Here are some awesome tools that will indefinitely help your business. This list of the Top 15 Tools for Entrepreneurs will help anyone looking to start an E-commerce store, blog, website, or more efficient online business. Some of the tools are completely free, while others do cost money. However, you'll find that the money spent on these tools is well worth it!
If you are looking to start a blog or website for your business or personal reasons, I'd highly recommend using WordPress. This powerful platform is open-source software (meaning it is free and continuously updated by the WordPress community). WordPress allows anyone with basic computer skills to add pictures, photos, and content to a website. Creating a website is much like writing a document in a Word Processor program. Think Entrepreneurship.com and most blogs created these days are built using WordPress.
Making a website or blog look good can sometimes be a headache. You'll search through Themes for hours to try and find the perfect look for your site. I've used many free themes but ended up finding WooThemes, which was a recommendation from a friend. For $25 to $75 you get a professionally made theme that you can customize and make your own. The best part is that it looks great from the start. Our page is built using a WooThemes template and we couldn't be happier.
Bluehost is my company of choice to use for hosting and domain purchases. Primarily because of their one click WordPress Integration, but also because they are affordable and the service has been great. For between $4 to $6 per month your site will be live for the rest of the world to see. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
There are hundreds of great shopping carts to choose from, but I ended up finding Big Commerce about two years ago and have been thrilled with the results. If you are looking to start an E-commerce store quickly and easily I'd highly recommend using Big Commerce. I use Big Commerce to run my E-commerce store named: www.signsofthemountains.com. I simply used a default theme included with the software to create the website. It only costs $24.99 per month to get started and can be cancelled at any time. It makes it easy to sell anything you desire. If you have a hobby and want to turn it into a business I'd give Big Commerce a shot.
a) Gmail is the most powerful and easy to use email platform I've ever used. I have all the email addresses from my different businesses forwarded to it and automatically organized into labels. Whenever you send an email you have the ability to send out from any of your email addresses and to use a unique signature for each address you send from. Gmail integrates well with smartphones and is powerful.
b) Google Docs is my word processor of choice because everything is saved in the cloud and can easily be accessed by any computer, smartphone, or tablet device.
c) Rapportive is a great App that integrates with your Gmail Account. It automatically loads a photo of the contact you are emailing, their twitter feed, LinkedIn/Facebook Info, and more. It's a perfect way to easily learn more about your contacts, what they do for a living, and how to get in touch with them using social networks.
If you want a free local number to use for your business take a look at what Google Voice has to offer. The Google voice number forwards to any phone and allows you to distinguish between a call coming in on your cell phone as being a personal call or to the business google voice number. It works great and did I mention it is 100% free? Check out a quick video I did on it a couple months ago by clicking here.
Dropbox is an amazing program that allows you to easily store, transfer, and backup large files for business or personal use. It's been perfect for storing all of our companies marketing materials and allowing our designers, coders, and marketers access to the files. Everything is stored online and in one place.
Keyword research is an essential part of any online business or blog. In order to rank for search topics and increase traffic you'll want to do some research on keywords. Google does provide a free keyword search tool which does work well. The reason I like Market Samurai is because it saves me so much time and energy. Market Samurai analyzes and takes the guess work out of determining which keywords to target and the competition you will have. It's allowed me to rise quickly in the ranks for keywords Think Entrepreneurship is focusing on.
Quickbooks is certainly the accounting software of choice for entrepreneurs. Although “the books” are not my favorite part of running a business, Quickbooks makes it easy, whether you use a PC or Mac. I recently did a review on the latest Mac version of Quickbooks seen here. Quickbooks has an online version as well in case you need 100% mobility in using their software.
Grasshopper allows any small business to get an 800 number quickly and easily. An 800 number will make your company look more professional and legitimate. Your Grasshopper 800 number can be forwarded to as many phones or cell phones as needed, which makes it a great option for businesses with multiple employees working from the office or from the road. Click here to read a review by Think Entrepreneurship about Grasshopper.com 800 numbers.
While not everyone has the desire to work with graphics design and photos, Photoshop and Illustrator can save you time and money. Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator give you the ability to edit photos and artwork. There is a learning curve, but when little changes need to be made you can take care of them yourself. You'll also be able to save files in any format for when it comes time to send artwork to your printer, embroiderer, or to an advertising company.
Google analytics is a powerful and free tool used to track your website or blog's traffic. Google tracks just about everything you'd ever need to know about your sites visitors. It's almost scary! Anyhow, you can see where traffic is coming from, what keywords are driving traffic, demographics of your visitors, and all sorts of other information that is helpful in building your business and catering to your clients or customers.
What can't Craigslist be used for? That's the question! Craigslist is a gem for entrepreneurs. It is a great place to buy and sell, purchase used equipment for a business, advertise for a job opening, look for freelance work, or sell products and advertise services. You can even advertise real estate, apartment rentals, and the sale of businesses. Craigslist is without a question one of the most popular classifieds sites on the net.
Haro stands for: Help a Reporter out. It is essentially a community that brings reporters and sources together. Each day three emails are sent from HARO showing what stories reporters are looking for. If you believe you are an expert or good source for the topic you can email them with your credentials and tell them why you'd be the best person to talk with. Reporters of all sizes use HARO; including the WSJ, NY Times, Forbes Magazine, and Yahoo.com. Learn more about how HARO has helped a fellow blogging acquaintance to get written up on the front page of Yahoo.com and on FoxNews TV by checking out Jamie Tardy's blog named “Eventual Millionaire.”
Elance is an excellent resource to use for outsourcing various tasks that need to be completed. Elance allows you to post job descriptions for all sorts of work including graphics design, book keeping, web design, writing, and so on. Anyone in the world can use Elance which opens the doors to working internationally. I've hired contractors from the USA, Canada, London, India, and Australia. Learn more by reading a post I wrote about “Why Elance Rocks.”
I hope this list of Tools For Entrepreneurs is helpful for you and your business. They've all contributed to building my businesses. Please note that the links above are affiliate links for products and services I use and highly recommend. If you do end up using one of the recommendations at some point I'd really appreciate you clicking on the link above prior to purchasing, as Think Entrepreneurship will get a small commission for recommending products we believe in.
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