Besides the Coffee Maker, today’s entrepreneur enjoys the benefits of many available online tools that make it easier to run a business regardless of the business model or industry. Some of the benefits I expect technology to provide me with are simplicity, location independence and communication.
Of course, there are many web-based tools available for different aspects of your business from accounting to production to sales. What I want to do is list those essential tools you can integrate no matter what kind of business you are about to launch or are already running. I hope you find them useful or if you want, comment about your own tools…
Very simple, Skype makes you global. Limitless communications. You already know it, of course, but there are a couple of things you might not know yet, first the new screen sharing capabilities are just off the hook, I have been using it to provide training. The other one is that after being acquired by eBay back in 2005, the company is back to private and promises to reinvent very soon and perhaps turn more social this time.
After being a heavy user of Office products for many years including email clients, I have turned web-based. Google Apps allows you to not only manage all your email needs but also your documents, tasks, and calendars, which means you are not storing anything in your hard drive, you can access it from any computer in the world and you don’t need to purchase or install any software. The only reason stopping me from using web email all these years was that I think having an email address that ends with “@hotmail.com” is just not professional and with Google Apps, you can set up your own domain, which means that email address ending with @domainname.com is delivered to Google.
What can I say about social media, at this point not having a Linkedin profile just hurts your credibility as an entrepreneur. I’m not saying it is the network you need to join in order to generate business, your target market may be living in another network, that’s why I rather talk about social media in general. No matter what business you are in, if you are a little creative you will be able to turn this new media into your new marketing machine, regardless of that means Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or all of them. Today’s entrepreneurs can’t afford to keep ignoring this.
If you want you can consider it social media too, who cares… I just wrote an article last week about why you need to use WordPress instead of a traditional website. If I had to give you a quick recap I would say that this platform allows you to own and manage your site at a cost that you can’t compare and it’s the perfect tool to integrate with your social media efforts. It is open-source, web-based and you don’t need the help of a webmaster. A must.
A lot of people think Paypal is to go shopping on eBay. This is a tool I recently integrate with my business and I can appreciate not having to deal with merchant accounts, gateways, SSL Certificates or any of that stuff. My clients are familiar with it so they don’t question the security around it, I can create and manage my own invoices or even set up recruiting payments and as I said about Skype, it makes you global baby…
A Quick Bonus List of Tools You Should Check Out
Firefox – Not just a browser, you can turn it into a marketing machine or many other things.
DimDim – Very cool webinar service and free for up to 20 users.
Google Analytics – Must have if you own a website or blog. Analyze your traffic.
Mint – Accounting. Just acquired by Intuit.
YouSendIt – Send files up to 100Mb for free.
So there you have them if you are using other online tools to help you run your business, share them in the comments.