by Donna Amos | Featured Contributor
The path to success for new business owners getting started without the benefit of a staff and a large startup budget is paved with tools designed to make solopreneurs productive. Given that time and money are always highly-prized commodities in short supply for most entrepreneurs, accessing effective business tools can mean the difference between success and failure.
WiseIntro offers entrepreneurs a free solution for establishing a professionally- designed, online presence to capture leads and promote business. Considering that solopreneurs can’t always afford the steep fees of graphic artists, WiseIntro offers viable and flexible design solutions that also allow business owners to add paid features in the future as needed.
Advertised as the polite way to ask for your customer’s email address, Sleeknote promises to convert website visitors into subscribers in a user-friendly way that promises not to “turn-off” future paying customers. As the lifeblood of any business, solopreneurs need an effective and easy way to capture lead information without interfering with the browsing experience. Notably, Sleeknote has also earned positive reviews for how well it integrates with other software.
- HubSpot Marketing Hub
GetApp highly recommends HubSpot Marketing Hub as an inbound marketing platform. Earning 4.5 stars out of 5, reviewers sing the praises of this tool for managing emails, web chat, forms, landing pages and social media. Considering that HubSpot provides a comprehensive resource targeted at managing content marketing, automation. analytics, social media and testing efforts, it is easy to understand why 97% of users recommended it.
As a leader in the email business since 2001, Mailchimp provides solopreneurs with the ability to build mailing lists. Additionally, this marketing resource uses custom templates to create eye-catching designs. For analytical purposes, timely performance reports give business owners the data necessary to manage email and newsletter campaigns effectively.
- Adobe Spark
Adobe Spark offers the first-rate graphics necessary to engage hungry social media audiences that frequent popular platforms. Using templates designed to impress increases response. As an extra bonus, this service is free. Additionally, amateurs interested in making videos can use Adobe Spark to jump on this high-traffic producing bandwagon to make quality visuals to compete with big-budget, industry leaders.
- QuickBooks Online
For a small monthly fee from about $12.50 to $75 a month, depending on the services required, solopreneurs can utilize this extensive bookkeeping tool that is like having an accounting staff onsite and oncall. Logging expenses and keeping up with receipts has never been so easy. As if that’s not enough, QuickBooks Online also invoices clients and transfers money between your bank accounts as needed at no additonal cost.
Square has earned a lot of buzz recently from both solopreneurs and managers. Restaurants and retailers rave about how easy this payment processor makes their life. By charging no montly fee without any minimum requirements, Square has arrived as a contender in the payment processing industry.
Excellent cash flow management is crucial for the health of any small business. Using FreshBooks to automate billing and collect payments can make a significant difference in operational efficiencies. By using this type of financial management tool, solopreneurs can track expenses from their PC or mobile device to stay current. As a practical and versatile financial tool, FreshBooks is compatible with PCs, Android and iOS devices.
As a giant in the online credit card processing industry, PayPal is an easy-to-use solution that is accessible almost immediately. Noteworthy benefits that solopreneurs value include no requirement for a contract and no termination fees charged.
Since merchant funds are made available immediately upon receipt, business owners don’t have to wait for their hard-earned money which is crucial for cash flow. PayPal is highly recommended for companies that need to process a large volume of low-ticket transactions at an affordable cost.
Administrative and Operational Resources
There are few tasks more important to a solopreneur than scheduling and managing their most precious asset, their time. Forbes publishes the high praise voiced by Lauren Rosenthal’s recommendation to use Calendly as a practical scheduling tool.
This time-management asset manages the back and forth waste of time that is common when trying to tie down meetings in a busy world. The way Calendly works is that professionals interested in setting up a meeting can view availability, then schedule an open time based on a schedule that is updated in real-time, automatically.
NerdWallet recommends Dropbox as an excellent file management option. This popular file sharing and storage solution with 500 million users, allows solopreneurs the ability to easily share and store files in the cloud. Dropbox is especially practical for business owners who work with telecommuters.
An integral part of typical business operations often includes the necessity for legal agreements. Shake provides on-the-spot contracts for loans, non-disclosure agreements, contractor or freelance forms, and other necessary and common legal paperwork. Shake saves time and money, allowing business owners to skip unnecessary meetings with attorneys over typical, legal agreements that don’t require special legal oversight.
One of the most popular alternatives to in-person meetings is Zoom. In most cases, it is difficult to justify the time it takes to commute, park and meet in-person. Whether you are setting up a training session with employeees, a sales meeting, a marketing event or a webinar, Zoom delivers an affordable solution.
The technology is state-of-the-art and uses video, collaboration-enabled conference rooms and voice marketplace to ensure clients have what they need for internal and external communication success. Remarkably, the system can accommodate as many as 10,000 viewers and 1,000 video participants which is adequate for most solopreneurs.
Business decisions have the power to either make solopreneurs productive or render them compromised and ineffectual. Deciding on the best tools necessary to perform crucial business functions is a top priority for any prudent business owner.
Donna Amos is passionate about helping Solopreneurs grow their business using everything digital and publishing. She has 30 years experience in sales and marketing for small business. She believes the best gift you can give another is a word of encouragement.