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Entrepreneurial tools to start using today

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Alexander

One of the questions I get all of the time is "What new 'toys' are out there for small business owners?"

The list I'm giving you is ever changing, however, they are proven and used by some of my most successful clients.

And most of them are FREE!

Productivity Tools

Moment - We spend over five hours a day on our phones. That's way too much! I personally use Moment, which is an app, that tells me how long I am on my phone, what I am using, and will even kick me off my phone if I go over a designated amount of time.

RescueTime - A Chrome extension that shows you how you spend your time and provides tools to help you be more productive.

Grammarly - Autocorrect has lowered our ability to actually spell anything. Grammarly takes that one step further by checking your spelling and grammar whenever you're typing, no matter what site you are using.

Google anything - All of the Google tools are very easy to use and implement, i.e., Calendar, Gmail, Drive, etc.

Audible - Smart people read books. If you don't have time to read, use Audible and begin listening to some real books.

And if you are looking for some books try:

  • The E-Myth, by Michael Gerber
  • Anything by Seth Godin, such as Purple Cow, Lynchpin, The Dip, or Tribes
  • The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy.
  • And a great book I just read on negotiation, Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. Really. Works!

Marketing

MailChimp - Email marketing is not dead. In fact, there are three times more email accounts than there are Facebook and Twitter accounts combined. MailChimp is a free email marketing service (up to 2,000 contacts), that lets you send your content directly to your customers and centers of influence. The key is sending information that is relevant and not boring.

CoSchedule Headline Analyzer - The best way to get those emails opened is to have a catchy headline. CoSchedule has an analyzer tool that will grade your headline and even give some suggestions for you.

Canva - If you need some eye catching graphics, but don't have the budget or time, Canva is a great tool for doing that. It's free and user friendly.

Unsplash and Pixabay - Both have high res and free images that you can use for marketing.

Facebooks ads - It's a pay-to-play game with Facebook. Organic reach for a business page is less than 5 percent, so you need to boost those posts and create actual Facebook ads. The good news is that Facebook knows everything about everybody, so you can get very targeted.

LinkedIn - If you are selling business-to-business, LinkedIn is a must. Just saying I don't understand how it works isn't an excuse anymore. Just think of it like Facebook without the cat videos.

YouTube - Okay, so YouTube is not new, but you are probably not using it either. It's the 2nd most searched site on planet Earth. Oh, and it's owned by Google. That's important for getting found on Google.

Hootsuite or Buffer - Either of these online tools allows you to schedule your social media posts to the most popular platforms.

Accounting

QuickBooks - QuickBooks is still the gold standard for small business accounting. There is of course online version, however, make sure your CPA is ready for you to make the switch.

Freshbooks - A cloud based accounting program that is getting more popular and is easy to use.

Charles Alexander is director of the Tennessee Small Business Center Development Center at Vol State.

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