7 tools to start your business now
Starting a business was one of the hardest, most exciting and most important things I’ve done. The other was becoming a mother. The two have a lot in common actually. In both cases you cannot describe the experience of becoming a business owner or mother to someone who has not experienced it themselves. It is incredibly thrilling and incredibly hard at the same time.
The good news is that there are so many tools available today to help you start a business quickly and at low cost. In 2018, I started a business in tourism, called Leopard. At Leopard, we create personalised, tailor made trips to Southern Africa for overseas clients. To start this business, I needed to first create a website. Then I needed to tell people about my business. Then I needed to track my finances and other business metrics. Today, there are online tools to do all of these things. There are alternative tools to all the ones I have listed below, and I suggest you register for free trials on a number to see which one fits your business best before committing to one.
7 tools to help you start your business:
- WordPress: I built my website on WordPress. WordPress is free and much more flexible than website builders like Wix. It was the best decision I made.
- Udemy: I needed to learn how to use WordPress, so I found a course on Udemy and built my website with a Udemy short course and of course, by trial and error.
- Canva: I use Canva to create most of my marketing material. It is a free, online design tool and I use it all the time.
- Mailchimp: I keep in touch with my opted-in community via a monthly newsletter which I create and send using Mailchimp. I love this tool and it adds immense value to my business at no cost.
- Xero: Xero is a beautifully designed accounting tool. It was easy to use with a little help from my accountant. It was important to me to keep good accounting records right from the start and Xero really helped me achieve this.
- Google Analytics: I use Google Analytics daily to track traffic to my website, goal completions and my marketing campaign performance. Analytics is often overlooked but can really give you the edge if you utilise the insights.
- Social: Instagram is an inspiration platform and fits very well with my business – travel. I created an Instagram account and Facebook page and post regularly to these platforms. This was all free and easy to do.
I have no regrets about my decision to start a business, as I have no regrets about becoming a mother. The key is to just start. The difference between what’s perfect and what’s good enough to start is huge. Once you start, you will learn all the lessons and make all the mistakes. It will always be harder than you think, but South Africa desperately needs entrepreneurs so in the words of Dr Seuss,”You’re off to great places, today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!”