Best FREE online tools for week 1 of your new Business

So you have decided to take the plunge; you are going to start a new business! You have a plan, a great idea, a product or service. You’ve planned it and now you need to get online and tell the world.

But… you don’t have thousands of dollars, you don’t have an investor, you don’t have staff or a community expert and you need to start somewhere..

So what do you do? Do you blog? Facebook? Tweet? Google or Pin? The options are endless and frankly overwhelming.

So here is a layman’s list. Its a place to start. This is not a “best for everyone list” but it should cut down on at least a bit of the clutter when you first launch. Don’t stress this is all changeable but at least you’ll have something.

1. Your Image: Start with a common logo/user name. Use the same for all sites/blogs etc… Initially use the same personal photo (if you are showing the world what you look like) for consistency. Remember no one knows you so at least this way they will recognize you or your logo or colours or whatever. The “artistic crops” of your face are cool but only to your friends. Initially just pick something easy and put it everywhere. When you change it – change it everywhere, don’t stress too much about it to start. If you don’t have a logo – a coloured block with initials in it is easy.

2. A Website or Blog: There are a thousand places for both and the one you pick kind of depends on what you do. If you are more of a consulting firm selling “advice” then perhaps a blog like this one where you can show off your knowledge is a good idea. If you have a product maybe you should consider a website where you can show images of product and give people the chance to shop on your site. For a blog go with the one of the two companies everyone talks about… WordPress.com or Blogger. Its easy, the free designs are basic and uncomplicated and you can always move this content or connect this content at a later date if you decide to go the web site route. If you are creating a website, think about how to creatively differentiate yourself. It matters. You have 5 seconds to make a good impression to people who hit your site. Posterous and Square Space are both great options but Square Space does incur a bit of cost.

3. Twitter: you need to start talking to your clients and network… get on twitter. Its free and everyone else is on there. Don’t underestimate this one. But note this – link your blog and when you publish it will appear on twitter. Also link your Facebook page (if you have one) so that you are automatically posting a tweet whenever you put up an article.

4. A Facebook Page: This one is a tough call, the reason is because there are very mixed results regarding how much business you will get via “likes”. Again this depends a bit on what you do. IF your business is about helping people, relationships… maybe you own a gym. You need a FB page. Your audience needs to be able to communicate with you. If you are consulting with larger firms perhaps this is not where you should be expending effort at this time.

5. Pinterest: Again this is a relationship builder and product selling tool. If you are a designer.. this is a must, if you are a chef, again a must. If you have a product again this is a must… Just remember when you post NEW content always have your website linked to it with a product price etc….

6. Google Plus: Again this one is becoming more prevalent and is more of a networking tool then a sales tool. I admit this is not a strong one for me at this time but I have it.

7. Linked In: I am assuming if you have ever had a job that you have a Linkedin profile. This is a requirement for B2B companies. This is not a must for a product sale but will be a good tool for networking with distributors or suppliers to make your product.

So you set up all these sites and oh my… you need to fill them all. You will figure out in minutes that this takes up a tonne of time. Between the Re-Tweets and the Shares and the Likes… you can easily spend all day on here.

So here is a tip… there are also many free tools for posting…. Hootsuite and others.. here is my suggestion.

8. Buffer: There is a free application you register for online called Buffer. You can download this to your computer. You need to spend some time on all of the media sites. Block off a set time each day, say 1 hour. Cruise through all the sites and re-tweet, chat, connect to, like anything that is relevant to what you do. With the buffer app you can grab content and “fill your buffer” which means that the app automatically posts on your behalf morning, noon and night for a few days. You can link both your FB and Twitter to it. Fill it up every few days. It will remind you when it needs filling via email. You can of course upgrade and pay for the chance to fill it further and link other accounts but the free version is again okay to start.

9. Klout: Last thing is Klout. This isn’t going to do anything for you but will tell you how you are doing regarding your reach. The more your Klout score increases the wider your net is expanding. Its pretty simple and a great way to see if what you are doing is working.

Lastly… don’t worry too much about all this to start. Just make sure that you spend time reaching out to get your name out there. These are the basic tools. There are many many many more, all with great attributes that expand your reach and are great addon’s when you are ready. But for the first week this is enough. Start small, don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Good luck!

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