Advanced Business Solutions for Small Businesses and Startups
If you are startup or small business, it can be tough finding useful solutions for the obstacles you are facing. In this article, you will find solutions to many common obstacles startups and small businesses face.
This list of business solutions can apply to most startups and small businesses looking for solutions to aid them in their journey to success. We have great solutions for business cards, getting your work computer ready to go, sales tools, and more.
We even have solid solutions for you to outsource HR work and founding startups to be legally compliant without all the hassle.
There are many solutions for business cards out there. Some of the most commonly found solutions are Kinkos which has a nice product but the prices can get out of hand quickly.
Many people have been shown Vista Print and that solution seems to be low cost and sound like a great idea. Many people have found that Vista Print business cards are undersized from other business cards they receive from other business folks. The card stock is usually not as durable either. Some people will even choose to use their free cards which have Vista Prints information printed on the backside of the card. If you were to receive an undersized card that is shown to be free by the printers information being on the backside of the card, you would most likely feel that if the company was to use such a low grade solution for their business cards, the quality of their service will be on the same low quality level as those cards. You do not want to portray your company that way.
Got Print Business Cards - There are many business card solutions out there but I have found that Got Print has some of the best prices around and the cards are also perfectly sized and are made from high quality card stock. At the time of writing this article, you are able to buy 1000 business cards from them of standard US size, high quality card stock, color on both sides, and glossy on both sides. I'm not saying you should have glossy on both sides but that extra treatment usually will cost you extra money using Kinkos or another business card solution.
I recommend having your cards being able to have notes written on them on the backside as well. Many people like writing notes about who they met and what the person can offer them in their particular situation. Many people want to write a quick note on the front of the card as well so they don't have to pull the card out of their wallets to see their quick note they had written on the card.
Got Print also has various different card shapes to choose from. So if you want rounded corners or just two rounded corners, you can do that. They also have many other print solutions to use as well such as magazines, flyers, and more. I usually receive my cards pretty quick from them and their customer service is excellent. It is the company we have used for our cards.
Below is an example of the glossy cards from Got Print
Below is an example of matte print business cards from Got Print (name and email blurred out)
Platt's Printing - If you want some business cards that are really intense and really look spectacular you can use the services of Platts Printing. Their cards are truly works of art. Embossing, foil, raised surfaces, corners, etc. If you want it, they probably can do it. If your business is selling high end products with large profit margins, this is the way to go. You will be able to afford it and these cards will stand out. Even if you don't use the service of the person that hands you these cards, you will most likely keep the card just to look at and show other people. They are that amazing.
Below is an example of a business card made from Platt's Printing. In this image you will see 4 foil shapes imprinted in a cutout shape made in the card to create a nice feel. You will also notice on the back of the card the raised black circles that are glossy in comparison to the matte black that the majority of the card has. This card is about 3 thicknesses of a normal 14PT thickness business card you may have in your wallet. This card also has rounded corners.
Find Similar Sites
Sometimes you want to find a similar site to something to provide you with more solutions that you are in need of. You can do this many times by going to Google and typing in the search term and then a space and then vs and another space and Google will generally give you a list of vs options to look up. You can see this in the screenshot below.
You can also find similar websites by using this powerful solution called Similar Sites.
Find Alternative Software Solutions
AlternativeTo.net - Sometimes you have found a solution on the internet that does what you want it to do but then you find out that it only works on a Mac and you only have a PC. Sometimes you want to find a free solution. Other times you just want to see what else is out there. Alternativeto.net is there to solve this problem. You can find alternatives to any software and you can filter results by cost, license type, and platform type.
Build Your Own Work PC Quickly and Confidently
PCPartPicker - Even if you are a professional at building computers, it still takes quite a bit of time to figure out what components fit together compatibly. That is why PC Part Picker was born. It is a website that allows you to put in the components you do have currently if you have any and find components that are compatible to them. It even allows you to work with star ratings for items with a range as well as pricing and other items. This powerful solution will allow you to pick your computer parts quickly and from many different vendors such as Newegg and Amazon and do it so that they are all compatible with each other.
