10 Resources for Startups and Small Businesses

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G Suite

G Suite has got to be the easiest and cheapest way to create an enterprise level IT infrastructure that never needs any maintenance. If your business has anyone at all that works remotely then G Suite is the perfect solution.

You can access your files and folders from anywhere at any time, you all have access to the same documents in real time and you get access to G Sheets, G Docs, G Slides (Google’s answer to Microsoft’s Excel, Word and PowerPoint) and a range of other apps.

If you are new to G Suite then you’ll be amazed at the ability for multiple people to edit the same document at the same time, while you can all see the changes in real time. It is next century stuff.

Upwork

Upwork is a site where you can hire a freelancer to do just about anything technical for you. From graphic design to website building, there are thousands of freelancers available from around the world.

It’s cheap but you do get what you pay for, so if you are going cheap then you will need to give a lot of direction, do a lot of checking and be prepared for the freelancer to be asking for payment all the time. But if you can manage that, then this platform is the best way to get things done at a fraction of the UK price.

Each project includes an online workspace shared by your team and your freelancer. If using Upwork to build a website then make sure you give a detailed specification of the site and include wording in your spec to the effect of ‘All work must be completed to my satisfaction’, in order to avoid any arguments over quality at the end of the project.

Pixabay

There are loads of image websites out there, but you either have to pay for the images or the selection is small. Pixabay has a massive library of high resolution images available and they are all free.

You can use images from Pixabay commercially for free without attribution on your website, adverts, brochures, videos, signs or even billboards!

Accounting Software

The three major online accounting systems (Quickbooks, Xero and Sage) all offer similar core accounting functions, and most accountants will have their system preferences. However, these systems are so packed with features that most business owners aren’t maximising their value.

You can use your accounting system to generate quotes, send invoices using a standard pricing model and even take payment – your accounting system does that, and it makes the entire process simple.

Your accounting system will also help you track project profitability, manage employee expenses and integrate with other systems like CRMs or project management systems – all to help you make more powerful management decisions.

UpCounsel

We would never advise to skip on professional legal services when you need them. But it is expensive and sometimes you just need some advice on the best legal approach to take before you go and engage the wrong solicitor.

UpCounsel is a very inexpensive way to get legal advice through a marketplace for legal services that enables users (primarily entrepreneurs and businesses) to find and hire attorneys online.

Project Management & Collaboration Software

If you have more than two people in your business and everyone works autonomously on lots of different tasks, then you should consider using a tool that maximises collaboration and workflow efficiency. You should also consider software like this if you have a lot of customers and you want them to interact with you in a structured way (for example you are a website designer with clients constantly tasking you).

Wrike, Slack, Basecamp and SimPro are the best examples of this type of software because they are so customisable for different businesses and because of their pedigree. SimPRO has been designed for trades. It is a lot heavier and less intuitive than the other systems but it does give a trades business everything it needs from quoting and invoicing to the ability to allocates resources, materials and manage hundreds of jobs simultaneously. Wrike, Slack and Basecamp have very similar offerings but essentially create a platform for better collaboration and management of projects. Your business will struggle to expand without investing in a system like this.

Pablo

Pablo is a cool online tool designed to help you create compelling visuals for your social media that will give your online engagement a boost. It’s great for advertising sales, promotions or highlighting your services using images, text and special effects.

Pablo says that while most of us are probably not gifted designers, that shouldn’t stop us from creating great images to share. Pablo provides everyone with a tool to create beautiful images they can share on social media.

The tool is completely free and it is super simple to use. They also claim to have more than 600,000 images available.

Hunter

Hunter is a B2B marketers dream. Want to email someone in a company you want to do business with but don’t want to email a generic info@ inbox or use the online form? Hunter scrapes open source sites to find you email addresses for the company you want to target.

It will find any email addresses for the company publicly available instantly, so you can either email those people or use the email address format to send speculative emails to someone specific you want to reach at a company.

Conference Call UK

Conference Call UK is a super simple service for conference calls. If you need more than one person on a call and video conferencing can’t be used, then this service is the next best thing.

It’s free, you just log on and generate a code for your meeting and send it to the participants. Everyone calls the Conference Call UK number at the appointed time and enters the code and like magic, you’re all talking to each other.

It’s free to setup a meeting but there is a cost for each call. Conference Call UK also has loads of international numbers so people in other countries can dial a local number. Easy.

Schedul

Schedul sells itself as a hair salon booking system. But it is so customisable and completely free – including free SMS notifications – that it is perfect for any business that schedules clients and needs to send notifications.

It works exactly how you would expect, with customisable notifications and services, and multiple people’s calendars. This recommendation is a great hack!