Business owners aren’t successful because they think about building a business -- they’re successful because they don’t stop until they get things done. And when it comes to getting things done, mental tenacity and motivation are important, but having the right tools and resources can make a huge difference as well.
The following tools and resources are ones you’ll definitely want to have on hand when you’re ready to build your business. From huge curated directories to backup software to keep your company safe, these resources will help your business launch successfully and keep going strong into 2015 and beyond.
1. Startup Stash
Ever wish that somebody would take every useful small business tool and software system out there and put them into one clearly organized page? Look no further than Startup Stash, a huge, curated directory with hundreds of helpful tools and software programs to sort through. Organized in easy-to-understand categories such Naming, Marketing, Analytics and Customer Support, you’ll never be at a loss for options when you use this resource.
2. MailChimp or Aweber
Email marketing is a must for small businesses, so whether you decide to go with Mailchimp or Aweber (both of which are similar and have plenty of loyal followers), you’ll find the support needed to build a list, keep it fresh and use it regularly. The average marketer receives a return of $44.25 for every $1 spent on email marketing, so pick one of these options and get started right away.
3. Basecamp or Asana
When it comes to project management needs, you won’t go wrong with either Basecamp or Asana. Both programs offer in-app storage, the ability to sync with external providers such as Google Docs and Dropbox, and notification features that will keep your team members up to date on the status of different projects. Differences between the two are largely aesthetic in nature, so give both a try before committing your staff to one program over another.
4. Google Analytics
There no reason to have a website and an online marketing campaign if you aren’t able to track how well they’re performing. Google Analytics is a great, free tool that will help you understand who your audience is and how they behave, while also giving you the features needed to analyze and test your website and landing pages. Once installed, take advantage of the program’s additional features that let you review your site’s sales and conversions performance.
5. Seth Godin’s Startup School
Seth Godin is well known throughout the startup community for his business and marketing acumen, and now you can learn directly from his experiences with his Startup School. Through this program, Godin has created a 15-episode audio series covering everything from how to create scarcity to helping your ideas travel through marketing and social media. If you're running a new startup, you can’t miss this free treasure trove of information from one of the biggest names in entrepreneurship.
6. Moz Learn
Today’s business success isn’t about traditional outbound advertising, such as television ads or telemarketing. If you’re going to build a deep customer base today, you’ll need to focus on inbound marketing. Techniques such as blogging, social media outreach and link building will help you create relationships with customers that will encourage them to buy from you and share your message and products with others. Moz Learn has everything you need to learn how to create these successful inbound marketing campaigns.
This oddly-named resource is an amazing list of funding opportunities, especially accelerator programs. F6s also provides a link to a Facebook group for founders, startups and angels, which can be a great place to begin your networking efforts. The key columns to focus on in F6s are Fundraise and Invest, as well as Programs and Funds. While you’ll still need to do some of your own research, having everything in one place makes this process much easier.
Another great way to get your startup noticed by investors is to join AngelList. Not only can your company get noticed here, you can also review what other startups are doing and whether they’re receiving any interest from the venture capitalists and angels you’re going after. Taking all of this information into account will help you better position your own business for fundraising success.
All of these tools and resources will help you launch your startup, but remember that the key to business success isn’t more information -- it’s more action. Don’t just gather data -- step out and get started. You’ll learn so much more by trying (even if you fail) than you ever will just reading.