Top 10 Must-Have Tools & Resources for Startups

startup

When you are ready to set up your startup, it can be a bit confusing to know which direction to take and what resources to invest in. This list below lets you know exactly where to start when looking for the best tools to run your business efficiently.

Take Charge of Your Accounts with Xero or Quickbooks

Keep up to date with all your banking and credit card transactions while managing your cashflow.

Send Proposals and Pitch Your Work with Proposify or Qwilr

Create easy to read proposals and streamline the pitch, quote and approval process. Replace presentations with sleek, customisable and interactive interfaces.

Maintain Customer Relationships with Hubspot

Organise, grow and track your customers with Hubspot CRM software while you manage your sales pipeline keeps the process effortless.

Research Your Competitors with Moz

Learn about how your competitors are gaining their inbound traffic and target areas where you can drive customers to your business.

Stay on top of Your Website Data and Traffic with Google Analytics

Measure your website performance to see how your content and marketing efforts are working and where customers are engaging with your brand.

Manage your Social Media with Hootsuite

Save time by using managing several social media accounts on one dashboard. Monitor your brand and check what’s trending in your industry.

Communicate across Multiple Teams & Departments with Slack

Communicate and message your team, send real-time updates, save files and develop a collaborative workspace with Slack, whether you are down the hall or across the globe.

Manage your Projects with Asana, Basecamp or Skwish

Whether you are a freelancer, a solo entrepreneur, or start-up, or a small team, these tools are perfect to manage tasks, create timelines for projects and to maintain transparency with clients or customers.

Stay Connected with your Customers with Mailchimp

Build an effective email strategy with your customers and clients by staying in touch with them and sending targeted campaigns to maintain your relationship.

Keep Your Documents Organised and Collaborate with Dropbox

Securely share files across teams or with clients and simplify the way you create, share and collaborate across devices.

Receive Access to Media Pitches and Get Direct Responses with HARO

Send your stories, press releases and important company updates to HARO and provide journalists with everything they need to cover your news which amplifies your message.

Outsource To Your Own Team All In One Place With CoStartup & Go

With the amount of freelancers growing how do you know which ones will actually be good and stick about? Remove the gamble of working flexibly by using CoStartup & Go and their experienced network who all seamlessly wok together on your startup, invested unmaking it a success.

Hire Great Talent with Workable

When you are ready to find permanent talent, use Workable to source, manage and track applicants in one space from over 14 different job boards.

Join a Coworking Space to Find Opportunities to Network

A coworking space is a fantastic tool to have to be able to network and creatively collaborate with other startups and small businesses. Alongside the routine networking events, the organic networking that naturally evolves is priceless and it doesn’t hurt that it creates a great space for productivity in your business. 

Some of our fave partners include:

The Office Group

BDC Works

Mainyard Studios

Boutique Coworking

Airspace

Interested in a FOC consultation on how we can help your startup?

GET IN TOUCH

3 Essentials to Marketing Your Business (and Yourself) Online

online marketing costartupandgo

In today’s business world, as a start-up, a small business, an entrepreneur, or a freelancer, it’s essential to have a web presence that effectively communicates who you are and what you are sharing. Being smart with your marketing ensures that your message gets heard and maximises your success.

Before you start paying for advertising you may not need and get overwhelmed, here are three essentials steps to take to ensure marketing your business online is a success.

1.     Research & Planning

This is all about understanding your customer and developing the right content plan and strategy that speaks to them personally. You have to know who you are talking to and understand them inside and out. Who is your ideal customer and what do they need? What do they want, what are their hopes, their pain points? Now map out content and messaging around that. This gets their attention and gives them a reason to want to connect with you. This research stage is about getting to know your customer and building a relationship with them, listening to them, and understanding them. 

2.     Discoverability & Relevance

If you Google yourself or your business, what comes up? Are your customers going to find you? Since you’ve done your research in the first instance, you should know where your customers hang out online, what platforms are relevant to them, and what events they attend. Ensure that you are playing in the right field and are talking to the right people before you spend any money on advertising. Remember, the best time to market to your audience is when they are already interested in your brand. So make sure you are consistent in building relationships, content, and authority in the right places, ensuring your brand’s relevancy and your customers’ interest.

3.     Systems & Tools

The last step is to ensure you have systems and support in place for consistent action. For example, how are you capturing leads? How are you communicating with your customers? This includes your email marketing and blog posts, but also includes your tweets, Facebook posts, your website copy, etc. It’s also key to maintain a consistent tone of voice and brand image for your business, so your customers know that it is you speaking across all platforms. That consistency builds trust, and trust leads to real connection with your customers.

In the beginning it can feel like a one-way conversation, but this is why it is so important to have tools and systems in place, so you don’t get overwhelmed or worried. As a director, owner or entrepreneur, work towards automating or delegating as many of these tasks as possible so you can work on your business by building and maintaining relationships, rather than in your business worrying about SEO and search.

Do you need affordable digital marketing for your business? Contact us now to get your free initial consultation.

 

The Best Networking Events to Attend in London for Entrepreneurs, Tech Start-Ups and Small Businesses

Screenshot 2018-10-15 07.42.42.png

When you are starting a business one of the most important elements for your marketing and promotions strategy should be networking. We can spend a lot of time thinking about our grand ideas, products and plans, but we learn a lot about our business when we speak to others articulately about it and generate interest through our face to face relationships in real time. 

Here are some of our favourite places to find networking events for entrepreneurs, tech start-ups and small businesses in London.

