Deciding to launch a product or service can be a costly endeavor; these days you need to pre-launch before you actually launch, and in order to be successful you need to launch on multiple platforms and keep that momentum going each day to stay relevant. So let’s talk about some free and low cost tools that Start-ups, Small Businesses and Solopreneurs can use to get a kick-start and light that fire under your entrepreneurial belly.

Social Media Marketing

Recommended Read

I’ve covered this topic at various points but Social Media is the single most important platform needed to propel and sustain your business name, popularity and image. So what’s my recommendation?

Hootsuite: This platform offers a free trial and costs just $14.99 for a basic account that’s still a powerful Social Media Management experience. It’s easy to learn, market and post all from their simple dashboard.  The basic subscription, while limited in comparison to the paid subscription, will do just fine for a start-up.

Cool Features

  • You can pre-schedule messages across all platforms or opt to schedule your posts individually.

  • Auto-Scheduler or Manual Scheduling: to use the Hootsuite recommended scheduling times, you can simply click on “auto”.

  • Bulk Post uploading via an excel doc (or google excel).

  • Bulk Post downloading to help you keep track of repetitive content or reuse successful content.

  • Suggestion option: allows you to create posts and schedule posts via their suggestion module.

  • Chrome Hootlet extension: browse articles, websites and content online that you can easily share by clicking on the hootlet extension.

    and much more.

Email Marketing

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Email marketing, while often overlooked is one of the greatest tools to help you build your consumer base and contact list, engage with customers, send newsletters and so much more. There are various Email Marketing platforms available however, let me show you an option that you can easily use to get started at zero cost. Before setting up your Email Marketing account, make sure that you have something beneficial to offer your audience. Be sure to start using and implementing your business blog, this is a wonderful tool that you can use when initiating Email Marketing. You’ll want to include product or service launch dates, special offers, free tools, trial services, etc., you get the point. The more personalized your business blog, the better, consumers want to be able to relate to you on a personal basis. Do that and you can arguably create consumer brand ambassadors. Be sure to put some thought in those headings as they will be the first thing a recipient will see and based on how interesting that subject line is, your emails may or may not get the attention that you seek.

MailChimp: This platforms offers a free subscription option that is extremely functional for a Start-up or Solopreneur. As you immerse yourself in launching your business and cultivating your product or service; it’s possible that during the first year or two, you’re subscriber-ship or contact-list will number under 2000. That’s perfect for the Forever Free subscription option that MailChimp offers. You’ll have the capacity of sending 12,000 emails per month completely and absolutely free. This is not a trial that expires and you don’t need a credit card to register, how awesome is that?

Cool Features

  •  MailChimp’s built-in signup forms are very easy to customize and share with your audience. You can also create forms as well as collect subscribers on popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress.

  • Free Templates: Pick any free template or use their drag-and-drop email designer to create professional newsletters that match your brand. MailChimp’s responsive email templates make your newsletters look great on mobile devices, too.

  • Full Free reporting and data: this will come in handy and let you know what emails are getting opened and shared and which are not. This will help you streamline what your audience is looking for and wants more of.

Accounting, Billing and Invoicing

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Let’s be honest, you’re not launching a Start-up in order to provide free products or services and as is often the case for Solopreneurs and Small Business that are Service oriented, it can be hard to collect what’s owed and keep track of payables and receivables. Let’s not start leaking funds from all joints, it’s important to be prepared with an organized system at the inception of your launch. If you’ve already launched, there’s no time like the present to get organized and ensure speedy payments for your services. After some research, I found a free platform that I believe will be useful for you to keep track of monies owed and payments made. Let’s get to it then!!

Tradeshift: TS is a cloud  based invoicing and payment platform. The software is completely free, you can get setup in just minutes and send invoices online at any time.

Cool Features

  • Free Cloud-Based E-invoicing

  • Professional Invoice Templates

  • Apps that work with Paypal, Quickbooks & Others

  • Access from Mobile and Tablet

  • E-commerce integration

  • Document uploading

  • Notifications to help you stay up-to-date

  • Customizable Company Profiles

  • Get History Reports of Your Documents

  • Send Free Quotes, POs and Credit Notes

  • List Your Product and Services

  • International Business Directories

Project Management

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with your many projects and every little intricacy that goes into running a business and offering products or services. It’s safe to say that you need a Project Management process in place to stay on top of all of your obligations, contractors and clients. Before you get that foreboding feeling and the anxiety that goes along with building a successful business, let’s nip that in the bud right now and get you the information that you need to create and manage a Project Management process for your business.

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Podio: Podio is a cloud based online Project Management platform that offers a completely free registration with tons of apps and add-ons to help you manage your projects all for up to 5 users. If your team requires the use for over 5 users, there is a Basic plan available at $9.00 per month. Whether you’re a web designer, yoga instructor, contractor or run any other service oriented business, Podio will allow you to manage projects, team members, tasks and so much more. You can create a workspace and then projects, thereafter create the tasks that are necessary to complete each project. You can assign the project to yourself or a team member and the same structure works for tasks. With file storage, password folders and deadlines, it will be easy to meet your clients needs according to your contractual obligations, all while staying on top of every single detail. What’s more, every morning  you’ll get an email with your daily activities and more.

Cool Features

  • Workflows:  The workflows feature enables you to add if-this-then-that logic to Podio apps.

  • Webforms: Have structured information sent directly to your apps by embedding a Podio webform on your website or by using a Podio hosted form.

  • Podio Share: Share single app items with anyone, even if they’re not on Podio yet.

  • Workspaces: connect groups of people, with the Podio apps they use together to organize their work.

  • Activity Streams: Social activity streams reduce time-consuming cc-email threads, increase transparency and boost knowledge sharing. Every workspace in Podio includes an activity stream – displaying the latest activity from the apps in the workspace and status posts from the members of the workspace.

  • Podio tasks: enable you to break down work into simple to-dos.

  • Recurring tasks: For those routine to-dos, for example to create a weekly presentation – recurring tasks will help you make sure it always gets done on time.

  • File Sharing: You can share files anywhere in Podio: as part of status posts, chat messages, attached to tasks or attached to anything you manage with your Podio apps. This adds business context to all of your files – making them part of the bigger picture and not scattered in folders on desktops or separate file sharing services.

  • File storage integrations: Podio integrates with all major file sharing services. For example, designers can manage their projects with Podio and attach hi-res files from Dropbox. Services include: Google Drive, Dropbox, ShareFile, Box, HighTail, and OneDrive.

  • Podio integrates with all major file sharing services – Google Drive, Dropbox, ShareFile, Box, HighTail, and OneDrive.

and much more.

Four Important Components

These four components are important and absolutely vital to launching, running, maintaining and managing your business. Whether you’re a Solo-Entrepreneur, Small Business or Start-up, it is essential that you organize and set these processes up as early as humanly possible in order to be successful in the long run. Don’t put these components off, dig your heels in and get started today.