Tech

27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn’t Know You Needed

by . January 24th, 2013

Everyone and their grandmother knows how Facebook, Twitter, Etsy, and Pinterest connect people who monetize their hobbies with the rest of the world. The thing is, a lot of non-so-serious entreps find themselves fumbling around with hastily put together solutions for their microbusiness – often without realizing things can be made so much simpler.

Here, we’ve collected a few tools we’ve personally found to actually  work and are scalable for smaller enterprises. After all, not everyone wants to be the next Steve Jobs, but darn near everyone hates working blind or sweating the small stuff.

Here are things that will save you time so you could do other stuff you find actually matters. This is NOT an exhaustive list. We’d love to hear suggestions from you.

1-4.) Free Google tools

google.com/analytics – You’ll need THIS at the very least. This free tool lets you keep track of your website’s performance.

27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

google.com/insights/search/ – easy-to-access data on what’s being searched, how often, from where.

 

docs.google.com – Need an easy way to share and transfer data? Google Docs - 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You NeededParanoid about losing important information? Google Docs is the gold standard for free cloud computing.

Google Voice - 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

google.com/voice This awesome free service lets you have a local phone number for free, and forwards the call to the phone of your choice. Even better, it distinguishes between personal and business calls.

 

5.) EtherPad

Etherpad - 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

etherpad.org – Sick of Google for some reason? Me too. Try this free alternative to Google Docs.

 6.) Market Samurai

Market Samurai - 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

marketsamurai.com – if the Google Keyword tool isn’t doing it well enough for you, give Market Samurai a try. This paid tool eliminates a lot of the guesswork needed, streamlining keyword research.

7.) Dropbox

Dropbox - 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

dropbox.com – This handy tool makes transfering  and copying large files a snap. Absolutely brilliant and simple – cloud computing at its finest. I actually personally use this myself.

8.) Freelancer.com

freelancer.com –  Need something done on a budget but don’t know how to do it?  Freelancer.com offers CHEAP outsourcing for design, SEO, app coding, content, and everything else that could be done online. But you do get what you pay for.

9.) ODesk

Odesk - 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

odesk.com – Hire freelancers, or create an entire team or department online. If it can be done online and you have the money, ODesk helps make it happen.

10.) ELance

Elance - Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

elance.com – This paid resource does a pretty good job of sorting the chaff from the wheat, as far as labor outsourcing goes. Expect better quality applicants than general.

11.) Craigslist

Craigslist - 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

craigslist.org –  Still going strong since the 90s, Craigslist is alternately a great and horrible place to buy and sell anything under the sun. Craiglist makes it simple to purchase equipment both used and unused, advertise job openings, buy and rent space, find freelancers, and notoriously – find love. Even the most cursory search is a path to hilarity, which should be great for keeping your morale up.

12.) Innocentive

Innocentive - 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

innocentive.com – Having trouble solving problems with your awesome ideas? Innocentive makes it easy to crowdsource brainpower. The site claims to “provide ideas and solutions to important business, social, policy, scientific, and technical challenges.”

 13.) Weebly

Weebly - 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

weebly.com – Do you know absolutely nothing about web design? Weebly has all the resources you need to get started. Maybe you should read our past articles on design to help you get a better grasp on things.

14.) Quirky

Quirky - 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

quirky.com – Connects you with people who could bring the most unconventional ideas to life. Usually worth it.

 15.) Quora

quora.com – A great place for finding answers to a lot of newbie entrepreneur questions.

16.) Entrepreneur Magazine

entrepreneur.com – For entrepreneurship news and inspiration, as well as thousands of tips and tricks, Entrepreneur.com remains a small biz standard.

17.) Small Business Administration

SBA - 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

sba.gov – If you’re ever in doubt about anything regarding incorporation laws, taxes, financial breaks, and other Federal policies, this is the first place to visit. Check if answers to your questions are here before paying a blood-sucking lawyer to tell you the same thing. No offense intended to blood-sucking lawyers. Really.

 18.) Help A Reporter (HARO)

Help a Reporter Out - 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

helpareporter.comBrings reporters and sources together. Each day three emails are sent from HARO showing what stories reporters are looking for. Email reporters with your credentials and explain why your product/event/company is interesting.

19.) Wishcan

Wishcan - 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

wishcan.com – make a wishlist, connect with other startups, and hope they pull through with your wishes. If nothing else, it’s great for networking.

20.) Hootsuite

Hootsuite- 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

hootsuite.com – Manage multiple social media profiles on different platforms simultaneously. Did we mention it’s free? Because it is.

21.) Mail Chimp

MailChimp- 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

mailchimp.com – Email marketing made super-simple. The service is free on up to 2,000 subscribers. Wins our award for cutest logo ever.

22.) Kickstarter

Kickstarter - 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

kickstarter.com – good for basic funding for small projects. You’ve probably seen this parodied elsewhere – a sign of its growing importance.

23.) Geckoboard

Geckoboard - 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

 

 

geckoboard.com – Geckoboard takes most of your disparate, messy entrepreneuring (is that even a word?) tools and organizes them in one coherent whole. Great for managers and business owners who have constant migraines.

24.) WordPress

wordpress.com –  We use it. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Makes blogging almost as easy as editing a Word document. 

 25.) Bluehost

Bluehost - 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

bluehost.com – For $4 to $6 per month, you can have some of the most stable webhosting available. Features one-button WordPress integration, so you could concentrate on actually designing your site, rather than all the technical details.

26.) Big Commerce

big commerce - 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

bigcommerce.com–  Not sure which checkout system to use? For only $24.99 a month (cancellable at any time) Big Commerce offers more support and features than most of its other peers. The interface is stupid-simple. Perfect for hobbyists-turned-microbusiness-owners.

27.) Grasshopper.com

Grasshopper - 27 Microbusiness Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

grasshopper.comNeed an 800 number? For a small fee Grasshopper can give you one, lending your business plenty of legitimacy. These 800 numbers can be forwarded to multiple phones and cell phones. Great news for businesses that see employees on the road.

 

We’re pretty sure we missed a heck of a lot of other tools. Suggestions/complaints/cupcakes are welcome.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Arthur Piccio manages YouTheEntrepreneur and has managed content for major players in the online printing industry. He was previously BizSugar's contributor of the week. His work has appeared multiple times on The New York Times' You're the Boss Small Business Blog. He enjoys guitar maintenance and reading up on history and psychology in his spare time.

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