The 55 Best Tools to Start Your Business in 2019
Any business can use these tools to quickly get customers, increase revenue, and automate operations.
Shopify is the best platform to sell your physical products both online or in-person. You can have a great looking store live in hours with your products loaded and ready to sell. Shopify also makes it easy to sell on other channels with a few clicks including Amazon, Etsy, Facebook, Pinterest, and eBay. And if the basic features aren’t enough, the Shopify App Store has custom apps for any feature you can imagine.
Squarespace is a great choice for almost any business site. It has award-winning templates that make it easy to create a custom site in no time and a drag-and-drop site editor to keep things simple. It’s hard to make a terrible website with Squarespace.
Squarespace is great but some businesses need a lot more features. That’s where Wordpress comes in. Wordpress powers 29% of the world’s websites. It’s a feature rich platform that is completely customizable. Wordpress is a solid choice if you need a lot of custom features on your website to support your business.
This might be the simplest project management tool that you can roll out in your business. Trello has an easy drag-and-drop interface that anyone can understand and enough features to make managing tasks effective but not overwhelming. You can assign tasks to people on your team and add images, checklists, and comments to keep things on track. It also integrates with hundreds of other apps so you can pull info from all your other business platforms.
From its site: “Basecamp combines discussions, tasks, files, schedules & chat in one place, making it easy to see what needs doing, where to find things, and what’s going on”. It is the easiest-to-use, all-in-one solution for managing projects for your business. The platform is incredibly intuitive which makes it easy to start using for most companies. The best feature might be its pricing. Basecamp is $99 per month for unlimited users unlike most other platforms that charge by the user.
6. G Suite
Running a business with your personal email looks unprofessional. It’s also a great way to have business emails get lost in the mix of spam, trash, or personal inquiries. G Suite by Google lets your separate the foundation of your business (email, calendar, documents) from your personal life.
PandaDoc users have closed over $16 billion worth of deals with the platform. Pandadoc lets you create a library of common sections and templates for your proposals and contracts. You create the sections once then select those you need for each individual proposal. Boom — custom proposal in a few clicks. It also has legally-binding eSignatures so you can keep your life paperless.
8. Google Analytics
You need to know where your website’s visitors are coming from and what they’re doing on your site. Google Analytics is a staple for every website. You should install it the day your site goes live.
What are your visitors doing when they get to your website? Hotjar makes it super simple to create heat-maps, user polls, and analyze your users’ activity. You can even get video recordings of your users on your site! Hotjar is another staple that I install on every site when I launch because it provides immediate access to crucial user data from the start. Oh, and it’s free.
Zoom makes video conferencing incredibly simple. You can have tons of attendees, share your screen, and record the meetings. You can even take control of another attendee’s screen in case you need to guide them through a complex process. If you’re a distributed company or you have clients across the world, I definitely recommend ditching the phone calls for video calls with Zoom.
When it comes to team communications, you need to ditch email and text messaging. With email, the message gets lost within your overflowing inbox. And text isn’t searchable so you can’t find that important message from 2 months ago. Enter Slack. You can organize your business around topics, share files, and keep a searchable history of all the conversations across your company. Millions of people use Slack to simplify their communications including employees at Airbnb, Harvard, and Ticketmaster.
You don’t need a graphic designer. Canva makes it simple to create amazing graphics for your blog posts, social media, and almost anything else that requires basic design. With tons of templates, custom graphics, and Guy Kawasaki’s endorsement, Canva is your best free option for great graphic design that you can do all by yourself.
Sometimes you need a few great looking photos to make your website or other marketing materials really stand out. Unsplash is a huge library of free photos from amazing photographers around the world. You can find photos of everything here — people, business, nature, food and anything in between. They’re all free and high-quality so it’s always my first stop when I need stock photos.
14. Facebook Business Manager
Facebook Business Manager lets you control your entire Facebook presence including ads, product catalogs, pixels, pages, users, and content from one easy to use platform.
