Starting your own company is hard enough as it is, let alone when you consider how many things small business owners need to be good at. From accounting, legal and HR to marketing, design and literal heavy lifting – an entrepreneur has to do it all.
The very range of these responsibilities is what make people think twice about starting their own business. But, despite the all the struggles and hardships, being your own boss is still worth it. Especially when you’ve got a few tips and tricks up your sleeve to make the gruelling process of running your own company a tad easier.
Every small business owner could use an extra set of hands. Or two. Or ten. However, hiring dozens of people is usually financially impossible for small startups and entrepreneurs. And that’s where these apps and tools come to play.
Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or a novice to the world of startups, these 10 tools will make running a business a much, much easier task.
Here are the 10 tools you should start using:
10 – SITE123
When it comes to running a small business, establishing an online presence is a must. It’s the only way you can compete with the corporate giants and other household names.
As you’re probably not looking to spend hundreds or even thousands of extra dollars in the early stages of your business, building a website from scratch is absolutely out of the question. It’s in your best interest to get your company online as soon as possible and to do that, we suggest doing it on a site building platform.
Our choice is SITE123 – an amazing, free website builder mainly focused on small business owners and small companies. We love it because it’s the fastest and easiest website builder you can find, and it still allows you to completely customise the look and layout of your web page.
Its modular design and user-friendly interface make it a favourite among solopreneurs and startups, and it’s seamless integration with a variety of third-party apps and tools make it a perfect starting point for growing a small business.
9 – Canva
Being a small business owner requires you to do many different things at once in an extremely tight time frame. One of those things is handling the design aspect of your company.
Canva is an amazing tool that will help you bring out the designer in you. It’s a free, easy to use and intuitive platform that allows you to create infographics, blog titles, ads, e-book covers, invitations, social media posts and ads, as well as logos and posters.
Apart from being so fun and easy to use, we love Canva because of its incredible library of fonts, icons, shapes, layouts and images. It’s also the best design tool you can use to create social media ad campaigns because it allows you to create teams so that multiple people can work on the same design.
8 – HotJar
Hotjar is an analytics map we couldn’t recommend more.
As a small business owner, you have to be aware of the fact that the future of your company lies in how well you know your customers and the way you interact with them. To do that, you need to know who they are, what they want, what their online behaviour and their shopping habits look like.
Hotjar uses heat-map technology that allows you to see how visitors to your website behave and how they interact with your content – what they’re focused at the most, where they’re clicking and where they lose interest. All of that is invaluable information you can use to boost engagement and increase your sales.
7 – JivoChat
Knowing what your visitors are up to is great for tweaking the design and layout of your website to increase engagement. Having all that data will create a user-centric website that’s a pleasure to browse.
However, no matter how user-friendly your website is, issues and questions are bound to occur on a daily basis. Gathering data about bugs and issues after they happen won’t do you much good when it comes to prompt customer service. What you need is an easy and convenient way to communicate with your clients, answer any questions they might have and resolve issues as they happen.
That’s where JivoChat steps in. It’s a live chat app that integrates with your website that allows you to have an easy and direct way to communicate with your customers. We love JivoChat because it’s extremely intuitive to use, and requires no coding or developing skills to be integrated into any existing website.
JivoChat offers proactive invitations, an amazing feature that allows you to initiate the conversation with your client. And as the JivoChat widget is so beautifully designed and unintrusive, these invitations will engage leaving customers without being too pushy.
Another great thing about JivoChat is that it works on all platforms – desktop (Windows and Mac OS) and mobile (both iOS and Android). It also integrates perfectly with your SITE123 website, which is great if you’ve built your website using their platform.
6 – Privy
While having a direct communication channel to your visitors is extremely useful, a live chat alone isn’t enough to convert them into paying customers. To do that, you need a clever, targeted marketing campaign that’s going to hit the jackpot every time.
Sounds too complicated? Well, it’s because it really is complicated. You’d need two dozens seasoned advertising experts working round the clock to provide you with that grade of marketing.
That is unless you’re using Privy. Privy is an on-site customer acquisition tool that will do wonders for your sales. It can be integrated with any website and website building platform, enabling you to show relevant, personalized messages to different visitors.
That means you can target your customers based on their location, their exit intent (whether they were looking to buy something or just browsing), their gender, age, device type, etc.
Why we love Privy? Well, apart from everything mentioned above, what we find incredibly useful when it comes to this app is that it allows you set up automated tests to see how the popups you’ve created will affect your traffic rate. So, no hit and miss campaigns, no design, coding or developing skills necessary.
