Look, this list could be huge. I am a small business owner, a tech company founder and a podcaster / audio nerd. These areas don’t all exactly overlap but let’s hit a few of the high points.
Get a Great Website
The #1 thing you need is a great, reliable website. In the past, people would have a “static” site created and the content would remain the same for years at a time. Nowadays, having a really beautiful, totally customizable website that has not only your business info, but also has content that would interest your customers.
I would DEFINITELY SUGGEST setting up a WordPress site if you have not already. and your first stop should be BlueHost. You can easily select your own domain name (Name of your website) and seamlessly set up the hosting right on Bluehost. I am a big fan of WordPress websites. WordPress is a CMS (Content Management Solution) and it makes it easy for newbies to maintain a great looking website with updated content. The other great thing about WordPress is that it is cheap. DO NOT go to WordPress.com, simply setup your WordPress site right through BlueHost, this will ensure that you actually OWN your own site and domain which is very important for a small business.
Another nice thing about BlueHost is you can pick out a nice looking theme right from their site due to their connection with ThemeForest. You can pick through some really beautiful themes for you site, these greatly reduce the amount of work you need to do to get your site looking the way you want it to. Make sure to look for themes that are “responsive” this means that they look great no matter what size the screen your
site is viewed on. Themeforest is part of the larger Envato family which is a great source for WordPress themes as well as royalty free music and images for you website.
In today’s digital world, video is no longer an option, but a necessity to market your business.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are all expanding their video features to help you stand out from the crowd. Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook predicts that video will be the primary form of communication on Facebook within 5 years.
We are familiar with the benefits including ability to better engage with your customers, drive more traffic to your website and boost your company image.
The biggest challenge for small business owners is the time and cost of traditional video creation.
Animoto wants to help you solve this problem.
Animoto is a drag-and-drop video builder that gives you everything you need to produce professional videos in minutes – you just need a logo and some photos or video clips
- No video editing experience needed.
- You can create your first video in 10 minutes ! Yes, 10 minutes.
- To start, just grab some photos – maybe from your website.
- You can also add video clips, maybe of you talking about your business or a customer testimonial
- Customize the look and feel of your video, including adding your logo, a call to action, and a range of fonts and colors.
- Create as many HD quality videos as you’d like.
- A large library of commercially licensed music to choose from – saving you the hassle of avoiding copyright issues.
- Animoto makes it easy to post and share your videos on your website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and email. Even download and burn to DVD.
- We host your videos in the cloud for easy viewing by you and your customers.
- Animoto has a free trial so it’s risk-free to try.
- Once again, it is less than 10 minutes to your first Animoto video. It will take less time then… (e.g. waiting for a Frappuccino)
Try Animoto today for free and join the tens of thousands of small businesses that are using Animoto to stand out from the crowd.
Go to Animoto.com and use promo code “wowsmallbusiness” to get 15% off a Pro subscription
In design you generally do get what you pay for. I would suggest using a very consistent color scheme and designs throughout your website and other marketing. With design there are four distinct options that I advise depending on the speed and quality required.
Simple Designs = Fiverr
For anything that doesn’t require a high level of quality go to Fiverr.com – Fiverr can also be used for a lot of random tasks and creatives. I have had some really experiences and some really poor experiences but for $5 who’s complaining?
Logos, Icons or anything where you aren’t really sure what you want
I like using 99designs for anything where you want a lot of options. You submit what you are looking for and multiple designers submit designs and compete. It gives you a lot of options and the best chance that you will find something you like.
More complex design jobs, quickly
I am a big fan of Odesk, it is a marketplace where you can post a job with your requirements and designers can submit quotes. For small jobs make sure to give a very detailed specification and you can request out the door quotes. For larger jobs you can hire hourly and they only charge for hours worked. You can confirm the work they are doing by reviewing screenshots. The process is easy and the designers can receive payment right through Odesk.
The old fashioned way
Find a local designer and sit down with them. It is usually more expensive and time consuming but for very important jobs you cant beat face to face communication.
Keeping your books becomes a lot easier once you can afford to hire a full time bookkeeper. Until you get to that point you do NEED to keep good track of your money as well as stay on top of bills and invoices. For any new or small business I would suggest using Freshbooks. It is simpler to use than most other options and is designed to use on the go.