One of the most basic but useful features is user and partner management which allows you to add users and outside agencies to multiple Facebook assets at different access levels. Every business should be using Facebook Business Manager.
15. Facebook Ads
Facebook is the the best paid marketing platform in the world right now. You can get your brand in front of over 2 billion people across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and the Audience Network (apps, publications, and websites). Not only do you have access to all these people, but you also can tell your story in many formats. You can use videos and images, capture leads from an ad, or dynamically show products from your store that users viewed 30 days ago. Facebook ads are hands-down the best way to get your brand in front of a highly targeted group of new customers.
Google search ads are another staple for almost every business that’s doing paid marketing. People are searching for your brand, product, or service so you need to ensure you’ll show up at the top of search results. The only way to guarantee that position is with paid ads. SEO takes months to push you to the first page if it even works at all. Adwords ads can get you to the top immediately.
17. Google Shopping Ads
Would you like your products to show up on the shopping tab on Google searches? Then you need to setup Google Shopping Ads. This can be a little complex to setup, but platforms like Shopify have many apps that make the setup simple. These are paid ads so you’ll need a Google Adwords account.
Hootsuite helps you manage all your social media in one place. It’s used by over 800 folks in the Fortune 1000, and Forrester named Hootsuite the leader in social media management solutions in 2017. It’s definitely an enterprise level tool but the smaller plans are suitable for small businesses and startups. It’s a great tool to track competitor brands, schedule your content across platforms, engage with followers, and manage your social media team.
Buffer lets you schedule your posts across Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, Twitter and Google. It’s used by over 8 million marketers and companies including Business Insider and the Denver Broncos. It has a browser extension to keep content curation simple and Pablo (mentioned above) to make designing graphics easy.
20. Post Planner
Like all the social media management tools mentioned so far, Post Planner lets you schedule posts. Additionally, it also surfaces high engagement articles for you to share to your audience. It’s a great tool if you grow your audience through content curation instead of content creation.
Put your content on autopilot with Quuu. It is the only tool that hand-curates content in over 500 interest categories, meaning you'll always have relevant posts to share with your audience on social media.
Your business needs a central location for all your files and Dropbox is the answer. For less than $10/month, you can store 1,000GB of data so you never lose a file again. You can share files or entire folders with employees and clients with a few clicks and later unshare them when they leave the company or you stop working together. You can also create expiring links for those times you need to share sensitive documents.
Word of mouth marketing is still one of the best channels for getting new customers because we trust social proof above all other sources. Tapfiliate makes it easy to let anyone promote your products and earn a commission. It’s great for online stores, courses, coaching, and any other product or service that people might recommend to their friends or followers.
All-in-one software solutions are rarely the best option when you’re getting started. Instead, get the best apps, software, and tools for your specific business type. Zapier lets you integrate all your business apps and create custom workflows so you can automate processes across your business. Zapier can connect over 1,100 apps and is used by big companies like Adobe and Spotify.
IFTTT helps you automate your life. Connect everything from Alexa to Instagram to smart home devices and social media. IFTTT is the simplest way to get get all your personal apps sharing data and automate processes in your life so you can focus on getting your business started.
Automating your marketing is cool. Autopilot makes automation easy. You can create a customer journey that includes personalized text messages, physical mailings, emails, and more. Customers hate generic marketing so use Autopilot to make your brand experience personal both online and offline.
27. Email Hunter
B2B sales is hard. Email Hunter makes it easier. Type the domain for the person who’s email you need and Email Hunter will return the common format for email addresses on that domain. You can search for an email address using a first name, last name, and domain or you can use it to verify the email addresses that you have in your list.
Sign up here: https://hunter.io/?via=elijah
28. Clearbit Connect
Clearbit Connect not only lets you find and verify email addresses but also adds tons of social data right in your inbox to the emails you already have. With a simple, free Chrome extension, you can see the face of and social media info for anyone who emails you.
HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing platform. It includes a CRM, marketing suite, and sales suite that keep all your customer history in one place to use across all your sales and marketing programs. The free starter plans have tons of features to get you off the ground so you can upgrade when you’re ready to really grow your business.
