Let’s face it, entrepreneurs are do-ers and do-ers like tools!
I’ve compiled a short list of some awesome tools that I use myself and I encourage my high-level clients and mastermind groups to consider. Just a disclaimer – a few of the links are affiliate links (aka I partnered with the company because I use the product and proudly endorse them – so I do receive a commission if you pay to sign up).
I think they are all great tools for entrepreneurs like you so, take a look at the list below and leave a comment with some of your favorite tools that may or may not have made my list!
Square is the dream tool for entrepreneurs and start-ups because it allows you to accept credit card payments with your mobile device. You simply plug a small, white card reader (that’s in the shape of a… circle… kidding! A square.) into the headphone jack of your smart phone or tablet device and voila, you can take people’s money and Square will deposit into your bank account within 3 business days!
No more headaches with merchant accounts and payment processing terminals. Plus, now you have an excuse to get an iPad or Samsung Tablet and use your business credit card. Boom!
Square also just recently came out with Square Wallet where customers can send you money electronicly through their mobile device without ever having to swipe a credit card. Some big companies like Starbucks are starting to accept payment via Square Wallet, maybe you should too!
Oh by the way… the card reader… it’s free! (Square takes 2.75% flat rate on each transaction)
2. HD Video Camera
Video is the future of SEO and marketing. Right now video is like the open frontier, anyone can claim their property but few actually do. It’s fair to say your competitors are not utilizing video effectively and it’s an opportunity for you to take advantage of.
These days you can get your hands on an HD video camera for under $200! You can find a HD webcam for under $99 and, in fact, most laptops have HD webcam’s built right into them these days. Also, most smart phones even have HD video recording capabilities as well. Start with what you have and with technology that’s easy for you to understand and learn.
There’s really no reason you shouldn’t be using video to market your business.
Oh by the way… if you have a smart phone… it’s free!
WordPress is an amazing tool to build your business blog and website on. I don’t want to confuse you too much but there is a difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. If you use WordPress.com you don’t have to worry about setting up a hosting account or security issues but you also miss out on some of the great things WordPress can offer. I use WordPress.org, or a self-hosted WordPress installation because I like having my blog and website in my control and I like having the ability to install plugins and awesome themes. WordPress.com is more geared towards the casual user, the beginner blogger, and the completely tech-illiterate. I highly encourage you to use WordPress.org and host it on your own server so you can have more control over the design and functionality of your website. GoDaddy has a managed WordPress hosting product that makes it SUPER easy to get started without having to know anything about mapping DNS servers.
Click here for more information on WordPress.ORG (Better for Business websites)
If you need help with WordPress, check out: http://CodingOptional.com for video WordPress training.
4. Tweet Old Post (WordPress Plugin)
Tweet Old Post is an awesome tool that increases the visibility of your older blog posts. How does it do it? You guessed it, it tweets your old blog post! (The name really doesn’t do it justice)
This WordPress plugin, is a great way to grow your twitter following and drive traffic to your blog.
(Note: You must have a self-hosted (wordpress.org) WordPress installation to use any plugin.)
Oh by the way… it’s free!
5. WP Lead Rocket (WordPress Plugin)
WP Lead Rocket is an amazing tool for generating leads from your website. WP Lead Rocket makes it extremely easy for even novice WordPress users to create amazing squeeze pages on their website. A squeeze page is also often referred to as an opt-in page, which is a stand-alone webpage that has some text and an online form that collects user information. It’s very common for squeeze pages to ask you for your name and e-mail address in exchange for a free report or bonus.
WP Lead Rocket gives you the ability to create beautiful squeeze pages in a matter of minutes that would cost you hundreds of dollars to hire a designer to create. It’s also designed to integrate with all the major e-mail marketing tools as well including my favorite, Infusionsoft, which I’ll tell you about in the minute. If you are not generating leads from your website then… what’s the point of your website?
WP Lead Rocket will help you generate leads that you can nurture into sales.
(Note: You must have a self-hosted (wordpress.org) WordPress installation to use any plugin.)
Oh by the way… it’s only $49 for unlimited squeeze pages! #dealofthecentury!
Click here for more information on LeadRocket (Affiliate)
Infusionsoft is the ultimate small business sales and marketing automation software. Beyond their robust software, Infusionsoft is a great company who’s purpose is to help small businesses succeed & they’re doing just that.
