9 Free Business Productivity Tools For Startups

9 Free Business Productivity Tools For Startups


Starting a business can be a daunting endeavor, especially if all you have is a cool product and not enough capital. In the tech world, or in any other niche for that matter, most startuppers fail not because they have bad products but because they are unable to generate enough consumer interest in their products. 

Considering overheads and other back-office expenses, this scenario doesn’t come as a surprise. So if you’re still starting out and find yourself strapped for much needed funding to keep your startup afloat, the following free business productivity tools are worth checking out.

# 1. Bitrix24.com

If you need a collaboration tool your staff are most likely to adopt with relative ease and minimum training, take the social intranet route.

Bitrix24.com is the fastest growing social intranet that’s free for businesses with 12 employees or less. The application comes as a combination of several different work tools like CRM, project management, real-time streaming, activity planner, file sharing, to name just a few. As it is cloud-based, access can be anywhere, whether using your computer or smartphone. An upgrade to unlimited users starts at $99 per month.

# 2. GotFreeFax.com

In this era of e-mail

Innovative Tricks To Grow And Operate A Prosperous Surplus Steel Business

Innovative Tricks To Grow And Operate A Prosperous Surplus Steel Business

steeA surplus metal business owner shows his or her devotion to the future success of the American surplus steel and sheet metal distributor by making decisions that can protect it when the economy takes a nosedive. Businesses succeed because the owners are passionate about their surplus alloy business. This publication was designed to bring you excellent techniques and tactics that can increase your chances of being successful in surplus sheet metal business.

Building a new American surplus steel and sheet metal distributor is challenging, whether you are new to the process or a seasoned professional. Before you roll up your sleeves and get to work, be certain to research the field thoroughly and educate yourself about it. Think ahead and lay a great foundation, and you will likely be in a position to create a prosperous surplus metal business. The web is a bevy of online resources which could put you at an advantage.

A lucrative American surplus steel and sheet metal distributor is one that provides the highest quality products and services. When you offer such incomparable products and services, you will notice a dramatic increase in sales and related growth of

12 Tips for Better Business Writing

12 Tips for Better Business Writing

ASToday’s business world is almost entirely information-driven. Whether you run a small business or occupy a small corner of the org-chart at a massive multinational corporation, chances are that the bulk of your job consists of communicating with others, most often in writing. Of course there’s email and the traditional business letter, but most business people are also called on to write presentations, memos, proposals, business requirements, training materials, promotional copy, grant proposals, and a wide range of other documents.

Here’s the rub: most business people have little experience with writing. While those with business degrees probably did a bit of writing in school, it’s rarely stressed in business programs, and learning to write well is hardly the driving force behind most people’s desire to go to business school. Those without a university background might have never been pushed to write at all, at least since public school.

If you’re one of the many people in business for whom writing has never been a major concern, you should know that a lack of writing skills is a greater and greater handicap with every passing year. Spending some time to improve your writing can result

3 Advantages of Investing in a Modular Office

3 Advantages of Investing in a Modular Office

To describe opening a small business as “difficult” would be an understatement. Given the litany of complications associated with small business ownership, it’s a wonder so many brave entrepreneurs still try their hand at it. Things can become even more cumbersome if no existing structure is equipped to house your new business. This is where modular offices enter the equation. If your search for the right store or office space has proven fruitless, consider the benefits of these convenient structures.

1. Low Construction Costs

Having a brand new building constructed for your business is guaranteed to eat up a substantial amount of money. Even a small or mid-sized structure will cost – at minimum – several hundred-thousand dollars to complete. Modular structures, on the other hand, are considerably less expensive to build. Since they’re constructed in controlled environments through assembly line labor – and the materials used to build them are purchased in bulk – modular offices have far fewer overhead costs than traditional buildings. In other words, anyone looking for discounts on modular buildings shouldn’t have any trouble finding them.

2. Expedient Construction Times

In addition to being less expensive than

4 Main Benefits of Using Airless Paint Sprayer Machines

4 Main Benefits of Using Airless Paint Sprayer Machines

Many professional home improvement contractors begin using more and more paint sprayer machines because of the huge advantages these machines bring. These tools are much more effective for large scale projects and undoubtedly can paint the surfaces much more effective than traditional rollers or brushes. If you have heard about these airless paint sprayers but still hesitate about their effectiveness, read the advantages below and then make your decision.

