Running a small business comes with many challenges, and figuring out which business functions should be kept in-house and which business processes should be outsourced can be very time consuming.
While small businesses are growing, there may not be the available resources to perform some of the specialized services that most organizations need.
I’ve compiled a list of online companies that can help you control costs by utilizing freelance and specialty outsourced services.
Elance is a great resource for those projects that you either don’t have the time or skill to pull off. Whether it is IT/Programming, Design, Writing, Sales, Marketing or Admin help, there are thousands of hungry freelancers ready to work at a reasonable price. I’ve used Elance for countless projects and have had great results! Their escrow payment system ensures that you don’t pay for a job unless you are completely satisfied.
I used crowdSPRING for one of the first logos I needed designed. I like them because posting a project is simple and dozens of designers compete to get the job. It is a great way to get some creative ideas for a reasonable price and you get to pick the design option that you like the best. Logo designs start at $269, which is a very affordable way for a small business to create a professional look!
A friend told me about Fiver and I was blown away at what you can buy for 5 bucks! I had an e-book cover designed for $5! No it’s not as good as one I would probably get on Elance, but still five bucks for just about anything. It’s definitely a resource for those of us with a limited budget but you need to count the cost benefit. Many of the products out there are cookie cutter which is why they can be done so cheaply but if it’s a business card or even an eBook cover, it might be worth it!
4. Blogging Your Passion
Whether you want to start your own personal website or learn how to blog, Blogging Your Passion is a great resource. It offers free website setup so all you need to do is give them your domain and they do the rest. Or, if you are interested in beginning your own blog to express your passion this site is for you. They have easy to understand classes that help you every step of the way – particularly if you are technically challenged (as I am)!
This is a great way to eliminate those trips to the post office. With Stamps.com you do everything from the comfort of your desk. You can buy and print US postage stamps directly on your envelopes without leaving the office. You’ll never have to worry about refilling that postage meter or running out of stamps again.
Powtoon is my most recent discovery! This software takes powerpoint presentations to a whole new level by offering animated presentation options that takes the boring out of presentations. I’ve only done a demo on this but can’t wait to create my first animated intro! Try Powtoon and let me know how you like it!
I don’t know about you, but it is difficult for me to keep up with software changes every time there is a version update. Lynda.com is a great resource that offers training on literally any type of software you can imagine. What I like about it is the training is broken down into small sessions so you can go out there to learn one specific thing without going through an entire software training. For example, if you just want to learn how to do a letter merge in Word, there is a 3-5 minute session just for that so you can learn it quickly and get back to work. This company does a great job on training!
If you’re like me you have contracts that need to be signed long distance. This can be challenging because of the time wasted sending PDFs and waiting for them to come back or worse, sending a document via the US mail and waiting for a signed copy to return. Echosign is a cool resource that manages all of your digital signature files. If you only do a couple a month it is free and if you’re signing multiple contracts it is an affordable solution to managing all of your digital signature files. It’ quick and user friendly!
I use Hostgator to manage my domains and websites. Their customer service is outstanding and they are very helpful to those of us who are technically challenged! Their pricing is also good, you can get a single domain for less than 4 bucks a month! Use coupon code Thriving25 to get a 25% discount!
Paychex Online Payroll Services provides a convenient way to process payroll and 401(k) plans online. They also provide HR services for small businesses. This is a perfect solution for small businesses who lack the HR expertise or want to outsource the HR function.
What other helpful sites do you use?
photo by: utnapatism