You’ve taken the leap of faith and have decided to start your own business; congratulations ! This article will help to outline five of the best tools to use when you’re getting started with your small business. However, when you enter the market you’re overwhelmed with information being thrown at you from every direction; what makes this article different? How do you decide where to start and what tools you need to get started? These are questions with answers that will vary from person to person but there is a few essential tools that almost every entrepreneur will use in their life time.
This article will keep it dead simple and won’t attempt to cram any paid solutions down your throat. When you’re embracing the hustle and starting your own venture try and keep it simple. You will have time to grow into advanced software solutions and other scaling options, but it’s best to start on a path of low friction so you can get the ball rolling.
This article also assumes you’ve chosen a hosting provider and are ready to get your website launched (If you’re not interested in E-Commerce, this probably isn’t the article for you)
WordPress is the most versatile and low cost platform to build your website on. It has all the functionality and ease of use when compared to other platforms such as Square Space or Wix, however the plugin store is massive in comparison. You can download thousands of plugins to your site easily without cost.
Another huge benefit to using WordPress is the ability to integrate WooCommerce as your E-Commerce platform. WooCommerce is free unlike Shopify or other store platforms so you can start your website without any fees or initial costs. WooCommerce also integrates with most popular plugins and payment processors such as Stripe and PayPal. If you’re a Cryptocurrency fiend like us at Geek0, you can also install custom plugins that will allow you to accept Bitcoin and other coins as payment. As we said before, it’s all about low friction when you’re starting out and you can have a full website ready to take sales done within hours if you decide to choose WordPress (Did we mention it’s free too?)
2. Google Suite
Did you think we weren’t going to include the amazing suite of tools that Google offers? If you didn’t think we were going to, you probably don’t realize the value it offers.
In our mastermind group, we often joke about all of our businesses being started inside of a Google Spreadsheet. The reality is that most of our businesses did start inside of Google Sheets and some are still functioning as that. Google Sheets offers all the great features as a program like Microsoft Excel, but is stored in the Google cloud. You can integrate a vast number of plugins as well for most advanced usage if you desire so. Don’t waste money on expensive products when Google offers everything you need for free.
Aside from their suite of office tools, we have to mention Google Analytics as well. Google Analytics allows you to track your customer traffic and how they behave on your website. With this information you can optimize your website with the data GA reports to you. Getting to your customers and how they interact is essential to a successful e-commerce business.
This one might be something you haven’t thought of, but YouTube is a brilliant platform for creating a strong customer funnel. This isn’t a requirement and might be a step outside your comfort zone, but creating evergreen content for your niche is a free way to get in front of your target audience for not cost. Depending on your product or service, this path is going to vary widely but no matter what you decide, make the content engaging for the community. If you’re going to live stream, answers questions. If you’re posting videos, make sure it generates a conversation in the comments. YouTube can take some time to marinate before they start showing your content in the search results, so plan ahead with this content as it will be a slow burn.
If you’re not already on Twitter, we will assume that you’ve been turned off by how it appears on the surface. On the surface is might appear to be random thoughts posted on a wall with no cohesive focus on what you should write, however this couldn’t be more opposite. As you grow your followers/following you’ll start to find yourself involved in a community and the Tweets become one giant dialogue surrounding your niche and the various topics. Information about major events or any business decision is usually announced first via Tweet.
Twitter is also one of the few places left that you can actually reach the person you want to speak to. The barrier between you and a top level CEO is minimal when you’re on Twitter. Some people have their accounts managed by a social media team, but for the most part everyone is accessible. In a way, Twitter is the modern version of an E-Mail inbox which used to be the only way to reach someone without going through a gatekeeper.
A strong community a solid foundation for success because if you have a loyal audience and do right by them, the pay off is massive. Reddit is host to every niche community you can possibly think of. We encourage all our readers to sign up on Reddit and get to the sub-Reddit most applicable to their niche or business. You will get a raw sample set of potential customers and people who know your product or business inside out. For example, if you were going to start selling Skateboard Wheels online, you would want to find a sub-Reddit of skateboarders who can speak to everything surrounding the culture. The value in this is perhaps something like plastic wheels versus rubber wheels is a make or break for some potential customers and knowing that preference could be huge for your new Skateboard store. This is a silly example of course, but you should get the idea of why Reddit is valuable.
Honorable Mention: PayPal
Everyone hates PayPal in the world of small business and so do we. However, we can’t forget where we made out first sale and that was inside PayPal which most entrepreneurs in 2019 would probably say is the home of their first sale too. PayPal integrates with every platform around the world and only requires a bank account to sign up with. They’re not technically free since they will rake you over the coals with fees, but PayPal is still the most simple option to getting paid.