1 – Speed and Efficiency

If you have ever tried painting anything with traditional means of painting such as brushes and rollers, then you definitely know how much time it takes to finish the project. Moreover, remember about the problems arising from the uneven painted walls in the end. With Graco spray machine you can forget about spending hours over painting a wall or just imagine the whole house, because with the use of sprayer machines you can finish the same project 10 times faster. Furthermore, there is no need in breathing in harmful paint particles over a long period of time so with paint sprayers you save both time and health!

2 – Uniform Application

Paint sprays are also perfect for walls that

The 10 Best Business Travel Tips

The 10 Best Business Travel Tips

Still, I’m a relative newbie, having just under four years of experience. While I’ve collected a few do’s, don’ts and lessons learned along the way, the best list of travel tips I know of is the one by Dan Pink, author of four bestselling books, including his latest hit Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

Dan’s been collecting and posting video tips for almost two years, and he recently added the tenth tip. Here they are, in chronological order.

Tip #1: Stop the germs. Airplanes are cauldrons of bacteria and viruses, but with an ounce of prevention you can stop the germs cold (pardon the pun). You’ll need a small bottle of hand sanitizer and tube of Bacitracin. Sanitize your hands, then put a dab of Bacitracin on your finger tip and use it to coat the inside of one nostril. Repeat for the other nostril. Doctor-recommended, this wards off all the evil sick-makers.

Tip #2: Bring down the noise. Forget the expensive, noise-canceling, bulky headphones. Get some E-A-R soft foam disposable earplugs. There are five good reasons why these trump other solutions: they’re far cheaper, far less bulky (thus easier to pack), easy to replace, takeoff- and landing-friendly (non electronic),

10 Business Skills Creative Professionals Need to Succeed

10 Business Skills Creative Professionals Need to Succeed

Approaching your job as a writer, designer or photographer with a little business acumen can give you more time to ply your craft, more brain power to fuel your creativity and more money in your bank account. The following tips can help build your business expertise.

Hit the Books

Don’t just sharpen your creative skills; feed your brain with knowledge applicable to all industries. James Nolen, lecturer at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, suggests taking at least one basic business course from a community college or continuing-education program. “Learn about business models and business jargon,” Nolen says. Then you can speak the same language as the people you support.

Understand the Market and the Brand

Do your homework. “Nearly all design work is done to either sell a product or service, yet too many creative types don’t know much about business,” says Los Angeles photographer Mark Robert Halper. Ask questions and coordinate a strategy that will enhance the brand — and business. If you’re a contractor, research the company.

Aim for the Bottom Line

The goal may be to increase sales in a certain area or deflect attention from, say, negative news coverage. But before putting together a strategic plan,

Five tips for starting an online business

Five tips for starting an online business

For every thriving online business there are dozens that fade into cyber obscurity. Rather than rely on luck, we ask the experts for their secrets to success.

Daniel Jovevski, founder of Switchmyloan.com.au and named one of Perth’s 100 Most Influential Small Business Leaders in 2013 by Nifnex newspaper, says the first step is market-testing your idea.

“Your product or service should solve one acute pain point that people face. Just like throwing spaghetti on the wall, find the one idea that sticks. Test, improve, and constantly feed information back into the feedback loop to build a better product or service,” says Jovevski.

“For us that meant creating a concept called ‘Rate Contender’ that allowed customers to put their home loan up for auction to the lowest bidder.”


Jovevski learnt the hard way that the second step – finding your customers – is more about “locating your tribe” than “attacking the mass market.”

“After spending a fortune on Google Ads, we realised we were targeting the wrong people, so we pivoted to a social media strategy that involved videos, hints and tips, and where we would all get on camera and engage with the audience,” says Jovevski.

“The results were surprising – our biggest fans were middle-aged

How to Become a Fruit & Vegetable Trader

How to Become a Fruit & Vegetable Trader

Growing awareness of the physical value of a diet filled with produce is good news for anyone interested in starting a small business venture as a produce trader, whether you grow the fruits and vegetables yourself or not. Traders plant and harvest the produce or purchase in bulk from local farmers and make a profit selling at local markets and fairs. Even a small, backyard garden can get you started as a trader.