You will be able to build the most powerful computer for the money you are willing to spend and you can do it in under an hour. Professionals will sometimes take weeks to pick their parts but with this solution you can do it in under an hour. Many IT specialists have found this to be very useful in their work. So now even the most non-computer fluent folks will be able to pick their parts with confidence. It will even give you a cost for the whole build based on what vendors you want to work with. Don't worry, it is free. They get paid by linking the products to the different vendors websites using affiliate links. So your experience will not be slowed down by ads and fees. Just hop on and build a PC quickly and with confidence. You can even see the computers other people have put together and posted up with pictures and more.
Install and Update Multiple Programs Quickly
Ninite - Ninite will allow you to install and update multiple pieces of software all at once. It also will bypass all of the bogus add-ons that those pieces of software will try to get you to install. This tool allows you to do hours worth of work in minutes. You can even have it update other pieces of software that isn't in the bundle of software that it doesn't work with by default. It will keep your Java Runtime up to date which is very useful because if you don't keep that updated you can be in for quite a lot of problems with malware and viruses. Visiting their website will show you a massive list of software that it works with by default. Many of the programs you will have heard of but many will be new to you and they are wonderful software solutions. My favorite being CutePDF that allows you to print items to PDF which is very useful. It can allow you to print PowerPoint items to be then used in PhotoShop so that you don't lose any resolution from the vector items in the file. This allows you to do all sorts of fancy things.
Select the software you want to have installed and then download the installer and it will install all of those items for you automatically without you having to mess with any of it.
Uninstall Programs and Remove All Traces of Their Existence
Revo Uninstaller - When uninstalling programs, you will find that there are many items left behind. Many times in the registry. Some programs don't come with uninstallers so that is an even bigger problem. Many programs also will attempt to startup automatically when your PC turns on and this can become quite a nightmare if you have a lot of those auto starting programs. With Revo Uninstaller you can stop that from happening easily with their tools. You can even shred files instead of deleting them for a more secure deletion process. This program will help you secure your work computer so that it operates at full potential by removing the things that can make your computer not operate as well as it could.
Motels can become very expensive solutions when traveling for work. There are two fantastic solutions that you can use to minimize housing issue costs and hassles.
PadMapper - If you or someone you know is trying to find an apartment when moving to a new area for work you can use PadMapper. PadMapper is fantastic in that it scours the internet for different housing listings and even will allow you to filter your search by rooms, cost, pet allowances, and more. The best part is that it populates this information on top of Google Maps. So no more hunting around on Craigslist and all of the other various websites to find housing, you can just go there and find housing.
If you are just traveling and don't want to stay in a hotel you have two more amazing options. You can stay with someone and not have to pay by couch surfing or you can pay a little bit and stay in a house or apparent for a short period of time using airbnb.
CouchSurfing.org - Couch Surfing is a great way to meet new people on your travels and be able to see the areas better than you could if you had just stayed in a hotel. Plus it is free to stay with the people. It is a small cost to get activated into the system but otherwise you are good to go. You will see reviews of the people who have stayed with the people listed so that you are sure not to get stuck with a crazy person. You will be safe using this solution and many thousands of other people have used it before you.
Airbnb - Airbnb is a website that connects you with people who are wanting to rent out spaces or entire houses. This is useful if you want to find something that is more homey and different than a motel or hotel. Plus it is most likely going to be a lower cost to stay in. It is a very secure system so no worries there.
Legally Compliant Business Setup Outsourcing
Harbor Compliance - If you are like most people, you don't have your head in the legal space all of the time and setting up a business that is legally compliant can be quite difficult. The problem is that every state and city has different rules for what you must do. It can be quite hectic and dangerous to set up a business all on your own. It is much easier to outsource that work to someone that knows better.
