Every day more and more entrepreneurs are building successful businesses using the internet. There is an abundance of opportunity online and depending on the venture, there is often less cost and risk involved when compared with traditional businesses. There is also a wealth of resources available to help the online entrepreneur to run a business more effectively and more profitably, and we list many of those resources here. Feel free to leave a comment with your feedback and your recommendations of other resources.
Communications / VoIP
The internet brings great opportunities to do business all with people from all around the world, and fortunately there are also a number of resources to help with the communication that is necessary. The resources here will allow you to communicate inexpensively with others:
1. Skype – Free calls over the internet to other people on Skype for as long as you like. 2. Vonage – Leading provider of VoIP internet broadband telephone services. 3. Gizmo – Low cost international calling and free calls to users on Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Windows Live users and SIP networks. 4. Vonics Digital – Plans start at $12.99 per month. 5. VoipBuster – Free program that uses the latest technology to bring free and high-quality voice communications to people all over the world. 6. SunISP – VoIP Plans
Anyone that has important of sensitive information on their computer needs to have a system in place for backing up the data. For online entrepreneurs a loss of data could be tragic. These resources will give you a number of options from which you can choose the one that is best for you. Backing up your hard drive can be done quickly, easily, and automatically:
1. Mozy – Industry-leading solution for online backup. 2. Intronis – Online backup solution with remote computer data backup software. 3. Carbonite – Unlimited online backup for one flat fee. 4. Data Deposit Box – Your source for online backup, and secure online data backup. 5. Athena Backup – Automatically backup your home computer files with Athena Backup. 6. Data Protection Services – Secure online backup services, free trial!
If you are sending and tracking invoices to customers, you may be able to save some time and make the process more efficient by using a program that is specifically designed for this purpose. These resources can help the organization of your invoicing and they can allow you to have more time to spend on what you do best:
1. Bamboo Invoice – Simple, Open Source, Online Invoicing. 2. FreshBooks – Online invoicing and time tracking service. 3. Transcepta – Electronic invoicing solution. 4. Blinksale – The easiest way to send invoices online. 5. InterlinQ Solutions – Providing a daily job report, time sheets, job tracking, construction reports and mobile billing. 6. Bill My Clients – Easy way to create and send invoices and bills to your clients. 7. Billing Orchard – Online electronic billing software application. 8. 2nd Site – Secure invoicing service w/ online invoice payment & online employee timesheets.
Financial Management and Accounting
Many online entrepreneurs and small businesses do not have the need to use an accounting system that is as complex as that of a larger business, but every business needs to have organized and accurate financial records. These resources will provide you with everything you need and can easily be used by anyone:
1. Intacct – Delivers ERP software as a service to small and midsize companies. 2. QuickBooks Online – Accounting Solutions for professionals and businesses. 3. Xero – Slash the hours you spend every week on accounting administration.
Time Management and Project Management
Time management is critical to achieving maximum productivity. In order to improve that time management of your business, try some of these resources. I think you will see that the resulting organization and efficiency will have a noticeable impact on the results of your work:
1. Google Calendar – Free online shareable calendar service. 2. Vitalist – Web based task manager designed to work with Getting Things Done (GTD). 3. Backpack – Personal and small business information management, intranet, and to do list organizer. 4. Basecamp – Web-based tool that lets you manage and track projects. 5. Goplan – Online project management app. 6. Copper Project – Project Management Software. 7. Side Job Track – Web-based job tracking, invoicing, reporting & project management software. 8. ActiTime – Free Time Tracking Software.
Online entrepreneurs typically have a very large number of contacts that they need to keep track of. These programs are specifically created to help you effectively manage your contacts. If you could use some improvement in this area, try some of these resources:
1. Big Contacts – Web Based Contact Manager for 2 to 2000 People. 2. Highrise – Shared contact manager. 3. BatchBook – Easy-to-use contact management system. 4. Relenta CRM – Small business CRM software. 5. Oprius – Sales and Contact Management Software for Independent Sales Consultants. 6. PipelineDeals – CRM made simple – $15/User/Month. 7. Zoho – Customer Relationship Management, on demand CRM. 8. Simple Sales Tracking – Web-based hosted CRM. 9. SugarCRM – Commercial Open Source CRM.
At some point you may have a need to hire freelancers of some type. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources online to help you find freelancers and identify the right one for your project. All of the websites listed here will allow you to search for freelancers according to your needs:
1. Elance – Outsourcing to Freelancers. 2. Guru – Free service helps you find freelancers, get free quotes, and get your project done. 3. SmarterWork – Top small business services marketplace. 4. Contracted Work – Work Jobs Freelance Search. 5. oDesk – Global service marketplace for small and medium sized businesses. 6. Get A Freelancer – Freelance programmers and web designers. 7. BizReef – Online Services platform.
