Top Online Resources for Small Businesses

If you’re a new business just starting out in the digital world, there is a host of resources available to you to get you started in the world of the Internet. Everyone is online these days so if you’re struggling to get to grips with how you can make your mark in this competitive environment, using relevant information and tools can equip you for the ever-changing world of digital selling. Whether you’re offering products or services to customers, having an online presence is vital in targeting your ideal demographic. The web is a big place, so knowing where to start can be a daunting task. If you’re looking for some invaluable resources for specific areas of your business, then take a look at some the essential elements to focus on when starting your new venture.    

Get a Website

One of the most important things to do when you’re starting out is to get a decent website. There are a host of 'make your own' tools available but if you’re looking to create something that packs a punch then hiring people with the relevant skill set will pay dividends for the future. You may think of a website as just being a few pages with your products and services on but it is so much more than that. With the growing competition in all niches, staying ahead of the game is vital in making a success of your startup. Your website needs to be engaging, informative and has to have that magic touch to be found in search engine results. Of course, this doesn’t happen by magic but having an expert design your site will help to ensure it is fully optimized for all the things that Google and other search engines look at when pulling out results.  

Learn More

When you run your own business, you should never stop learning. No one can do everything, but if you’re willing to give it a try, you could learn a host of things just from resources on the web. There is everything you could possibly imagine available at your fingertips and a vast number of resources on hand to make your life easier. Challenging yourself to learn about different aspects of your business will help to develop and grow in the long term, both as a business owner and personally. You can take advantage of plenty of free and affordable online course from small business accounts to digital marketing tips. YouTube is another excellent resource for ‘how to’ videos and features a host of people that can talk you through processes of how they have made a success in their niche.

Another way to learn more about your business and how to run it is by connecting with others in the community. Building a solid network of local companies and authoritative figures will help to give you advice and could potentially open up further opportunities for partnership down the line.

Online Banking and Finance Tools

As everything is on the go these days, then your finances and banking should be too. If you want a clear picture of your money on a regular basis then having the latest apps and banking facilities will help give you the bigger picture. With this instant insight, you can make a decision quickly and see the money coming in more easily. With the range of finance and money management resources available, you can also incorporate reports and daily targets to help goals for the company. No matter how big or small your business is having this information to hand can help plan for all eventualities. You can track everything happening as it comes and goes from the accounts and plan larger strategies with the better information and forecasting tools.  

Email and Communication Tools

You probably check your emails on a constant basis especially with a new business taking over your time. Lots of small businesses now have people working for them all over the world so collaborating on projects might seem like a daunting task but having useful communication tools alongside regular email can bring everyone together. As a small team it might be more cost effective to have everyone working in their own space so getting everyone together is super easy with the range of software and apps available online. If you want to share documents quickly, Google Drive is an ideal place to do this. The documents you add here can be seen by whomever you want to share them with, and you can collaborate in real time on projects.

For anyone looking to communicate with co-workers immediately, group chat systems are a great way to do this. During your regular working hours, you can download a range of chat software options to ask questions, share ideas and have general chats all feeling like you are sitting next to the person. An excellent option for this is Slack as it is a favorite and fast way to communicate with people from across the globe. There are also plenty of other software options too including Google Hangouts and Skype to name a few.

Project Management Software and Organization Tools

Getting everyone working together in harmony can be a tricky task, but it is made easier if you have a useful productivity management tool in place from the outset. Project management software and organization tools are readily available online, and there are numerous choices from new and established businesses. Having this type of tool is great for everyone on the team to see processes from start to finish. Everyone working on tasks can update and comment plus ask for feedback all in the software. They are also customizable to your business structure or working environment and can be used for remote and in-house teams with ease.

Another way to promote optimum organization is to have an internal website developed with your external one. This website works in a similar way to organizational tools and offers document sharing, collaborations, personalized apps and communication for everyone in the business. The beauty of this application is that you can tailor it exactly to your needs and everyone can have input on how the internal website will be managed and implemented. You can learn more here about setting up the internal website in your business and developing something unique for your requirements.

Marketing Software and Tools

Once you have your website up and running, getting found on the web is another hurdle to face. At development stage, you should have a fully web-optimized site that is fast to upload and offers an effective customer journey through its pages but now its time to think about the content and authority it has compared to others in the same niche. Google is all about displaying the most relevant information available to its users, so making sure your website offers not only the products and services to customers but a valuable resource for both a local and national audience is a must.

There are heaps of tools and online resources to help you build an identity online from assisting with analyzing your backlinks to researching keywords so you can implement marketing strategies for organic reach. There is a host of free and paid for options depending on the needs of your business, but something as simple as Google’s Keyword Planner and Moz’s Open Site Explorer will give invaluable insight on a basic level.  

Outsourcing Options

If your business is only starting out, you might not have the capital to start employing people straight away, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need help in some way. There are some great options to utilize a host of people in the gig economy, and you can use their services as and when you need them. If you’re looking for something specialized to be completed there is a wealth of online resources to pick the best people for the job. Websites such as Crew and Upwork are used by millions of people worldwide, and you’ll be able to list your requirements and have people bid for the job to ensure you get the skills you need for completion of the project. This type of outsourcing is ideal if you need work completed quickly and on a budget plus there is no limit how much or little you want to work with people, as it is entirely on demand.

There is a Host of Other Online Resources to Think About Including:

•    Graphic design and image editing resources

•    Content marketing

•    Document transfer options

•    Logistics (if you ship products)

•    Analytics tools

•    Survey and User Testing tools

Using all of the above resources can help set you up for optimum productivity and long-term success. With the wealth of information on hand, it can be overwhelming knowing what choice is the best for you. An excellent way to select options includes asking others for their experiences and assessing reviews of particular software, or you could start up free trials to test the waters. Utilizing the best software and resources is ideal for fledgling businesses and can help organize everything from the ground up.

Guest PostsLogan Lenz