Starting an online business is hard. Building up a product or service that brings value to customers, creating a beautiful website about yourself and getting people to know about you are just three of the many things you have to cover off before you even close your first sale. On their own, they are already massive tasks. Put them together, and it is no wonder why while so many dream of starting businesses, many just put them off indefinitely.
Sure, there is real hard work to be done. But there are tools that make the process a lot easier. Today we are sharing eight of our favorite free tools that would help make the process easier and less stressful.
1. To keep track of your accounting & invoicing: Wave
Wave is a great tool that makes it easy to track the financial aspects of your business, from invoicing and payments to even human resource aspects like payroll. It is built specifically for small businesses with 9 or fewer employees and so it is customized to suit the specific needs of small companies.
2. To keep an eye on websites mentioning you or your competitors/industry: Google Alerts
Google Alerts is one of those venerable tools of the web that has been around for a long time, but nothing much seems to surpass its ease of use or ubiquity. It notifies you when there is a new website or article that references your selected keywords. It could be your company name, or competitors, or relevant keywords in your industry.
3. To stay on top of industry news: Feedly
Ever since Google shut down Google Reader, the team at Feedly quickly moved from strength to strength in providing an awesome RSS experience. After adding your favorite sites into the mix, it can either generate a reading list, or a magazine style method to browse your favorite sites.
4. To prevent silly grammar and spelling mistakes: Grammarly
Typos happen. They just do. They make your writing look unprofessional, whether it is a blog article, email or social media post. Grammarly has an advanced rule set (even more so than Microsoft Office) that alerts you whenever a spelling or a grammartical error occurs. It works in a browser, so it gives you the confidence to compose your writing in WordPress or email in Gmail.
5. For managing your social media schedule: Hootsuite
We are fans of batching tasks such as social media posting, and Hootsuite is one of the best social media management tools that help you to do so. But it doesn’t stop there, it also makes collaboration and tasks like listening and analytics much easier also.
6. For keeping your projects on track: Asana
When it comes to keeping tasks on track, Asana makes it easy to monitor your progress across different projects and tasks whether it be for an individual, or for your team. Created by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, it promises a much easier way to stay on top of your projects.
7. To automate your CRM Process: Hubspot CRM
If your business depends on nurturing leads to a point that they’re ready to buy before selling to them, a good CRM tool is critically important. Hubspot CRM helps automate many of the previously manual tasks. It syncs with Gmail and Outlook to more deeply integrate the tool with your existing workflows as well.
8. To make it easy for your audience to share your content: SumoMe Share
SumoMe Share takes the pain out of creating social sharing icons with its intuitive click and drag interface. It even gives you access to some analytics from the shares.