Getting Started

Step 1

Contact your state, county and local governments to find out what business licenses fruit and vegetable vendors need. Business licenses and requirements vary by state and community. Food-handling training and licenses and a resale tax license might be required. Contact your local health department about food handling and your state and local business licensing and regulations department to obtain licensing applications.

Step 2

Grow or buy the fruits and vegetables. Local farmers sell their crops in bulk to traders, or you can learn to grow your own and harvest them for sale. Traders usually divide bulk purchases into smaller containers and price the smaller amounts for resale. Investigate what competitors are selling produce for before settling on the right price to charge customers.

Step 3

Choose the ways to sell

10 Tips for a Strong Start

10 Tips for a Strong Start

As someone who has been called a serial entrepreneur, I’ve had more than my fair share of experience starting new enterprises, turning around underperforming enterprises or re-vamping operations.

During that time, I’ve learned a thing or two about some critical factors you absolutely need to know before you jump into the proverbial entrepreneurial waters.

In the majority of cases, start-up success or failure is all about knowing the both the how and the why of taking action, and always being clear about which steps to take next.

To help this process, here are 10 essential things you need to know about running a successful business. Use it as a checklist to make sure your thinking and your business plan are on the right track, or if you need to get more information, strategic education or clarity for yourself on your overall vision, your market, or your product or service.

  1. Offer what people want to buy, not just what you want to sell. Too often, people jump into a business built around a product or service they think will be successful, rather than one that is already proven to have a market.

    What do I mean?

    Instead of creating and selling a new sports shoe with the

Top 7 Tips For Starting A Catering Business

Top 7 Tips For Starting A Catering Business

Catering is as an evergreen business proposition. Most catering businesses start because a person’s cooking hobby has won praises from family and friends, but the majority get shut within a few months due to lack of proper business planning. Catering is not just cooking and serving, it involves many factors related to business operations. This article discusses the important ones necessary to succeed with your own catering enterprise.

Top Tips for Catering Business

While maintaining quality, taste, hygiene and freshness in the food is of paramount importance to any catering, it is equally important to look at other aspects of the business.

  1. Get Prior Hands-on Experience: Before starting on your own, it is always better to get a hands-on experience with reputable caterers. Such direct work offers real exposure to small details, risks, challenges, bottlenecks and grey areas of the catering business, without you making a large financial investment on your own. This experience will not only help you learn the tricks of the trade, but will also serve as an opportunity for a realistic self-assessment about your preparedness and temperament for catering.
  2. Monetary Assessment: How will you attract clients to get orders (advertising and marketing)? Where will the staples and other food ingredients

10 Business Development Techniques to Grow Sales Fast

10 Business Development Techniques to Grow Sales Fast

Time to crank up sales. Thankfully, the economy is starting to heat up, and as such, it may be an ideal time to learn how to crank up your sales.

For a little guidance, I give you 10 lessons from John Whitehead, the fabulously successful former chairman of Goldman Sachs. Besides climbing to the top of the corporate ladder and making billons for his firm, Whitehead stormed the beach at Normandy on D-Day. We should memorize his pearls of wisdom:

1. Don’t waste your time going after business you don’t really want.

We hired a mechanical engineer from West Point this month to help us grow sales. His focus is to help manufacturing engineers in industrial S&P 500 companies understand why Marlin Steel, my company, is better than our competitors. Why? Our clients are not marketing companies, nor are they point of purchase display companies. These folks don’t appreciate quality and engineering. Instead, they are looking for the lowest price. Make sure you point your sales and marketing team in the right direction for profitable business.

2. The boss usually decides–not the assistant treasurer (or the intern).

Selling to the right person, the decision maker, is critical. Many times engineering interns will reach out to Marlin

10 Resources To Upgrade Your Grammar And Writing Skills

10 Resources To Upgrade Your Grammar And Writing Skills

English grammar is something that is treasured by everyone. We all want to improve on our grammar skills so that we are able to communicate with some level of mastery. Being able to construct grammatically correct sentences is not only seen as a skill but as a treasure that everyone yearns for. It is because of this that grammar lovers have created online channels that can help an individual enhance their English grammar skills so that they can be fluent when they speak the language. In addition to improving your grammar, the websites can also assist you while improving on your writing skills, so that you can dazzle people with your accurate and correctly constructed sentences.

