Technology and the internet has done alot of good (and some bad I imagine) in image building for micro and small business. And it's certain that creating the best image for your business is important to compete. Now more than ever technology and the web 2.0 is beginning to level the playing field between big start-ups and micro, solo businesses. The NFIB published in the January/February Issue of MyBusiness Magazine
that many home-based and micro businesses are finding creative ways to give off a big business image in ways that are paying off! There are many ways a micro business can easily compete with larger more established businesses with a little creativity, cloud-computing and use of SaaS programs. Here is a short list of 7 such tools you can use NOW to improve your business image.
- This simple cost effective tool is perfect for the Micro Business Owner (self-employed, sole proprietorship) who simply needs a step up from managing your bookkeeping in excel spreadsheets. You simply (and very easily) import your bank account, paypal, ebay, Freshbooks, information in and VIOLA! Your books are created! Another awesome feature is the Schedule C and Estimated Taxes tracking. Hands down the single most awesome and low cost accounting software for the solo-preneur who isn't ready for Quickbooks. Why the big business image? Easily tracking your money means more time to focus on developing your business.
- Now for all you wordpress fans, I'm not knocking wordpress AT ALL, in fact our current website is being redesigned on a wordpress platform because it simply rocks. BUT, for those who are just starting out, and need a simple, drop and drag type of website, webs.com is a great solution. Our entire current website
was created on Webs and didn't hurt business one bit! There are tons of fast and quick plug-ins, and some cool templates that fit almost any business.
- I know many wouldn't argue with me at all on this. Zoho is one of the best solutions for Micro businesses to help manage your CRM. The free version is just enough for most micro businesses and there is even a Googleapps integration. Meaning you can easily add leads, notes and follow-up tasks directly from your gmail.
- Your image is everything! Logos are oftentimes the first thing potential clients see and to be honest judge their decision to buy. There are many crowdsourcing options out there with various price points. When on the hunt for a new logo 48hourslogo.com was a great alternative for some pretty cool logos (check out my photos to see what I got from them) starting at $79.
- Wouldn't it be nice to show off to your clients how organized you are by nicely organizing and track your current projects in a neat and tidy little system? ZohoProjects offers a free and paid version but is a great way to collaborate with contractors, vendors, and clients on projects. Get more done!
- Love this first because it's FREE. Email, docs, and up to 50 email addresses and more. There's so much you can do with GoogleApps that doesn't cost you a penny it's a shame if you're not using it! ;-)
- By now I hope you aren't still using a yahoo.com, or gmail.com etc email for your business? Domain names are NOT expensive these days. The typical cost is $9.99 on godaddy (sometimes less sometimes more depending, yet still a small investment). Most potential clients won't even attempt to do business with you if you don't have your own email address. What's awesome is that you can assign your domain dns to Googleapps!
Katrina M. Harrell is CEO & Founder of Your Simple Bookkeeper
and Founder of the Micro Business Resource Center
. For more than 60+ Tips, Tools, Resources to help you create a BIG Business image for your Micro Business, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive our newsletter and mailing list to be the first to receive our "The Secret Micro Business Bootstrapping Survival Kit™"
When published in March 2011.
For more examples by Katrina of how your Micro Business can have a BIG Business image, check out the "Home Office, Home Run" article in the January/February issue of My...