.asksunday.com) – ($119+) Virtual assistant services, beginning at 10 hours per month up to whatever your need is. General assistant tasks, data entry, phone calls, scheduling, etc.
- 4-Hour Workweek – (http://fourhourworkweek.com) – (Free) The book is highly recommended, but Tim has all his resources, blogs, and advise in his site here. Bookmark this one.
- Entrepreneur On Fire – (www.entrepreneuronfire.com) – (Free) This podcast runs 7 days a week, hosted by John Dumas and features an interviewed entrepreneur each day. Countless tips to pick up. Worth subscribing.
- Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn – (http://www.smartpassiveincome.com) – (Free) Pat Flynn interviews and profiles the best work-from-home successes and strategies. Very insightful.
- Business Women Rock – (www.bizwomenrock.com) – (Free) Geared towards the ladies, this podcast has a strong community of entrepreneurs and business leaders. Inspirational, especially for the female entrepreneurs.
News & Trends
- Google Trends – (www.google.com/trends) – (Free) Amazing free site from Google. Follow key news and web trends, drill into your own categories, topics, etc. This site is a must for researching and creating current content.
- Trendwatching.com – (www.trendwatching.com) – (Free) Great site to keep up-to-date on latest global trends, insights, and innovations. Subscribe to the free newsletter.
- Mashable – (www.mashable.com) – (Free) Powerful website for digital content. Articles, news stories, and more, mostly geared towards innovation and today’s generation.
Contact me if there are other great tools that you’ve used, and we’ll add them to the list!