Being a business startup can be an exciting time; it can be so exciting, it can get positively hair-raising sometimes when you know you need to save on expenses, and everything you look at seems like an essential. Here are a bunch of great free (or nearly so) initial traction for business ideas that will help you really to save expenses and directs them somewhere they will be a lot more useful.
Let’s start with Demandbase. This is an inexpensive tool that checks the IP address of every visitor on your website. It looks up those IP addresses on a database to find out what major corporation it belongs to, and gives you a list. If you run a successful startup in fast food for instance, and demand base lets you see that there are visits to your website from the Microsoft building down the street, and an important defense supplier on the next block, you know that there is interest there, and you can try calling them or advertise for them. They’ll give you a list of all the companies that have been visiting you, and for less than two dollars, they’ll give you the name and contact information of some lead in the company that they believe was doing the visiting.
A phone tree happens to be a great time sink for anyone at a small business trying to call a big corporation to reach someone. Get Fonolo instead. This little tool has the entire phone tree in several hundred companies mapped out. You just get the app from your iPhone, look up the exact desk at the company you’re interested in on the screen and the device will put you through to the desired desk in 10 seconds. If you went the straight route, you’d probably be on hold for at least three minutes. Now still on phones, what if you need a phone tree for your small business? That could be an expensive investment. Use Google Phone instead. Not only is it free inside Gmail, it allows you to receive a call in the program, and at the touch of a button transfer it to any cell phone without disruption. All the receptionist would have to do would be, to say to a caller, “Would you mind holding, let me put you through to the person in charge”, and the person in charge of the department in question would have his cell phone ring right away. Who needs a phone tree anymore?
Hiring a coder to make or customize software for your business can be an expensive proposition. How about hiring on TopCoder direct instead? It’s like eBay. You just go on the website and put in your requirements, and watch the offers pour in. You could probably get a website done for a couple of thousand dollars.
And finally, for harried business startups that do all the packing and shipping from home, think of how efficient and inexpensive things could get outsourcing fulfillment to Amazon. All you need to do is sign up to be an Amazon merchant; you will still buy and own your inventory, but Amazon will take care of the logistics. They will give you their free Super Saver shipping and all you do is pay a monthly fee. Think of how much time it could save you.