The new rich have learned that the online business has replaced the traditional brick and mortar of yesteryear. Unfortunately, the landscape has yet to be defined and many entrepreneurs are looking forward to starting an online business but they aren’t exactly sure on how to start. These 5 tools are the first things I usually do for any online business.
Our fathers had the advantage of starting a business in a very familiar landscape where the rules were established and the steps were defined by the generations that preceded them. The dot com boom has completely changed the way business is conducted. Luckily for entrepreneurs looking to start an online business, the opportunities are endless.
I have the pleasure of either advising, investing or starting six separate online businesses. The first time around, I learned that starting an online business was not the same as the brick and mortar business. Through the last five start ups, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work that well. This is my list of the 5 essential tools for starting an online business.
Elance – This is my go to source for sub-contract work through the web. There are many other sites that do similar things including oDesk which I use as well. Elance has a simple interface and high quality sub-contractors. Anyone looking to start an online business will need to contract out a wealth of work. Elance is where I’d go.
99Designs – Your website is your store front in the online business world. Just as a brick and mortar store must be in a building that people enjoy to enter, so must your website be a place where people want to enter. I use 99Designs for all my company’s logos and collateral such as brochures and even eBook covers. My JaysonFeltner.com logo, you guessed it was designed on 99Designs.
TopSpotIMS – Advertising is critical to the success of any online business. Top Spot is the best place to outsource online advertising. They are Google Premier SMB Partner. I have them running all my Allied Equipment pay per click campaigns. They are also building my new sites. They are a top down provider. They can design, build and optimize your website and your PPC campaign, email campaign, and all your SEOs. They are a one stop shop for me and every online business I start with my investment team.
American Express Platinum – As awesome as an online business, you still might find a need for an office. Web conferencing and meeting up at Starbucks is great. But every now and then, you need an office. Additionally, you need access to capital and a secure method of payment for Elance, 99 Designs and TopSpotIMS. For both, I use American Express Platinum. They partner with Regis Office space which is in most major cities. They offer free office space and free conference rooms for times when you just have to meet face to face. I love American Express Platinum for many reasons but this feature sold me.
Google Voice – This is great for any new online business because you can have one number that routes to any other number at any given time. For my online businesses, we have one Google Voice number that routes to different people at different times. I set it up through Google so that time is split between myself and my partners. In one instance, we set it up to forward to our fulfillment company who answers as if they were us.
Starting an online business can be thrilling and terrifying at the same time. These 5 tools will give you the platform of resources that you need to be successful.
What hacks have you found for making your online business outshine the brick and mortars?