small business startup tools

Small Business Startup Tools

You’ve decided to take the plunge and start a small business. You are officially a small business startup! You’re about to learn things you never knew you didn’t know. Every day a new challenge awaits you. It may be a marketing issue or a product issue. Maybe it’s operations or customer service related? It might be accounting or tax related. You never know.  Unfortunately, you can’t just send your issue over to the appropriate department… because you are the department. You are all the departments. So you need help. You’re in luck. Today, more than ever before, there are tools and applications for everything. At Fitli, we use or have used at least 20 different online tools and applications to run our business. Here are a few of my favorites:

1.  Hubspot (not really oriented to small business, but moving there)

Here is a tool that I use daily.  It’s expensive for a small business, but it’s really a combination of many different tools from email marketing, website design, and landing pages to sales and lead tracking and management with much more in between. Every step of our customers lifecycle is updated in Hubspot. From demo to sign up to support and engagement, Hubspot helps manage and automate the effort.

2.  QuickBooks (can you be a small business and not use QB?)

When it comes to keeping track of your business, one tool you simply cannot live without is QuickBooks. Of course you should use QuickBooks for accounting, but it’s also a great tool for invoicing.  With just a few clicks, I am able to generate a detailed invoice for services rendered and send it directly to our customers.  I can also give them the option to pay via credit card or ACH.  And guess what, ACH is free.  So, if your customer pays via ACH, you keep an additional 3% of your sale.  Very cool!

3.  Slack (easy way to stay connected with your team)

We use different tools for communication including Hubspot, Uberconference, and Gmail, but Slack is great because it keeps our team instantly connected as if we are sitting in the same office… even though we are spread all over the country.  Instant messaging between individuals is great, but it’s also nice to be able to share team and company accomplishments in wider forums.  Oh, and it’s Free!

4.  Upwork (this is the ultimate tool for a small business)

One of the biggest challenges is finding resources.  You want the right person for a job and you don’t want to hire a full time employee.  Upwork (along with other options like Fiverr) solve this problem.  You can find somebody to do anything on one of these sites and for any price.  Need a brochure designed?  Or how about some data collection? Video editing?  Yes, yes, and yes.

5.  Zapier (the app to rule all apps)

If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, you will understand when I say this is the “app to rule all apps”.  If you need to link up and share data between any of the apps I have mentioned and thousands more, you use Zapier.  It is extremely powerful.  When somebody views a proposal, we get an update on Slack.  When somebody signs up for a demo, I get an update on Slack and they get added to Hubspot. Those are just a couple examples of what you can do.  The sky is the limit.

6.  Fitli (our very own small business startup)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our own product.  For a very affordable price, Fitli does quite a lot.  From managing your classes and appointments to billing your clients for packages and memberships.  Fitli is a simple and easy to use tool for small fitness and wellness businesses that want to focus on what they love.  Read more at our product page.

Are you a small business startup?

We’d love to hear your perspective. As a small business startup, there are thousands of free and low cost tools available for every situation.  Just do a quick Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo search to find them. Most have a free trial that enable you to test drive the software for a limited time or a “fremium” version that gives you access to some functionality for free. Let us know what you think about the applications listed above or if you find something pretty awesome.