So here’s a list of ten free online resources that can help an individual improve their English grammar and writing skills.

1. EssayMama’s Essay Writing Guide

The writing guide is perfectly suited for young writers and the students. The user community of this site is made up of persons who are just at the beginning of their writing experience and are most likely looking to get some basic information about English grammar and writing.

With EssayMama’s Essay Writing Guide you can expect to gain a lot of tips and advice that is designed

10 Tips For Choosing A Domain Name For Your Business

10 Tips For Choosing A Domain Name For Your Business

bReady to move your business online? Be prepared – finding an effective, affordable and available domain name for your business can quickly turn into an exercise in compromise, disappointment and frustration. Be patient, flexible, and follow these 10 guidelines to find the best online address for your business.

  1. Align your domain with your brand and vice a versa: If you’re starting a new business, research available domains before committing to a business name.
  2. Find a unique domain name: complete a Google search of possible domain names before purchasing to make sure that you’re not competing with a prominent brand or unknowingly affiliated with unsavory websites.
  3. Try to find a .com. They are still the standard for business use. However, if a .com is not possible, from an SEO perspective, other gTLD (Generic Top Level Domains) work just as well. New gTLDs are becoming available all of the time.
  4. Your domain doesn’t have to contain your keywords: although it can help with branding, it is no longer tied to improved search rankings*.

*Note: Officially, Google says that it is not a ranking factor, however, some SEOs claim that it still offers a small

Developing an Article Marketing Strategy for Your Online Business

Developing an Article Marketing Strategy for Your Online Business

Developing an unbeatable article marketing strategy is one of the proven methods to increase traffic to your webiste. In this article I will review just a few article marketing strategies and tips which should help you achieve good outcome in less time.

Generally, bringing the proper article marketing strategy into a business is, for most people, a BIG struggle. Many don’t know how to do it or where to start. Let’s review the first strategy, which is very powerful if used accordingly and professionally. It doesn’t matter what your purpose of article marketing is; however, you must have a clear strategy that ultimately leads to results. It doesn’t matter if you are just aiming to get leads, present your business opportunity, sell a product, write reviews for products or are trying to get more visitors to your website, you first need a strategy.

You want to plan a series of articles for ezine, hubpages, squidoo or blogs in your niche. Theoretically, you can submit articles to all the sites during a series. Plan at least 30 – 60 days for a series where you will be creating 25 – 50 articles. You can write 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or whatever your

How to Start a Business Online

How to Start a Business Online

There is a proven sequence of steps you can follow to guarantee your success when you’re starting a small business online. I’ve seen thousands of people start and grow successful businesses by doing the following:

  1. Find a need and fill it.
  2. Write copy that sells.
  3. Design and build an easy-to-use website.
  4. Use search engines to drive traffic to your site.
  5. Establish an expert reputation for yourself.
  6. Follow up with your customers and subscribers with e-mail.
  7. Increase your income through back-end sales and upselling.

Anyone, from newbie to seasoned online entrepreneur, can benefit from this process in learning how to start a business online.

Step 1: Find a need and fill it

Most people who are just starting out make the mistake of looking for a product first, and a market second.

To boost your chances of success, start with a market. The trick is to find a group of people who are searching for a solution to a problem, but not finding many results. The internet makes this kind of market research easy:

  • Visit online forums to see what questions people ask and what problems they’re trying to solve.
  • Do keyword research to find keywords that a lot of people are searching, but for which not many sites are competing.
  • Check out your potential

Stress Management Tips for Online Shop Admins

Stress Management Tips for Online Shop Admins

I received the following question from one of my WP Membership Plugin customers the other night. I decided to write a post on this as I think this will equally help an online shop admin or a blogger in general.

“I only have a handful of customers and my stress level goes through the roof from time to time trying to deal with them. How do you manage stress with so many customers?”

