The American startup has become a kind of folk standard. Industrious young people of yesteryear working away in a garage, only to birth a contemporary tech giant. Today, venture capitalists and a whole new generation of creative entrepreneurs have come together to make startups a multi-billion dollar industry. Perhaps surprising to some, the fastest growing segment of new entrepreneurs are those in their middle-age.
No matter the age at which you start, the right tools are the difference between bang and bust for most entrepreneurs. Many private and national resources for entrepreneurs are available. Here are just a few of the ones available these days.
- Startup America – White House initiative from 2011, to build nationwide entrepreneurship. More than $2 Billion has been allocated to entrepreneurs to educate, spur innovation, and finance startup costs.
- Small Business Administration – Another national program for entrepreneurs.
Other opportunities can be had through emerging technologies and online resources.
- Office Tools – Many bookkeeping and office tasks made easy through widely used programs.
- Google Docs – Powerful and versatile office programs, but existing in the Cloud. Their suite of apps can allow multiple users, though paid Microsoft solutions may be necessary for sophisticated or widespread use in a large workplace.
- Google Calendar – Manage meetings, automated scheduling notifications, and much more. It’s free, it’s easy, and it’ll help you organize your business.
- Free Invoice Generator – The name should tell you exactly what you can expect to get out of this app. It’s a tool that many businesses will need to use all the time, and it’s free.
- Dropbox -This common solution for data storage in the cloud is used by millions. Dropbox is free for small the medium sized storage needs. Heavier users can upgrade the service for an affordable monthly fee.
Many of these online tools work especially well for marketing scenarios.
- WordPress – Essential for many blogging and website purposes, WordPress can help startups optimize their SEO and take a hands-on, affordable approach to graphic design, email, and simple marketing.
- Open Site Explorer – A powerful free tool for SEO and link-building.
- Canva – A versatile graphic design tool, designed for those with and without experience.
- Mailchimp – Powerful email marketing made easy.
- HootSuite – A way for businesses to master their social media campaigns in one concise location. Most users can get by with Hootsuite’s free plan, though paid subscriptions allow more sophisticated uses.
Some programs are just for Law and Taxes.
- IRS – Don’t miss out on the free forms and learning solutions made available by the IRS itself.
- Docracy – If it’s an everyday legal document needed by modern small businesses, it’s likely available (and explained) on Docracy. While it’s no replacement for real legal advice, Docracy can help you through your first NDA or founding document drafting.
There are plenty of other resources available in the online and mobile spheres, for startups of all types. You can use specially designed productivity tools, business growth planning apps, and lots of tools built just for education. A more complete list can be found through the third link on this page. So take these tools and build yourself a better business!