If you do want to do it yourself you can but you do not have to. In either case, Harbor Compliance has you covered. If you are wanting to setup a non-profit that is even more dangerous to do on your own. Not just because of legal implications but because if you don't do it right from the start you are most likely not going to get the paperwork passed through without rejection. It can take months to get government agencies to OK or deny the paperwork and that is too much time to waste if you don't have it done correctly the first time. Most people who will want to start a non-profit will not even be interested in business and therefore will be even more confused about the whole process.
Harbor Compliance has a massive set of information ready for you to use on your own if you want to go it alone. They have information listed for all 50 states. You can hire a lawyer to do this work but they are going to cost you much more and if you hire an accountant to do some of it that is also going to run you quite a large bill. I highly recommend using Harbor Compliance to get your business setup. They can even do your business name registration. They have assured me that if you need a Trademark done, you can ask them and they will have someone they can confidently pass the work to that will accomplish the work well.
Just Works - If you want to hire someone, you most likely have considered how much frustration that will cause you. There are all sorts of legal papers and then you have to have them signed up for the unemployment situation and all sorts of other things. The amount of time it takes to do this for one employee is going to be frustrating for a startup or small business. There is now a great solution for this. They will take care of the unemployment situation, workers comp., and all of the rest of the items. At the time of this writing, they are even working on getting 401K services setup for you so that you don't have to mess with it. The prices are amazing. Right now, for the most advanced scenario, they are charging $75 per month per employee. That is a steal considering if you work 3 hours at $25 to set up an employee a month, they have already started saving you time and money. To be fully compliant legally, it can be quite time consuming and they do this for a living.
Quick and Easy Screencast Recording and Sharing (video recordings of your screen actions)
Screenr - Many times taking screenshots and emailing them to people is just not effective to do. With Screenr you can quickly capture your screen actions on video to show people what you are trying to tell them. You can show problems, make quick tutorials, and more with it. You can share the link of your screencast capture with others quickly and easily as you would share a YouTube link. There are paid plans but you are able to do a lot with the free version such as making quick videos. It will even record audio from a microphone.
Professional Screencast Production Solutions
Screencast-o-matic - This solution is low cost and all online. It enables you to record your screencasts and edit them all in one shot. This is an online solution and at the time of this writing, it costs $12 per year, which is a steal of a low cost. It produces HD recordings and the editing tools are fantastic. If you need something lower cost than the other professional tools such as Camtasia, this is the solution for you.
Camtasia - This solution is a bit more pricey at around $300 but it is spectacular in performance. It is made by Tech Smith and their tutorials are wonderful and extremely comprehensive. The interface is easy to use and you are able to layer multiple layers of video and audio at a time. It has an enormous amount of functionality. The screencast recorder is able to record hours of HD video without bogging down your computer all that much and the files are not as big as you would think they would end up being. They have done a wonderful job optimizing the whole process of recording and editing the video. At the time of writing this they have a nice 30 day full functioning trial version of the software. I would definitely give it a try if you are wanting to make some spectacular videos for your website users or your clients for making tutorials and walkthroughs and even demo videos with pan and zoom features in it. You can fuzz out and obscure things, do picture in picture, and much much more. I'm not even trying to hype up the software. It just is so very capable of doing what you need for screencasts.
Screencast-o-matic VS Camtasia Comparison Video
Website Walk-through Tools
If you have ever wanted to walk someone through a website vs just showing them a video or screenshots you can use something new that will allow you to build interactive walkthroughs for your website.
- http://appcues.com/ (mobile friendly)
Imgur - There are many image hosting solutions out there however Imgur is one of the best and most popular for tech folks to use. You can drag and drop your images, you can crop, you can create galleries in various different formats, and more. It is a powerful solution and if you need to have a professional account you can do that for a very reasonable cost. If you want short links and a dependable image service that won't mess up on you, this is the solution for you.
