As a small business owner, I find it challenging to figure out exactly what I need in order to keep my business running successfully. Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different softwares and online resources for outsourcing, accounting, marketing, organizing, web design….everything. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what online resources are essential and which ones you can make due without, but I think we’ve finally achieved the balance that works for us. I decided to use this post to talk about a few online resources that I’ve tried and liked, and maybe give you some guidance if you are looking to figure out the best places to invest.
- Accounting: Xero – Xero is a cornerstone of our company and we couldn’t do the work we do for our clients without it. The thing that makes it so useful is how easy it is to communicate with our clients, especially since we work mostly remotely. For example, we love the fact that reports can be stored inside the system and can be shared with anyone who has access. There’s also the ability to comment on transactions and share notes with your clients, which is really helpful when you can’t necessarily have a phone conversation or want to make a note on something instantly instead of always sending emails. It keeps everything in the system and helps keep us organized. Xero has been with us since the beginning and it’s just a really great SaaS program for accountants and clients alike. It’s reasonably priced as well, so you might as well invest in a software that helps you make a budget without breaking the budget (joke!)
- Outsourcing: Upwork- We use Upwork to connect with some of our outsource employees and it gets the job done. If you have never heard of Upwork, it’s basically a meeting place for companies looking to hire freelancers, who can market their skills on a custom profile. They have freelancers who do everything from marketing to accounting to graphic design to sales calls and admin stuff. The software itself makes hiring, managing projects, and paying employees really easy, and does a pretty good job of scoring freelancers on their work history so that you know what you’re getting. Normally, you pay your freelancers up front and it is put in an escrow account through Upwork until they complete the work, so if you have any issues with the work they produce, you don’t lose your money until they fix the issue. If you’re looking to have some outsourcing done, it might be worth it to make an Upwork profile and see who is out there.
- Marketing: Hubspot – Hubspot is what we use for all of our marketing and sales, and we love it. Not only is it pretty user friendly, but they are all about informing and educating their customers, and have a ton of content out there for you to use to your benefit. I use their blogs and other educational resources a lot for marketing and sales guidance (it’s all free, too.) They have great customer service, and pretty much just kill it in terms of marketing and customer satisfaction, which makes sense, since that’s the foundation of their company. There are a lot of marketing CRM’s out there, but I think Hubspot is the best one for your money and definitely the most user friendly.
Do you use any different online resources for marketing, outsourcing, or accounting? Let us know! Tweet @Lucidbooks or leave a comment here.