The prospect of starting your own business is both exciting and terrifying. Thoughts of becoming your own boss, bringing your vision to life, and earning an income based on your innovative business idea can send exhilarating chills down your spine. But, at the same time, even the smallest of tasks—like creating a company name—are packed with so much pressure, they can cause the hair on your arm to raise in fear.
Fortunately for entrepreneurs, there are a vast wealth of tools available to you—both free and paid-for—that can make starting your business a lot less scary and a lot more smooth. Here are our top suggestions for a seamless startup launch!
Regardless of whether you’re starting a home business to run online or you plan to invest in your very own brick and mortar storefront, you’ll need a website—no ifs or buts about it. A company website is absolutely critical for establishing your online presence, sharing your company information (such as your operating hours, services provided, product descriptions, etc.), generating blog content, promoting your company culture, and attracting online traffic.
WordPress is the platform that powers 34% of websites because it’s rich with features and flexible in payment plans, which is why it gets our top vote.
Cost: Free basic account; monthly plans range from $3 – $45/month depending on your business needs.
As an entrepreneur on the verge on starting a small business, we don’t need to remind you about the tasks overflowing on your endless to-do list (apologies in advance if the mention made you cringe to think about!). But we have good news: the bountiful and convenient freelance market.
Don’t know how to set up a website? Hire a freelance web developer who can have it done in a day or less. Not enough time in your schedule to produce online blog content? Pay a freelance writer who knows how to create copy using best SEO practices for a better shot to rank high on Google. When you hire independent contractors, you won’t be responsible for expensive payroll taxes—and whatever money you do spend on wages will be well worth the time you save.
Our favorite tool for finding this labor is Fiverr, which is home to a wide array of freelancers in every sort of industry. If you’re low on cash flow and want to start your own business, you’ll be stoked to learn that bids on this platform start as low as $5!
3. Point of Sale Analytics
Regardless of whether your business will process payments on a retail POS system, an e-commerce payment gateway, or a mobile card reader, it needs to be backed with powerful analytics.
Good reporting tools are the lifeblood of any structure you decide use for your point of sale system; they provide you with accurate, up-to-date information that you need to make critical decisions about your company—finding the right software is one of the things that should be done before you start your company.
Why? Because data pulled from POS analytics gives you a snapshot of your financials, such as the cost of goods sold, how much money you have tied up in unsold inventory, who your best customers are, and so much more.
You can optimize your stock and inventory management by seeing what sells quickly and what sits around collecting dust. Down the road once you hire staff, you can use POS analytics to monitor the performance of your employees to see who deserves recognition or who might need additional training.
One of the best tools to analyze your point of sale data is Vend, which is designed for iPad, Mac, and PC. This analytic software boasts a ton of features that provide product-specific insights such as:
- Sales by product to identify trends
- Order history and the ability to make sophisticated product recommendations
- Returns, refunds, and exchanges
- Product affinity, or which items are frequently purchased together.
Cost: $99 – $129+/month We’re committed to providing you with all the important resources you need for a successful startup. Backed with these tools, you’ll be on your way to becoming a proud (and stress-free!) company owner.