by Scott Hirsch, founder and CEO of Appsbar
Starting a business comes with great excitement and emotion, the challenges involved in turning your idea into a viable business are many and when you overcome those challenges you feel like you’re on top of the world. Now that you have your business up and running you must sustain and grow it, but how do you do that?
There are many helpful resources for budding entrepreneurs and small business owners and my first recommendation is to start with the U.S. Small Business Administration, it’s a helpful website that can guide you through the ins and outs of establishing your business. Once you have reviewed that resource and you have your bearings on what it takes to get started, you can start thinking about streamlining and implementing extensions of your business (think accounting and payroll, apps, ecommerce, etc).
As an entrepreneur I’ve found the below platforms extremely helpful, and best of all, they’re free. These are five free platforms that anyone can use to streamline processes, gain customers, and ultimately grow their business. Check them out!
1. Build your own app for free with Appsbar.
The development of a professional Android or iOS app can run from $1,000 up to a six figure sum. I, along with most entrepreneurs I know do not have that kind of budget, which is why I created Appsbar – to fill the gap between over-simplified apps and costly, professionally-produced apps. Appsbar enables anyone to create a professional, personalized app for FREE.
2. Use Wix to build a professional website for free.
Wix technology makes it simple for everyone to go online with a beautiful, professional and functional web presence. No creative limits, no coding – just complete freedom to express yourself and manage your entire business online.
3. Best way to manage your social media – Hootsuite.
Hootsuite is a great resource for the budding entrepreneur or new business. While the free version does have limitations (supports only one user and five social profiles) its ability to allow you to manage your basic social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc in an easy-to-use manner is great. Once your business has grown past the free capabilities, you can upgrade to Hootsuite Pro for a small fee, allowing you to manage up to 100 social profiles with advanced analytics reports.
4. Use Wave for your accounting and payroll.
Wave is a free, cloud-based tool specifically designed for small businesses. Wave understands here’s a world of difference between the needs of a 5-person company and a 55-person company. So Wave was built for businesses with 9 employees or less, including all those one-person shops out there. Waves suite of tools linclude Invoicing, Accounting, Payroll, Payments and more, plus Personal Finance Software, too.
5. Getting into the e-commerce game with Magento.
According to Forrester ecommerce sales will hit $370 billion in the United States by 2017. If you want your business to be take a piece of this growing pie it’s time to get serious about ecommerce. Magentooffers flexible, scalable eCommerce solutions, it’s Community Edition is free and includes a number of key features such as: an admin panel, user profiles, installation wizard, email notifications, product catalog toolkit, sales reports, themes, SSL support and more.
Navigating the waters of starting a new business is daunting and growing that business does not get any easier. Like anything worth having, it takes hard work, perseverance and experience that comes in the form of trial and error. Play around with these platforms and get a feel for what works best for you and before you know it you’ll be the resource for your friends and family on growing a business!
Founder and CEO of Appsbar, Scott Hirsch, is a noted entrepreneur and expert in mobile marketing. Scott pioneered many of the most utilized concepts in online media including opt-in data collection, email to postal data appending, affiliate marketing, web syndication, internet reality shows and internet pay per view. In 2011, Scott launched Appsbar, the first cost-free tool for anyone of any skill level with a limited budget to develop professional and personalized apps that appear in the largest online marketplaces including iTunes and Android Market.