Author: PETER DAISYME (Co-founder of Hostt)
Until your money tree has sprouted, your resources are limited. To get your startup off the ground, your launch has to be fueled by those solutions that don’t cost you much but do go the distance. You don’t always have to spend money to make money, which is helpful when you are just trying to get off the ground and build momentum. To help you across all aspects of your startup, here are six budget friendly tools that you will want to add right now:
1. Web design.
A professional website makes that first impression you need to make as a startup. It establishes the perception of what your company offers in the mind of visitors. You may not think you have the budget for a stunning website design, but Wix proves you do and gives it to you for free. The company has an extensive library of website design templates that can be customized to give you an instant presence without resorting to learning coding in your spare time. You can even get an optimized design to ensure when potential customers find you on their smartphones, you still look great and work effectively for their needs.
As you get going, you most likely will have to give up some of those hats you are wearing and staff up. However, you are most likely not in a position to hire full or even part-time employees. Tapping into the freelance market on a project-by-project basis is a great way to better manage limited resources.
UpWork gives you access to some of the top talent today in all areas, including web and mobile development, writers, designers, virtual assistants, customer service reps and more. You can even hire a team to work for you on a limited basis. However you decide to use UpWork, you set the price.
3. Project management.
After gathering up the talent you need to help launch your startup, you need to stay on top of the work they are producing for you. That's hard when most of them are be virtual. After all, the more productivity you can get from your team, the more effectively your investment is working for you, the faster you can get to market and the sooner you gain traction.
Wrike gives you an online place to meet, collaborate, discuss and share documents plus offers project management capability to track time, create tasks and monitor roles and responsibilities. It’s free for five users who just need task management features. You can upgrade for more features that include collaboration for $49 per month or $99 per month for up to 15 users.
Online advertising is an integral tactic for building traction, but it is too expensive when you're not getting the leads and traffic you need. That’s where a company like Clickbooth makes a significant difference without busting the advertising budget. Its Cost-Per-Action (CPA) model means that you only pay for these leads or sales that you get from each campaign, rather than paying a flat-rate marketing fee. This model helps you maintain your tight budget while getting the results you need to attract attention and grow your startup’s revenues.
5. Content marketing.
You need to get people to your website plus you have to convince them to stay and return. Your content has to rank high in search engines and get you in front of your target audience.
To help you achieve that, Searchmetrics goes beyond search engine optimization. For $49 per month it offers search experience optimization, research tools to analyze your rankings and the competition’s rankings, historic keyword rankings and other tools to drive your digital media strategy. That works no matter how limited is your marketing budget.
6. Payment acceptance.
The more types of payment you can accept, the more likely you are to attract customers and get paid quickly. However, payment processing companies often charge "an arm and a leg" or even the whole body, making it difficult to expand your payment acceptance types. PayFirma changes with a solution that accepts all types of payment types from any device.
The company only charges 1.99 percent and 25 cents per transaction. It's smallest plan is just $25 per month. For this fee, you are allowed five users and daily sales reports plus the ability to do both web and mobile transactions.
7. Referral program.
Referrals get traction because you have others spreading the news about your company. Referral Candy sweetens the referral pot by doing the work for you of creating a custom, automated referral program to fit your store and budget. The refer-a-friend model offers a reward structure to fit your budget. It can include promotions, discounts, free products or more to entice your customers to share a link. It also helps to track the process for you. It comes with a 30-day trial and various levels. For example, the small program is $25 per month or 7.5 percent of monthly referral sales. It includes all the regular features and unlimited visitors and advocates plus technical support response time of within 24 hours of contact.
With all this assistance at such a low cost, you can focus on your core business and build it out in a way that does so much more with so very little.