Corkscrew, an EU funded start up school recently published a list of the Top Ten most Useful Tools for Start Ups and SME’s in the UK
There are some amazing tools in here and we at AVirtual are proud to be one of them. Have a read and if you have any more please send us your recommendations.
A big thanks to Corkscrew for letting us republish this list.
There are a lot of great tools and services out there to help your business maximize your resources. The good news is many of them are free, work to cut fixed costs or are disrupting the historical services many businesses are still using. Like most good things they take some time to set up and learn but the rewards are well worth it. Here are our favorites, most of which we use ourselves.
1. High quality virtual personal assistants by Avirtual
What’s your business’s most valuable asset? It’s you of course. Here at Corkscrew we are constantly amazed by how much time leaders spend on administration and other non-critical tasks. We believe that a leaders time is their most precious asset and that every minute should be spend on building the business, implementing strategy, networking and motivating teams.
That’s why we LOVE Avirtual. From only £135 a month you can have your own virtual PA doing everything an in house PA can do apart from make the tea. From market research, managing social media accounts and book-keeping, to family administration and travel you can outsource it and focus on what matters.
They offer fully flexible packages, a 10-hour free trial and a 30 day money back guarantee. Of course it also means you have no fixed costs, PAYE, sick days and holiday cover to worry about.
2. Ad Spend Calculator by Qwilr
This is a really cool tool especially if you are building a SaaS model, but it works for other industries too. It calculates how much your business should be spending on advertising by calculating your Life Time Customer Value, your Customer Acquisition Cost and Costs per method (PPI, PPC and Signup), and then suggests a spending guideline for each method.
3. Research your competitors deeply and constantly –with MOZ
You know how you spent a lot of time researching the competition when setting up your business but then once things started to get going you never had the time? MOZ lets you quickly and deeply see what your competition is doing, how much they spend on PPC, for what terms and how they rank against you. It’s a tool you cannot afford not to use.
4.Grade your marketing with Hubspot
They made their name and a billion dollar business off the back of a very simple tool called Website Grader. It was a clever little tool, which gave huge value to users while letting Hubspot build up their email database of potential clients. A lot has changed since then and they now offer a free tool called Marketing Grader. In under 30 seconds, it analyses all of your marketing, not just your website, reviewing over 30 different factors and then providing an overall Marketing Grade on a 1-100 scale.
5. Bloggers Required
We have not used this tool ourselves but a lot of people in our co-working space have and swear by it. From as little as £35 you can access over 12,000 bloggers who will blog about your product / service.
Hate public speaking? You are not alone, some studies suggest 75% of people have this fear (the severe form know as Glossophobia). However if you are in business chances are you will need to pitch for money, present on your product or motivate your team at your next all staff meeting. Pitcherific is a great tool to help you craft your pitch, practice your delivery and record your improvement.
7. Mine your LinkedIn contacts with LinkedIn Sales Navigator
Networking is free, most of the time and most business leaders agree that word of mouth is the best source for new businesses. Some studies suggest that 70% of all new business comes from networking. LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps you find the right prospects, fast. With LinkedIn’s sophisticated algorithm, this sales tool gives you lead recommendations that are tailored to you. Easily save leads and follow updates of your prospects to turn cold calling into warm conversations.
8. Join a global network exclusively for entrepreneurs with EO
Mentoring, access to industry thought leaders across the globe and all exclusively for entrepreneurs. EO helps leading entrepreneurs learn and grow through peer-to-peer learning, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and connections to experts. It has a strict membership criteria and costs around 1500GBP a year but from the members we know its well worth it.
9. Top WordPress Website Themes
When we built our first website about 7 years ago it cost us £45,000, that’s right £45,000, the one you are looking at now cost us about £500. Why because we used a word press theme. Pretty much anyone can now build a website. Save your money for customer acquisition and spend your weekends building your own website to test your product!
10. Outsource everything at Upwork
It’s all about cashflow right? Fixed costs can bring a business tumbling down faster than a game of Jenga and one of the biggest and hardest to reduce is salaries. On Upwork, formally known as Odesk, you can hire by the hour,SEO consultants, PPC managers, Graphic designers, Coders, Data Entry the list goes on. The quality varies and you do get what you pay for but with some effort you can soon build up your team for a fraction of the cost of in-house staff.
Written by Neil and Tom from Corkscrew