Online Reputation Management Tools
Reputation management is a very hot topic online right now. As an entrepreneur, your reputation can have a serious impact on your success and you have a need to monitor your reputation and to make sure that what is being published is true. There are a variety of resources that can help in different ways:
1. claimID – Free, easy way to manage your online identity. 2. Google Alerts – Email updates of the latest relevant Google results. 3. Yahoo Alerts – Free, personalized notification service. 4. Technorati – Real-time search for user-generated media. 5. FindMeOn – Manage your circles of friends, family, colleagues and others. 6. myOpenID – Secure OpenID provider.
If you are taking online payments from customers or clients, you will need a way to make that happen. There are a number of different options, and the details of each can vary a good bit. Take a look at these options and see which is best for your situation:
1. PayPal – World renowned. 2. Google Checkout – Google’s way to send and receive money. 3. Neteller – Online payment solutions. 4. Moneybookers – Cheaper way to send and receive money worldwide. 5. iKobo – Pick up your money at over 1000000 Visa ATMs. 6. CheckFree – Provides financial electronic commerce services.
E-Commerce sites that are selling products to customers will need some type of shopping cart. There are a number of open source options listed below, as well as a number of other options. Hopefully you will find one that is well-suited to your needs:
1. Zen Cart – Free, user-friendly, open source shopping cart system. 2. osCommerce – Free online shop program. 3. AgoraCart – Free shopping cart. 4. OpenCart – Open source PHP-based online shopping cart system. 5. Ubercart – Open source e-commerce suite. 6. X-Cart – Shopping cart software & PHP ecommerce solutions. 7. NetSuite – Integrated web-based business software suite. 8. ZNode – ASP.NET shopping cart. 9. Fortune3 – Ecommerce Shopping cart software. 10. Network Solutions – Robust, customizable Ecommerce online shopping cart software. 11. Kick Start Cart – Business professionally over the Internet. 12. Secure Delivery – The best digital download management site on the net! 13. Magento – Open Source eCommerce Evolved!
Social networking sites can help entrepreneurs to find potential partners, get advice from other entrepreneurs, network with others around the world, and to simply get some exposure for their profile. Each networking site is a little bit different. You’ll never have the time to use all of them effectively, so find a few that have potential to help you the most and be actively involved:
1. Cofoundr – Cofoundr is a private community for entrepreneurs. 2. Fast Pitch Networking – Business Networking Social Network for Business Professionals. 3. Killer Startups – Reviewing new startups. 4. Konnects – Business technology focus groups and networking events. 5. LinkedIn – Strengthens and extends your existing network of trusted contacts. 6. Ryze – Business Networking. 7. YoungEntrepreneur – Largest social networking community for Entrepreneurs
8. Ziggs – White pages and free people search for professionals.
Many entrepreneurs will need some type of funding for their ventures. If this is the case for you, these resources may be helpful. Locating potential funding sources can be a bit easier be taking advantage of the resources that are available:
One of the most common ways to make money with a website is through cost per click programs like Google AdSense. While these programs are not a good fit for some sites and for some audiences, they have proven to effective for many:
1. Google AdSense – Google’s CPC Network. 2. Yahoo! Publisher Network – Yahoo’s CPC Network. 3. ABC Search – Get paid per click by ABC. 4. AdBrite – Webmasters can buy and sell text ads based on their site’s topic area. 5. Chitika – The leading merchandising network for bloggers. 6. Bidvertiser – Pay per click advertising. 7. Kanoodle – Distributes results to a large network of other search engines and search box providers. 8. Clicksor – Effective online advertising technology. 9. Kontera – Advertiser and Publisher Solutions.
CPC isn’t the only option for monetizing a website through advertisements. By choosing a CPM program you will be compensated for impressions rather than clicks. Here are some of the choices that are available:
1. ADSDAQ – A new advertising exchange. 2. ValueClick Media – One of the largest and most effective online advertising networks. 3. AdDynamix – Full-spectrum interactive provider delivering ad management. 4. Morning Falls – Online advertising solutions to advertisers and publishers worldwide. 5. CPX Interactive – Online ad network. 6. BurstMedia – Internet advertising network. 7. Casale Media – World’s fastest growing provider of online media solutions. 8. Tribal Fusion – Focused on high quality sites with targeted content and significant reach. 9. BrightRoll – Video advertising. 10. Adtegrity – Internet Advertising Solutions.