Business, Entrepreneur, Marketing, Start Up

13 Tools For Starting a Business and Staying on Track

Joshua
Prepare for everything to be far from perfect when starting your own business. The beauty of entrepreneurship is knowing success is entirely up to you.  Begin by solving a problem that you are passionate about, then find someone willing to pay you for it. Seth Godin said, “ Charge less than it’s worth and more than it costs you. Repeat.” Let’s dive in together.

Would you prefer the good or bad news first? We are fans of Practical Pessimism at Data Nerds so let’s start with the bad news.

Bad News

Good News

Now that you know the inner workings of Small Businesses in North America, here are a few suggestions of tools you can use to ensure your future success.

Tools For Starting a Business - Evernote

1. Evernote

Evernote is the workspace for your life’s work. Enough said. With Evernote you can organize everything from your business life to your home life and see it on all your devices. You can even share lists with friends or family when you don’t feel like picking up the groceries.
 Tools For Starting a Business - WordPress

2. WordPress

74,652,825 sites on the INTERWEB depend on WordPress. It receives even more unique visitors per month than Amazon.com, and that’s big. Around the globe, 17 new WordPress posts are published every second. While these stats can go on and on and on… let’s start with some useful beginner guides to WordPress.

Tools For Starting a Business - Square

 3. Payment Processors

This market is bound to be heavily disrupted with Apple pay and various other methods of smart phone payments. But in the mean time,here are my suggestions of which payment processor to use depending on your scenario.
If you are using a store front or physical location, try Square Payments.
For online payment processing, sign up with Stripe.
Tools For Starting a Business - Zendesk

4. Customer Service

Zendesk is the leading customer service platform in our eyes as we have used it for various projects. Zopim live chat is easily integrated with Zendesk and will allow you to immediately communicate with customers when they have questions.
Phone support should be handled in-house for as long as possible. Skype is a great tool and inexpensive when starting out.
Tools For Starting a Business - Upwork

5. Outsourcing

Ensure you do your research before hiring and trusting someone from any of these networks. Make sure you are protected as outsourcing is a live and learn experience. Here are 3 outsourcing networks we have used and a few articles on best practices.

Best Practices:

 Tools For Starting a Business - Competition

6. Competitor Research

Personally my favourite part of starting a new project is seeing what our new competitors are up to. These tools are all saved as bookmarks in our browsers for easy access everyday.
 Tools For Starting a Business - Social Media

7. Advertising Networks

You should hire Data Nerds for this (our only plug in this WHOLE article.) How else are you going to attract a larger audience other than advertising? Here’s a list of the biggest advertising networks and all of our personal favourites. Oh, and feel free to email me personally at josh@datanerds.com for any inquiries.
 Tools For Starting a Business - Social Media

8. Social Media

Here is a list of mandatory networks you should be a part of: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google +, Linked In, Reddit, Youtube, Vimeo. We’re sure you can think of a bunch more off the top of your head but focus on the top 5 when starting out. The best management tool for all of these is Hootsuite. There are also various tools to track viral content but we prefer Buzz Sumo.

Tools For Starting a Business - Crowdfunding

9. Crowdfunding

This is a great way to gain initial traction and prove your business idea. If you are looking for an international audience use Indiegogo. If you’re planning on strictly being in North America, use KickStarter. Here a couple of our favourite projects from each platform.

10. Team Management Tools

This industry is constantly evolving. Steward Butterfield recently launched Slack which has changed the internal communication of our team for the better. Asana is a task management tool which is also taking the industry by storm. Our personal favourite productivity tracker to see how much time is wasted during the day is Toggl. Another one of our favorite time management tools is Time Doctor. This is an excellent resource to track employee productivity with screenshot monitoring. You can see how much time your team members spend on actual work.
Tools For Starting a Business - Ad Tech

11. Business Meetings and Events

Conferences have opened our eyes to a broader world of marketing and successful companies. Expanding your network and meeting like minded people will always help your business. Here are a few of our favourites conferences in North America:
 

12. Scheduling

Become best friends with your calendar. This will allow you to avoid distraction and stay focused.
Here is a list of apps you can use to schedule meetings and keep your day on track.
 Tools For Starting a Business - CRM

13. CRM Solutions

Triangle has been helping us for years. What they do is help automate marketing campaigns, order management, payment processing, fulfillment, contact centre, and data services. There are 3 companies that I will recommend for beginners and two additional companies if you’re a bit more experienced with CRM.
It’s pretty safe to say that things are constantly evolving in the business world. For that reason, we are going to update this article every 2-3 months with the latest tools and apps to help you start and run your new business.
Feel free to comment below with your tips & tricks and share any awesome new tools that you use to help keep your business on track!

Published by:

Joshua

Joshua

In 2010 I became infatuated with pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, in 2012 I decided to quit my job and joined the “Entrepreneur Club”. Fast forward a couple years and now we have Data Nerds. We specialize in internet marketing, growth hacking, direct response, web development and design. We are always hiring geeks to join our team in Kelowna, BC. Email me at josh@datanerds.com.

80 comments on “13 Tools For Starting a Business and Staying on Track

    1. Thanks for letting us know about these other options, Emilie we actually hadn’t heard of them! We’re glad you’ve already found a couple apps that work great for you!

  1. These are great tools for starting a Business and staying on track number 2, 4, 5 and 8 is one of my favorites. I need to be more organized and a calendar helps. Customer support and Outsourcing two necessary tools we should not forget. Social media networking is a daily process.
    As a newcomer with limited funds advertising and hiring others is out of the questions at present I have to find creative ways to get the word out about my blog like any other small businessperson. Like you said preparing for anything and having the right tools can make or break your business.

    1. You hit the nail right on the head Patrice! It’s all about creativity in the first few years of starting a business – trying to get as much as you can for as little money! Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. These are all truly great tips for those who want to stay on track. I would think those meetings are a great way to network for sure.

  3. tips can be used when you are new or been around a bit. I love how you don’t hold back but come right on out and share the bad news as well as the good and then ways that you can do the best

  4. There is so much great information for starting your own business. I’m hoping to someday incorporate some type of product, so I’m glad I’m already on WordPress, and know a few other tools.

    1. It can take a while to get the hang of Ashleigh and you’re not the only one that feels this way…Maybe we should write a post about that next 🙂

  5. Great read thanks for sharing! These tools are a great help especially for freelancers online businesses. Time tracking tools are also important as it helps you and your employees keep track of your time and productivity. By using web-based time tracking tool from sites like https://www.clockspot.com/ you can micro manage your projects and be more effective with completing your tasks.

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