Affordable Cloud File Hosting - Great for Teams
If you have a lot of files you need to share and keep updated with your team, there are a variety of solutions. Two wonderful solutions are DropBox and Google Drive. They both are useful for their own purposes. You will need to figure out what you need for your situation in order to pick the right one for you. Google Drive is free to a point and so is Dropbox.
Google Drive however is an extremely affordable and powerful solution. It allows you to have forms and other useful document types used with it as well as installing apps to it. For $4 a month, you can purchase 20GB of space. You can purchase up to 16TB however. That is a massive amount of space that most will not see on their computers even. One TB is massive, but 16 is a whole lot. You most likely will not be running out of space with this solution.
Direct Mailing Solutions
Modern Methods - These folks are able to design and direct mail under their license to the demographics you need to be mailing to. An all in one solution for anyone coast to coast. They are based in Peoria IL but are able to mail nationally. If you don't know what to put on your post cards for marketing, they can help you with that. Don't have a list? They can help you with that. Don't have a license to mail under? They can do that under theirs. A great solution for anyone trying out the direct mailing marketing solution.
Got Print - A great printing solution also has a direct mail marketing solution for you as well. Check out all of their information.
Post Office - If you don't want to use a service, you can always go it alone and use the USPS service that does direct mailing. You can pick out routes and such using their tools. You will have to look into all of the license issues and such on your own if you choose this route. It is a very affordable service however. You can hit a huge route for around $100 sometimes. That is a lot of people. You can choose by financials and such using their tools.
Imprintable Promotional Products
Modern Methods - If you need high end quality products such as pocket knives and golf bags and various other products that you can imprint your logo onto, I would recommend using Modern Methods. They have a massive catalog of items to choose from to be imprinted on.
Cafe Press - If you want to have something printed on mugs, shirts, mousepads, and more you can check these guys out. They are great but the pricing may be something that sways you from using them. Pay attention to the pricing setup here.
Cafepress is the old standby people have been using for years. Their pricing isn't awesome so you can use one of the other amazing solutions such as Spreadshirt or another favorite, Platt's Printing based out of Peoria IL. All of them have amazing quality and will last for years even going through the wash. I have multiple shirts from Cafepress that have been worn and washed multiple times over the years and you really can't tell. The shirts themselves are of great quality. I was given the great opportunity to work with Platt's Printing before and they printed some wonderful t-shirts for a dance contest. The color prints on them are very durable and very light in feel. It isn't that heavy rubberized stuff you get with some cheap shirts at Walmart. It wears and washes and the colors don't fade.
Dropcards - This solution enables you to sell your software, music albums, eBooks, and anything else in person to person situations. You don't have to haul around all that merchandise anymore. You sell them a dropcard that has a download link and access code and they are ready to go. You make money right away and you will stop losing sales because people will not have to remember where to go buy your items. They already did buy the item from you in person. They just have to go grab it online using the instructions that are on the card. They are stylish and can come in a business card form or many other shapes and forms. Low cost as well.
Augmentedev - Stop trying to explain what your product looks like and show them using this amazingly easy to use augmented visualization tool. Upload a 3D model of your product at scale and then print off the tracking pattern. You can print it on a business card or a piece of paper. You can sell your giant machine shop products easy now that they can see what it will look like in full 3D right there in their machine shop. All you need is a mobile device such as a phone or tablet to load the app onto. It is a low cost solution to putting a real 3D object in their hands that they can twist and turn and look around with ease. Don't worry if you don't have a 3D model. We have some help for that. You can either scan in a 3D model of your product using 123D Catch by Autodesk -or- you can model it up using Autodesks easy to use 3D modeling program called 123D Design.
If you are looking for more solutions, you can look around the website some more or book a consultation appointment. With just one hour of time with us, you will be able to learn how to lower your overhead costs and how to make more money. Hop on over to the "Operational Processes Strategy Consultation Service" page for three more great solutions and book a consultation session today using our easy to use booking page.