It’s a great decade to be an entrepreneur in Canada. There are new funding models such as crowd funding which are becoming more acceptable, mentors are becoming more available, and startups are celebrated. If you are an entrepreneur, you also have a broad range of business management tools which are more affordable, user friendly and sophisticated than ever before.
Software as a Service provides small business owners and managers access to information everywhere. Whether you prefer to work in a coffee shop, your home office or a co-working facility, Cloud based applications like QuickBooks Online are giving users the choice of where to work, which device to use, and makes being up to date with the latest version of software a breeze. If the Canada Revenue Agency has come out with new tax laws or if there are new accounting practices to make life easier, Intuit simply lets the subscriber know about the new functionality, and it is immediately available. No need to upgrade, or go to the store, or install new software on your hard drive.
If you are putting together a business or marketing plan, there are great resources available such as
- StratPad – An iPad app for creating a business plan and being accountable to your business goals, balanced scorecards and business strategy templates
- Business In a Box – Downloadable templates for Mac/PC for thousands of documents including marketing plans, sales documents, press releases, legal documents including non disclosure agreements and more.
Many service based entrepreneurs are on the go every day. Here are some great apps for your smartphone that can keep you organized, connected, and profitable:
- Note taking apps – Evernote, LivingOrganized and Google Keep
- Credit card processing – Square’s credit card appliance that plugs into your smartphone, PayPal
- Business card/contact capture: ABBYY Business Card Reader, CardMunch and CamCard
- Receipt/Invoice capture and expense filing – ShoeBoxed, Neat Receipts/ Neat Cloud and Wave
It is important to be active online both contributing blogs, updates, and Web content, however it is just as important to be aware of what is being said about you and your company online. Some of the best free/affordable tools to streamline Social Media contributions and for maintaining your reputation include
- HootSuite – for scheduling tweets and updates, managing multiple Social Media channels and monitoring subject matter important to your business.
- Sprout Social – similar to HootSuite, engage your Social Media channels, analyze results
- Social Mention– see what is being said on social media on a number of topics, no subscription required.
For freelancers or solopreneurs that are looking for projects, here are a few of the most popular sources of opportunities:
What other online tools have you found helpful as an business owner? Let us know in the comments below.