This all-in-one tool is a one-stop-shop for small business owners who are looking to market their products or services online. Infusionsoft has many different features including CRM, E-mail marketing, lead generation, lead follow-up, Affiliate marketing tracking, shopping cart, direct mail, recorded phone blasts, and much more. Infusionsoft is a tool that I believe every small business owner should be using because it brings all the critical components of online marketing into one tool. Infusionsoft does the same job that 5 or 6 other tools, combined, do.
Infusionsoft is the Ferrari of the online business and marketing world and their client list is quite impressive. If you are looking for a tool to increase your revenue by making your marketing and business operations more efficient and effective, Infusionsoft is exactly what you’re looking for!
Oh by the way… it’s not free… because it’s super bad ass! …but the demo is free!
Sidenote: If you register for Infusionsoft through my affiliate link above, I will also personally add two (2) 90-minute strategic marketing consultations as a bonus to help you take your business to the next level!
7. Social Media
You are probably already aware of what social media is and are most likely already using it. But, are you using it effectively? Many companies completely misuse social media platforms and waste energy on the wrong platforms.
Did you know that there are literally THOUSANDS of social media sites focused around all types of different interests?
The key to social media is using the platforms that your target market is using. If you are a tech-oriented company, Reddit is a great social media site that you probably should be using. If your target demographic is women, you better be using Pinterest! If you’re a restaurant or bar, you better have an attractive check-in deal on Foursquare. If you’re a B2B company, LinkedIn and Google+ are primarily business people.
Oh by the way… They’re all free!
Hootsuite is a tool that will save you, or someone on your team, an insane amount of time. Hootsuite is essentially a social media dashboard from where you can manage all of your main social media pages. Not only that but you can also schedule posts at future points in time to post automatically.
You can set up a social media campaign to run virtually on autopilot for months at a time! This is what I call my secret weapon of mass leverage! I love using this tool and my clients love it too!
Oh by the way… it’s free! (for up to 5 social media profiles)
Basecamp is a project management tool that helps you organize and delegate tasks and action items. I started using Basecamp for the first time with my marketing company, Entourage Marketing, and it was awesome. Our team worked virtually 50% of the week so Basecamp allowed us to stay organized and on track with all of the different projects we were working on.
If you have a team of people, small or large, and many different projects going on, then you should look into using Basecamp for your business!
Oh by the way… this one isn’t free. But there’s a 60-day free trial! Boom.
Skype is an online video-chat service that allows you to have a conversation with live-streaming video. It’s about as close to a face-to-face conversation as you can get without being in person.
This is a great tool to use to communicate with your team, clients, investors, mentors, etc.
I have used Skype to conduct business with clients as far away as Bali, Indonesia and with mentors who live on the other side of town.
Rather than wasting 30 minutes driving to meet in-person, why not have a more productive meeting, right?
The world is now a global marketplace and Skype is a tool that makes the business world just that much smaller. Oh by the way… it’s free!
11. Google Analytics
I saved the best for last! If you’re not using Google Analytics on your website, what the heck are you thinking!? Google’s website analytics tool is an extremely robust tracking system that tracks many different metrics of your website. It tracks, website traffic, traffic flow, demographics (primarily location), source of traffic, traffic drop-off, types of traffic, time on site, website load time, conversions, and much… much… more.
If you aren’t familiar with Google Analytics click on the link below and get up to speed! 😉
Oh, and by the way… it’s free, too!
Tools are only as good as…
Tools are great, they make our lives easier, allow us to use our time on more important things, and free us up to be more productive. However, tools are only as effective as the strategy that’s behind them. You can have the best set of tools in the world, but if you don’t have a sound strategic foundation of your marketing and business efforts, you may end up using the saw when you were supposed to use a screw driver. (That’s not good, at all.) Tools are only as good as your strategy.
To learn how to develop a rock-solid marketing strategy that flat-out gets you results, register for my marketing updates.
What are your thoughts?
Do you use any of the tools that I mentioned above? If so, please feel free to share a story of how that tool is having, or has had, a positive impact on your business in the comments section below.
What are some of your favorite tools that I didn’t mention? Please share your favorite tools in the comment section below as well and how they can benefit other entrepreneurs too!
Let me know your thoughts and about any of your favorite tools by commenting below!
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