ConvertKit is email marketing designed for bloggers by bloggers. They focus on email deliverability and automation so your emails get to the inbox and have the right message at the right time. Unlike some other email marketing platforms, ConvertKit only charges based on the number of subscribers, not on the number of emails sent. This makes it a great option so you only pay more as your business grows regardless of the number of emails you send to your subscribers.
Sign Up here: https://mbsy.co/wDThD
Use Curated if you want to add sponsored content to your email newsletters. Curated lets you create newsletters by creating a curated library of content then adding it to your newsletter template. But it’s most powerful feature is the sponsored content tool which makes it easy to sell sponsored content slots for your newsletter. Advertisers can request a slot and submit content for you to approve and add to your newsletter in a few clicks.
Leadpages helps you generate leads and sales for your business on the web, in emails, via text messaging, and on social media. Its simple lead page builder is hard to beat and it integrates with everything from Facebook Ads to email marketing platforms.
Clickfunnels is an all-in-one sales funnel platform. It has an easy to use drag-and-drop page editor, allows you to process payments, and includes affiliate tools so anyone can get paid to promote your products and services. Fun Fact, they give out annual awards to users who make it into the “two comma club” by selling over $1,000,000 in products or services using Clickfunnels.
Hiring and managing freelancers from around the world is easy with Upwork. You can find people from anywhere to do almost anything and pay them by the hour or by the project. It takes minutes to post a project for free and you aren’t required to hire any of the applicants if none of them are a good fit. They also have a premium service that will hire freelancers for you from a vetted pool of the best freelancers on Upwork.
Fiverr is great for simple, quick tasks and projects when you don’t want to pay a lot of money. Freelancers turn their services into products so the pricing is simple and straightforward. Most tasks start at just $5 and are delivered with 24 to 48 hours.
Getting a merchant account from a bank to process payments can be a headache. Stripe can have you setup and ready to receive payments in minutes. It has an easy builder if you need to collect payments within your app or on your website. It powers payments for organizations big and small including Target, Lyft, UNICEF, and Instacart.
Square makes it easy to process payments for brick and mortar businesses. It’s used at coffee shops, restaurants, barbers, auto shops, and thousands of retailers across the country. You can turn any phone or tablet into a point-of-sale system by downloading the Square Register app and attaching the card reader. If you’ll need a point-of-sale system to run your business, you should definitely get Square.
Paypal is another staple for almost every business. Allowing your customers to pay with Paypal immediately builds trust due to Paypal’s top of the line fraud protection for both businesses and consumers. It can also be integrated with most other platforms where you’ll be selling and includes easy invoicing tools. Unlike Square and Stripe, you can also make payments from your Paypal account so it’s a great way to keep your business transactions separate from personal transactions until you get your business bank account.
Scheduling meetings is a huge headache with back and forth emails that seem to never end. Calendly makes the process simple with appointment booking that looks great on all devices. It integrates with your calendar so you’re never double-booked and can collect payments if you charge for meetings. They just rolled out a chrome extension that lets you easily add calendar availability to your emails.
41. Acuity Scheduling
If you have complex appointment scheduling with multiple people and resources then you should check out Acuity Scheduling. It makes appointment scheduling easy with calendar integration, resource management, automated emails, embeddable booking forms, and tons of other features. Fun fact: their entrepreneur plan is free if you build your website on Squarespace.
Managing shift workers is hard. Scheduling hours, tracking when employees trade shifts, calculating hours and submitting payments. When I Work solves all these problems. It includes features that let your employees trade shifts, check in to their shift based on their location, and request time off all from their mobile phones or computer. Managing shift workers is easy with When I Work. Oh and it’s free for up to 75 users.
43. Amazon Fulfillment
Shipping your products to customers is a headache. You need to buy boxes and packing materials, pack your products safely, then bring them to a shipping service like UPS, Fedex or the post office. Amazon Fulfillment takes care of all of this for you. You ship your products in bulk to Amazon and they will pick, pack, and ship items to your customers for a flat rate. Amazon Fulfillment integrates with e- commerce platforms like Shopify so you can focus on selling your products instead of fulfilling them.