Having a lot of customers is a blessing but it also comes at the price of an increased stress level. I try to follow a simple list of stress management tips to manage my daily stress. This list of stress management tips is divided into two categories:

  • Tips that I regularly follow
  • Tips that I would like to follow more often

Stress Management Tips That I Regularly Follow

  1. Don’t over commit: We often take on more than we can actually do. That leads to overwork, stress, and missed deadlines. Take on only as much as you can handle without too much stress.
  2. Learn to say no: This can be a little hard at times but in order to avoid over committing, you need to learn to turn down projects and requests from

How to Manage Time With 10 Tips That Work

How to Manage Time With 10 Tips That Work

Chances are good that, at some time in your life, you’ve taken a time management class, read about it in books, and tried to use an electronic or paper-based day planner to organize, prioritize and schedule your day. “Why, with this knowledge and these gadgets,” you may ask, “do I still feel like I can’t get everything done I need to?”

The answer is simple. Everything you ever learned about managing time is a complete waste of time because it doesn’t work.

Before you can even begin to manage time, you must learn what time is. A dictionary defines time as “the point or period at which things occur.” Put simply, time is when stuff happens.

There are two types of time: clock time and real time. In clock time, there are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. All time passes equally. When someone turns 50, they are exactly 50 years old, no more or no less.

In real time, all time is relative. Time flies or drags depending on what you’re doing. Two hours at the department of motor vehicles can feel like 12 years. And yet our

10 Tech Gadgets to Help Manage Your Business

10 Tech Gadgets to Help Manage Your Business

When it comes to tech, it pays to think small. Whether you work on the road, in the corner of your garage or from a tiny rented office, space is at a premium for startups. And in the guerrilla struggle of taking on your bigger competitors, you’ll want to be able to move fast and light.

Luckily, startups are built for this kind of action. With the right combination of tools–including low-footprint tablets and pocket-size peripherals–you should be able to find most everything you need to run your business out of a backpack.

Here’s our big list of little tools that can make your small business a huge success.

  1. iPad 2
    True Apple devotees might write off the iPad 2 as last year’s news, but don’t be fooled. This is still the tablet to get for slimness and size. It’s actually thinner than the new iPad, but the screen is still plenty bright and clear. And, starting at $399, the iPad 2 is a hundred bucks cheaper than Apple’s latest model. That’s actually a great value considering it gives businesses just about everything they would want in a tablet. The iPad 2 is small enough to easily slide into a briefcase or

10 Tips for Starting a Home-Based Food Business

10 Tips for Starting a Home-Based Food Business
  1. Learn the regulations and requirements for your state and county. Your first step is to determine the rules for a home-based food business in your area. Some states, such as California, have a law that allows home-based food businesses meeting certain criteria to bypass being certified as a commercial kitchen.

“There are state and local requirements for running a business out of the home, especially if it is a food business, including zoning, business licensing and permitting, and in the food context also production and safety requirements depending on the product,” says John Gerber, lawyer with Upstart Legal. “Failure to do this correctly will jeopardize the company’s ability to produce and sell product.”

  1. There has to be a market for your business to be successful. You could have the best cupcakes on the planet or the tastiest dry rub ever invented, but if there is not a market for your product, then you will not be able to make revenue on your product. Chef Veronica Rains, co-owner of Wholesome Chow and author of Sell Your Organic Food Product recommends doing focus groups, making small batches with inexpensive packaging and selling your products to a few retail locations before fully

5 Ways to Protect Your Business During a Divorce

5 Ways to Protect Your Business During a Divorce

Getting a divorce can be one of the most emotionally devastating times in your life. Combine this with running your own business and next thing you know, your life has become extremely stressful. I know, because I’ve been there.

If you’re going through the a divorce, here are some important financial steps to take to protect yourself and your business.

1. Get Organized

The first step when dealing with a divorce as a business owner is to get organized and find a lawyer who can help you take the right steps.

Gather all your financial documents, business and bank statements, agreements, and other information that pertains to your business and marriage. Any debts and assets you and the business owns will have to be calculated and divided up. Examine all the bank accounts and documents, as you don’t want to be out of the loop in a situation like this.

Depending on the state you live in, and whether or not you signed a prenup, you and your spouse could be forced to split the business profits — and everything else — 50/50. If you and your spouse work in the business together, the operating agreements should outline directions for each spouse to protect themselves