I have clients and other small business owners ask me all the time which business tools I feel are the most important for an entrepreneur to use.
So I’ve come up with a list of my 4 most important tools that a small business owner needs to have.
They aren’t necessarily listed in the order of importance, but here they are:
1. A website with a free offer
I used to think that by now, in 2015, that any small business owner had a website with a great free offer on it that’s used as a gift in exchange for the person’s name and email address, but I was wrong.
I was at a networking event last month and one of the business cards someone handed me didn’t have a web address on it. I’ve recently met several business owners who don’t have a free offer on their website.
I understand that a new business owner may not have a completed website yet, but even if it’s a do-it-yourself, Go Daddy website tonight kind of thing, it’s important that people can look you up online. You can always build a better one in the future, but you really need to have some kind of web presence.
And an absolute must is having a great ebook, or video series or something that is of value to your ideal client, to give away for free in exchange for them giving you their name and email address so you can continue to market to them in the future.
2. Google Calendar
I use this pretty much every day, not only mine, but my clients as well. It’s easy to use, you can color code different types of appointments and sync with other people’s calendars that you have access to, so you can log in to one account and see many different calendars at the same time.
It also syncs with Outlook email and your smart phone, so you can access your calendar pretty much any where – and it’s free.
This is my favorite file sharing program. Yes, it periodically has some syncing issues, but for the most part, I don’t have any trouble with it.
I use it with all of my clients and my team so we can see and share documents easily. It’s cloud based, so it can be accessed anywhere there’s internet.
The free version give you up to 2GB of storage space and for a small monthly fee of $9.99 you get up to 1TB of space which is helpful when you’ve got videos, audios and images to store.
4. Email marketing program
If you are an entrepreneur and you’re sending out your marketing emails via your Gmail account, please stop that right now.
You are a business owner, so make your marketing emails look professional. You can add banners and logos for branding and not everyone’s email addresses are posted for the rest of the world to see.
If you don’t have a big budget for this, you can choose a free version of Mail Chimp or a lower cost version of Constant Contact or Aweber. You’ll want to have a sign up form on your website (remember #1 above?) and all of these programs allow you to create web forms that can be easily embedded on a web page. Once they sign up, you can also create an email that’s sent to them immediately with a download link or some way to get their free gift.
If you’re launching a program or a product, you can also create a series of emails to be sent out at scheduled times to the people on your lists to let them know about it.
If you want more robust options, there is 1Shopping Cart or Infusionsoft, to name a few.
Let me know in the comments section below what your favorite business tool is.