Listen up designers, photographers, and musicians. Creating merchandise from your designs, photos, or brand sounds like a daunting task. Printful takes the headaches out of the process by printing your products as customers buy them. There are no minimum orders and they have tons of products including shirts, hats, leggings, canvas prints, and more! Printful is a full white label service so products are shipped to your customers under your brand name. You never have to buy inventory up-front and can focus completely on creating great designs and marketing your brand. The best features is their mockup generator which creates mockups of shirts, hats, and other products then pushes them directly to platforms like Shopify so you’re ready to sell in minutes. Printful is the easiest way to create an online store filled with products in just a few hours.
Gusto makes payroll and HR easy. With Gusto, you’re able to pay not only your full time employees but also your 1099 employees all from one simple platform. 70% of their customers spend 5 minutes or less on payroll and 93% of their customers say their platform is easier than traditional payroll providers. Check out Gusto if you hate doing payroll.
Some of the biggest tech companies use Zendesk to make their customer relationships memorable. With tons of features and integrations, Zendesk is a great choice if you have complex customer support requirements and need deep integrations and customization.
As a leading domain registrar that is accredited by ICANN, Namecheap has developed a strong market share since it was founded in 2000. Namecheap has provided over 4 million domain names to customers throughout the world. Although Namecheap’s core business is domain registry services, it provides additional services including web hosting, email hosting, security and cloud-based services.
In terms of size and market domination, GoDaddy is the largest domain registrar. In fact, GoDaddy has over 30 percent of the domain registry market share. This company has provided more than 59 million domain names registered throughout the world. GoDaddy provides a wide array of services including email aliases, online marketing tools, search engine optimization, privacy protection and sub domains.
I recommend Vistaprint as the best business card provider for small businesses. They offer over 10,000 templates and the option to easily design online yourself OR get help from a professional designer. They are also affordably priced with a good turnaround time.
Everything you need to run your business is right here. Track sales and expenses, pay employees, send invoices, and more.
Xero is beautiful online accounting software for small businesses. Sign in any time, anywhere, from any device. It is a great alternative to QuickBooks which can be a bit intimidating.
SmartLine, a service of GoDaddy, allows business owners to choose and set up a business phone number, then use the SmartLine mobile app on their cell phone to text, listen to their separate business voicemails, and take and place calls with that number. Calls are placed over your cell phone carrier’s network.
You’ll know whether incoming calls are business or personal calls, and the business phone number will show up on Caller ID when it’s used to text or to place a call. Voicemail greetings can be customized, plus business hours can be set. In addition, voicemails are transcribed so they can be read at a glance.
Sideline is a flexible solution for small business owners that uses the cell phones they already have. Business owners can choose a second number with a local area code or port in their existing number, and connect it with their cell phone, or that of an employee. It uses your cell phone carrier (and minutes) for better quality than some solutions that work over wifi. You’ll know which calls are business calls, and which are personal calls. In addition, when you place business calls using Sideline, your business number will be the one your customers see.
54. Capital One
If you’re serious about running and growing your small business, you’ll want to set up a business bank account as soon as possible so you can start managing your financesWith a strong lending program and low-cost business checking accounts, Capital One is one of the best banks for small business. But Capital One really sets itself apart by being totally devoted to small businesses. No two small businesses are alike, and Capital One recognizes that by tailoring their Spark Business program to meet various banking needs across various industries.
55. Chase Business Bank
Your small business will absolutely benefit from the well-established Chase lending program and their several low-cost business checking accounts. But we think Chase really shines with their small business credit card. In particular, Chase offers some of the most substantial cash back and rewards points earnings on business credit cards.
About the Author
Elijah J. Allen is the CEO of EJ Allen Marketing. He creates custom social media marketing plans for startups, small businesses, and corporations. Need help managing your online presence? Get in touch with Eli at www.EJAllenMarketing.com.
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