23 Essential Tools For Starting A Profitable Online Business On A Shoestring Budget
The success of any business both online or offline is determined by how effective and efficient it can be all year round.
Building, growing and sustaining any business can be achieved by putting in place the right structure that can function either manually or on autopilot, to achieve such you need the right tools.
Most times the major and significant difference between a thriving and struggling business is the application relevant tools, am going to show you the 23 most essential tools I used to grow my business and that of my clients.
Essential Tools For Profitable Online Business.
For better understanding and ease of use am going to group them into categories.
A. Website Development
To create a web presence for your business you would need the following tools and applications
Namecheap is a domain registrar that helps to secure a domain name for your business, a domain name is simply a name that differentiate your web address e.g. website from others on the internet, it like a an offline office or business address, example of a domain name is www.myprofitablebusiness.com
You need a domain name your URL (Unique Resource Locator) how people can locate your business on the internet, it is unique to you or your brand only.
Bluehost is a hosting company that helps to store your web files and properties on a webserver, it simple means a place to store all your online business document.
After you’ve registered your domain name, next step is to connect the name to a webserver, that is where bluehost comes handy, they have one of the most affordable plans you can choose from, they are very reliable and have a good customer care service.
I personally use wordpress to build and develop almost all of my webpages, the good thing about wordpress is that you can DIY (Do-It-Yourself) even without a programming knowledge or a university/college degree in any computer related subject.
WordPress provides you with ready-made themes and plugins you can easily adapt in your business to achieve whatever website task you can ever imagine.
Tnstabuilder is a premium wordpress plugin which helps to quickly create landing pages, squeeze pages in WordPress, with the help of drag and drop form builder.
I personally use instabuilder to create all my business marketing and sales funnel.
Funnels are marketing and sales machines that allow your online business to generate leads and sales on autopilot.
Shopify is a quick and easy to setup platform that provides everything you need to start selling online today.
If you need to create an online shop (store) to display your wide range of products without going through the stress of securing a deal with a payment processing company and building an ecommerce site from scratch, then shopify is what you need.
B. Design and Branding
Design and branding are key ingredient to the success of any business, it gives people the feel of your business even before any transaction is done, the perceive value of your business is determined by using the tools available to further boost your credibility and influence.
Canva is a ready made tool for design and branding for your business, it provides you with loads of template for different designs and branding you can ever imagine.
Canva offers you wide range of design you can use in your business both for branding, marketing and even sales, it also offers you different font type and styles to give your business that professional feel, the best thing about this tool, is that you can use it for free.
Photoshop is a tool that provides you the opportunity to creative with image designs, picture editing and modification, with photoshop you can practical achieve anything in design.
If you need a custom logo for your business that photoshop is your goto tool.
Stocksnap provides you clean, clear and high quality photos.
The beauty of this tool is that you can get any photo from different category you can think of and they are all free to adapt to any of your business needs.
TailorBrands provides you a unique and beautiful logo.
We all agree that logo gives any business a unique touch, style that make it resonate in the sight of business, great brands are most times remembered for their unique logo with is mostly associate with the brand.
If you need a unique and beautiful logo for you business, then you have the right tool.
C. Marketing and Advertising
Building the best and most valuable business is not enough when people don’t know you exist, your business needs to reach out to your target audience (prospects and customers) for it to grow, survive and most importantly become more profitable.
You need to implement different marketing and advertising techniques and strategies to achieve the goals and objectives of the business.
Convertkit provides you with the automations and email marketing tools you need to grow your blog and business.
The lifeblood of every business is the customers or clients base of the business, for any business to thrive in a crowded marketplace, there must be constant and consistent interaction with both the prospects and customers.
MailChimp provides marketing automation for businesses.
With mailchimp you can send beautiful emails, connect your e-commerce store, advertise, and build your brand.
12. Google AdWords Keyword Planner
Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a keyword research tool that allows you to find the right keywords to target for display ads, search ads, video ads, and app ads.
This is a tool you can’t ignore, with this tool you can validate your business ideas and adapt to ideas of other businesses, you can double check or cross check trending products or services you can implement in your business.
BuzzSumo is a tool that helps businesses understand social footprint and helps develop smarter content strategies.
Every business needs smarter content strategies to out wit it competitors, this tool helps your business to instantly identify what content is currently working well in your niche (market).
14. Facebook Marketing (advertisement)
Facebook is one of the most efficient ways to advertise your business online.
Marketing on Facebook can help you efficiently reach all of the people who matter most to your business, you can raise awareness, drive demand and boost sales using this tool.
Over a billion people use facebook daily, a fraction of them are you potential customers waiting to do business with your brand.
15. Google Adwords (advertisement)
Google provides targeted PPC (pay-per-click) marketing for your business.
Anytime you use google search you discover displayed ads at the top of the search result, these are ads of businesses related to the keyword(s) searched for. the advertisers (business) on only pay when they click.