5 – AddThis
When it comes to keeping visitors to your website engaged, people always say that content is king. While that statement isn’t entirely wrong, it’s not the content who’s king – it’s how shareable it is.
To make your web content shareable, you’d need to incorporate appropriate buttons and links to each and every piece of content – blog posts, articles, images, product descriptions, online stores, etc. However, actually doing that could take weeks, and even months depending on how much content you’ve got.
Which is why we can’t recommend AddThis enough. AddThis is a content management software that allows you to integrate share and follow buttons to your website, as well as highlighting your most popular content through the “recent posts” widget.
Apart from enabling you to add gorgeous, customizable buttons to your posts, AddThis is also an amazing list building tool. You can build your email subscriber list and use their link promotion feature to promote the right page at the right time to the right customers.
4 – Selz
Having a mile long subscriber list and tons of actively engaged visitors means that you have to up your selling game. Providing your customers with a smooth and seamless shopping experience, as well as quick and easy checkout, is what will set your business apart from the competition.
To do that, you can join the winning team of more than 100,000 entrepreneurs worldwide and use Selz to set up your online store.
You can pick out a custom domain name and set up your store directly on the Selz platform. However, to maximize engagement on your website, we suggest you embed a Selz widget or a whole Selz online store to your company’s web page.
The ability to completely customize every aspect of your online store is what we love most about Selz. It also comes with its own integrated payment processing system, saving you the trouble of having to set up one separately. The basic Selz package is free, although it only enables you to add 5 items to your store. If you’re planning on selling more than that, we suggest upgrading to the lite package for just $11.50 per month.
3 – Donate.ly
Any business endeavour that’s focused on manufacturing and selling products can’t happen without a sizable financial investment. Securing bank loans is often impossible for startups and solopreneurs, so many of these young companies turn to crowdfunding.
Having customers fund your business directly is a fantastic way to get your company off the ground and start manufacturing without having to face the pressure of a bank loan.
So, when it comes to donating money online, look no further than Donately. Donately is an incredible donation software you can add to your website. It’s an extremely responsive widget that seamlessly integrates with SITE123, as well as other website building platforms.
The incredibly small processing fee Donately charges is why it’s also a favourite among non-profits, charities, churches and other social good organizations.
2 – Tockify
No matter what industry you’re in, and what the main goal of your company is, your business is bound to require organizing certain events, celebrations, talks, conferences, presentations, etc.
Inviting each and every one of your subscribed customers is a Sisyphean task – there’s no point or an end to it.
So, if you’re looking for a way to inform your customers about any impending events, sales or presentations, you should look no further than Tockify. It’s an amazing web calendar tool that integrates perfectly with any website.
With a completely customizable look, three main layouts to choose from (pinboard, agenda and monthly), as well as the ability to switch to full screen, it’s no wonder why Tockify is incredibly popular among small business owners.
Apart from its ability to be customized to match the theme of your website, what we love about this web calendar is the fact that it’s free. While you only get the few basic features and only the agenda layout, it’s more than enough to fit any event organizing needs of a growing business.
1 – Huzzaz
Although this tool might seem a bit disconnected from all of the previously mentioned one, this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Huzzaz.
Huzzaz is an online platform that enables users to create and manage video collections and embed them to their website. While it’s a relatively new app on the market, more than 5,000 websites already use Huzzaz as their primary means of embedding and streaming videos.
Having a website with a video gallery is a fantastic way to grab the attention of your customers. Out of all the media, video is the most engaging one, and it can be a fantastic way for you to present your products or services.
What we love about Huzzaz is the fact that it’s not just a simple video gallery. It’s also a powerful analytics app, enabling you to track the behavior of your customers and find out which videos get the most views. After presenting you with raw data, Huzzaz will help you with increasing engagement on your entire website or a particular page.
Any tool that helps you get insight into what your customers are up to on your website is a must-have addition to your business. So, make sure Huzzaz joins your roster of useful startup tools.
We know how stressful, tiring and sleep-depriving starting your own company can be. The number of things a small business owner has to be good at is enough to make you think twice about jumping into entrepreneurial waters.
However, as anybody who’s their own boss will tell you – it’s all worth it in the end. While we stand by that statement, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get a little help along the way.
These 10 tools are a life savior for any starting business. No matter if you work alone, or have a trusting team behind you, a little help is bound to go a long way.