Business Tools and Resources
Any business will need basic business tools but those related to running a business on the Internet might be new to you.
Doing business on online requires a whole different skill set and a portfolio of some very different business tools.
Whether you are looking for internet business tools, home business tools or MLM tools, the trouble is you dont know when you are starting out what tools you absolutely need, which are no point having and whether any of them are any good!
Having been working online for over a year now, I have assembled a list of tools that I think are essential to your business.
As time progresses I hope to add reviews for as many of them as I can and I would be very interested to hear from you about your own experiences with some of these programs and business tools.
As with any job, the tools of the trade are essential to success. Every task is made quicker and easier if you use the right tools. If, like me, you have ever resorted to using a knife, nail file or even the end of a spoon (yes, I know!) to tighten a screw you will know what I mean! You can do it, but it takes twice as long and 9 times out of 10 you end up having to go find a screwdriver anyway!
The same is true of working online. When you use the right internet business tools building an online business becomes much easier!
You may already have some of the tools and resources below, but just in case you don't, they are things that I found helpful, if not
essential; to have in place as my business grows.
Communication and Organizational Tools
SKYPE - If you are making a considerable volume of calls then you might want to consider a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) service such as SKYPE. has many different packages that allow you to call free to anyone in the world currently using the service. It also has inclusive call packages that allow you to call worldwide (including mobiles in many countries) for less the £15 or $30 a month.
The huge benefit of such a service means that you are able to make calls at your computer whilst you work. You can also chat with other Skype users who are online and can add a widget to your website or blog to allow potential customers to interact with you online.
You can also carry out conference calls which makes it great for team discussions and keeping in touch with multiple people.
Combine this with a VOlP Headset
that you plug into your PC or laptop and you can make hands free calls while you work, freeing your hands to take notes and preventing neck pain.
DimDim is a totally free meeting tool that allows you to host a call with up to 20 attendees. You can also record your call, share your screen with attendees and
pass control over to others so that they can share their screen. I find this invaluable for demonstrating my business online.
Talkline99 - Free conference calling & recording service (you are only responsible for your normal long distance charges).
All that is required is an email address and name to receive your totally free account.
GoTo My PC is the fast, easy and secure way to access your PC from any Web browser
GoToMeeting is the easiest and most cost-effective way to conduct business meetings online reducing the need to travel. Conduct
International meetings allowing all participants to view your PC screen whilst you make your presentation or conduct training.
GoToWebinar allows you to increase your reach with unlimited Webinars for one low rate. Now you can reach your target audience faster and more
affordably than ever before with GoToWebinar. Use the self-service interface to plan, present, record and analyze unlimited Webinars with up to 1,000 attendees each - all for one flat fee.
Try it FREE now.
Team Appreciation - Say "Thank You", motivate your team, follow up and make people feel special with Online Printable Greeting Cards
Contact Management Software
In any Internet based or Network Marketing business, when you start dealing with hundreds, even thousands of customers, prospects and downline members, post-it notes and homemade excel spreadsheets just don't cut it anymore.
Oprius is a professional contact management system that stores all your customer/prospects contact info in one place...allows you to setup appointments...take notes on all your calls...and send out individual or group emails. I find this works very nicely for what I need.
It stores all emails sent and received from/to a contact under the contact details so you can track your communication with them. If If you receive a phone call and no message, you can do a look up by phone number.
Another really useful feature is that it enables you to send and receive emails from mutliple email accounts from one place e.g gmail or your own isp email!
It also has an auto responder and calendar. This programme is cheaper even than other auto responders and it does pretty much everything.
If your budget does not allow for this yet, try using Outlook or Outlook Express in the mean time and later you can interface the two programs.
You can also access a free trial of Oprius following my link - if you do this I will provide you with some help to set it up - Just fill in the form on the contact me page.
Tip! If you sign up to Oprius, you will also get an email account. Make sure that your user name is therefore something that you would like to use as your email address! e.g mine is email@example.com (although I choose to use my gmail account.)
and Auto Responders
Setting up an Email Autoresponder is an essential step in organising your online business. Find out more about Email Autoresponder Software
and why it is critical to any online home business.
Internet Marketing Keyword Tools
Keyword research is essential whether you are marketing your business online or developing niche websites, blogs or other internet content.
Find out about some of the best free and paid for Internet Marketing Keyword Tools.
Online Home Business Blog
An online home business blog is fast becoming an important tool in the online marketer's portfolio.
Find out more about Blogging for Money
For more information on website development, see my dedicated page on Owning your own Website.
Site Build It (SBI) is one of the most popular and respected companies in internet marketing and has a version of their website development
package designed specifically for network marketers. They also offer a lot of marketing tools with their product that you won't get
with other similar programs.
Website Hosting and Domain Registration
No self-respecting online business is without a website these days. However, having your own domain name is critical even if you don't have a website.
www.GoDaddy.com offers domain registration as well as hosting.
Hostgator is the perfect hosting solution that allows you email addresses associated with your domain in addition to hosting a blog if you want to use one.
Shopping Carts and Online Payment Accounts
If you have your own website and you want to accept credit cards online, you're going to need a shopping cart.
1shoppingcart provides this as well as autoresponders, tracking software,
merchant accounts and a lot more. Affordable and Powerful.
One of the key challenges in marketing these days is to actually get your message read by your potential customers. In the days of junk email spam filters prevent many emails from being received and even if they do get through to your target inbox the chance of them being read is becoming slimmer daily.
Postcards and greetings cards are fast becoming the perfect follow up and referral tool. Not only do they get opened and read, they make the recipient feel valued and remind them of the benefits of doing business with you.
I recently had a comment from a prospective customer "Thank you so much for wonderful follow-up to my purchase of the renegade system. Follow-up is something one does not see too often so it is all the more welcome for that."
Never underestimate the power of follow up! Take a look at this
Free Report that shows you 7 ways to grow any business fast using this fantastic resource.
Book KeepingWhen starting your own business, you can very quickly find yourself behind on your accounts and scrabbling around for receipts and proof of purchase at the end of the tax year. Consider getting yourself organised sooner rather than later. QuickBooks or other similar accounting software is ideal. This version is ideal for new and home-based businesses. Check here for special offers
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