D. Productivity, Planning and Communication
For effectiveness and efficiency in your business, you need tools for planning, productivity, organizing and communication.
Trello is a flexible and easy to use project management application, it helps you keep track of virtually everything from your workplace (space).
If you need to keep track and monitor different or specific project within your workspace with either yourself or your team members then trello is the key, it makes the workflow easy to break down to the most minute details for easy execution.
17. Google Drive
Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service, users can store files in the cloud, synchronize files across devices, and share file to anyone.
In your business you would not always be with your device (pc, mac, mobile etc), but anywhere you go, you can also have access to all your business files store on google drive.
It can also serve as file backup for your photos, videos, files and many more. when you are on vacation and need a project to be executed in your absence, google drive can bail you out of unnecessary stress, just share the document with another person to execute the task, while you continue enjoying your holiday.
Skype is an online communication application that provides video chat and voice calls between computers, tablets, mobile devices.
When you near business beyond borders, then skype commes to mind, in your business you would need to communicate with business partners, clients and even family members from anywhere.
It can be used for conference call both video and audio chat.
E. Invoicing & Payment Gateway
Every business at any time needs to issue invoice to its clients and also be able to accept payment for products and services rendered, you need a seemless invoicing portal and payment gate way that allows you to issue invoice and accept payment from clients anywhere in the world.
Payoneer operates a global payout platform that provides online money transfer and digital payment services.
Whether you are a business owner, professional or freelancer, Payoneer offers you multiple ways to get paid by international clients and global marketplaces. Their clients includes Airbnb, Amazon, Fiverr, Getty images, Upworks etc.
They currently have over 4 million users in more than 200 countries with over 150 currencies.
Paypal is an online payments system that supports online money transfers.
Paypal offers a fast and safe way to send money, receive payment and make payment online without the need to reveal financial information or card details to the merchant, protecting users against fraud.
All you need to start receiving and making payment online is your primary email address.
2Checkout is a payment gateway that helps you accept credit cards, PayPal and debit cards.
2Checkout allows merchants issue invoice and also help them maximize their online sales with the ability to adapt to local currencies, languages and payment methods.
If your business needs to issue invoice and also accept cedit and debit card payment from clients worldwide even in their local currencies with ease, then you may need to consider 2checkout.
F. Social Media Management
Every serious business needs a social media presence to thrive in this present age and time.
Social media presence is more than having a social media account (almost every business does) You need to have both a visible and influencial footprints spread across targetted social media platforms.
Social media management tool makes creating, scheduling content and engaging with followers and community (tribe) members easier and almost on autopilot.
Hootsuite is a social media management platform for managing multiple social media platforms.
Hootsuite allows you post and schedule posts from your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts all from one dashboard.
It enhance your multiple social media profiles and help you measure your campaign results.
Buffer is a web and mobile application designed to manage multiple social networks accounts.
Buffer helps businesses drive social media results by providing the means for users to schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin etc.
It offers a simple and easy way to schedule contents and also track the performance of your contents accross all social media platforms.
It also have a build-in tool that provides businesses with content marketing tips and strategies to help produce high-quality content that your audience deserve.
BONUS (Tools & Platforms)
G. Online Freelance & Outsourcing Platforms
Every business at one point or another needs the help of a professional or an expert. Outsourcing helps to simplify the process of getting a project or task completed in recored time.
At some point in the business, you may need to outsource some project to enable you attend to more important aspect of the business, doing this makes you more efficient and effective, you work more on the business that in the business.
The following outsourcing platforms provides you an avenue to hire professional to do almost any job you can think or imagine in your business.
Fiverr is an outsourcing platform offering tasks and services to customers worldwide.
Fiverr is a freelance services marketplace for SMEs (Small and Medium Scale Enterprise) to get their tasks and project done for a fraction of the cost.
It is a cost-effective outsourcing and freelance platform offering different tasks and services starting at just $5, meaning you can get tasks and projects such as Graphic designs (logos and flyers), writing (articles & translation), , Videos (animation and video ads) at $5.
Upwork is a freelancing platform where businesses hire professionals to get their tasks and projects done.
Upwork provides an avenue for SMEs to hire talented yet affordable professionals to accomplished your project by simply creating a job posting.
Upwork connect you with suitable candidates based on your job posting, you get to choose any prospect to work on your project based on their expertise, past records and also affordability.
Choosing the right tools to grow a sustainable and profitable business on a shoestring budget requires a prior understanding and knowledge of what the business entails.
You need to focus on what would give your business the needed leap to emerge and become visible and profitable.
The essential tools shared above could make the difference between a thriving and a struggling business.
My final thought: “One Action taken is better than One Thousand Intention waiting“. Take that action Now!
Michael Dada is an Author, Business Consultant, and Marketing Strategist. He helps online businesses 10X their sales with Social ads + Sales funnels so they can earn profitably.