Where to Find Networking Events for London Entrepreneurs

Silicon Drinkabout by 3 Beards

We had to add this to the list. We love the Silicon Drinkabout for its informal structure and its fun crowd of like-minded of entrepreneurs and techies. Plus, they meet weekly in different locations all over the world, so you’ll never run out of new faces to meet on a Friday night, wherever your business takes you.

Your Co-working Space or Serviced Offices

Make sure to regularly check your favourite co-working space for some great events and networking opportunities. You are sure to keen entrepreneurs and business owners with whom you can develop some strong connections. For example, WeWork and The Office Group host fantastic workshops, breakfasts, and events for their members to socialise and meet with others in a relaxed and informal way.

Google Campus Events

The Google Campus is the perfect hub for tech start-ups. Entrepreneurs can attend workshops and classes while also providing the space and events to find your next investor, mentor, founder or recruit. Networking with a dose of digital learning included.

Alumni Events

Graduate from a university? Or maybe you have a friend who has? Perhaps you finished a short course or qualification certificate? We find keeping in touch with your school networks can be a goldmine for building conversations, as you often already have a common link. Find your local chapter and see how you can get involved.

Meetup and EventBrite

We like using Meetup and EventBrite when we are searching for specific industry events to go to. Looking for a networking event specifically for female founders? Or do you want to share a pint chatting with people in your niche industry? There are new meet-up groups popping up everyday and these are great for targeting connection with people just like you.

Local Community Groups

Don’t underestimate the power of networking and connecting with local players around you. You never know how you may be able to help and serve members of your local community with your business and vice-versa.

Remember, social isn’t the only type of networking for entrepreneurs. Sometimes, a business can't be built behind a laptop alone. Get out there and take to real, live people to help build and strengthen your business. And when you need operational support to ensure your start up is running smoothly while you make connections, make sure to contact us at sales@costartupandgo.com to help with your virtual support needs.

Did we miss an event source or do you host a networking event that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments. 

The Key to Networking Successfully as an Entrepreneur

Networking entrepreneur

For any entrepreneur or business owner, networking is an essential element to success. It not only brings the potential for building contacts within your industry, it also provides opportunities to gain prospective clients and customers.

MANY ENTREPRENEURS SEE NETWORKING AS A CHALLENGE

Oftentimes  it can be nerve-wracking entering a room full of strangers and try to get them interested in who you are and what you have to offer. If you are naturally introverted, then networking can feel like even more of a daunting feat.

However, the benefits of networking for entrepreneurs and their businesses are so great, that it really is important to overcome the challenges and get it right. Having spoken to several key networkers across a broad spectrum of industries, the one key piece of advice to stick to when networking is this:

ALWAYS GIVE MORE THAN YOU RECEIVE.

If you want to be successful at networking and make real relationships that can benefit you - take YOU out of it.

When you walk into a room full of strangers at a networking event, the main goal should be to meet people you find interesting and see how you might be able to help THEM. Make it about their needs. Don’t make it about what you can get out of it.

If you stick to this key rule when networking, then you make real connections, and those connections will be clamouring to get back in touch with you - where you'll be inundated with ways you can partner with each other. From there you can grow a relationship that is mutually beneficial.

The 5 Types of Mentors for Your Start-Up

Mentor and entrepreneur

Making good decisions comes from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions. 

The fastest way to success as an entrepreneur is to fail fast and to learn from your mistakes. To reach even higher levels of success, you should have a voice to guide you so you don’t have to make too many of your own mistakes, you can learn from theirs.

These days mentorship isn’t only about the wise old sage that gives you a map on how to do business. Mentors can come in different shapes and sizes. Here are the five types of mentors your business needs:

The industry guru that provides guidance and inspiration. This mentor is the established professional with years of experience that you can go to to pick their brains and share a coffee.

The networker offers relationships and opportunities that may not be in your industry, opens you to new doors and ideas that you may not have known before and introduces you to people in other fields that can accelerate your growth.

The consultants are specialists in their fields are there to support you whether it comes to marketing, product, business development, operations, finance, etc. You can always count on them to help you make decisions about each aspect of your business with a clear perspective.

The money and investment head provides invaluable insight on how to grow your business and make it profitable, steering you in the right direction and ensuring your business is optimised for revenue and growth.

And lastly it is great to lean on a smart and trusted friend with whom you can bounce ideas, share stories and do a little venting when the occasion calls for it. An impartial ear can help you to clarify your thoughts and gain perspective.

Advice, guidance and a helping hand are incredibly important as you start and continue your business journey. If you need support in your business, contact us now to find out how we can help your start-up.

Key SEO Basics for Start-Ups

SEO

Are you building a start-up and need to know the basics of how to grow your business online organically? Do you have your website and maybe you’ve set up Google Analytics, but you are wondering why your ideal customers aren’t coming to your site and buying your products or services?

SEO, or search engine optimisation, is still one of the most important factors to making your site search engine friendly and getting customers to your site. We love the guides from MozSEMRush, and Kissmetrics – but sometimes, it’s good to just have the basic fundamentals for your start-up – without too much technical jargon.

Optimising your website doesn’t have to be difficult – it’s an ongoing process that is essential to growing your business and it is constantly changing. So whether you choose to adapt to the waters and keep up to date with SEO or hire someone to do it for you, let’s take a look at the crucial elements for SEO for start-ups. 

Search Engine Optimisation for Start-Ups

Keywords

When doing keyword research, think about search intent, rather than just search terms. And then make sure that your site actually uses the words that people are searching for. Know your niche and stay relevant in it. We like using Google's AdWords Keyword Tool and Keyword.IO when doing keyword research.

A blog is an excellent way to stay relevant for both your audience and for Google bots as you are constantly updating your site and staying fresh in your industry. Moreover, there is an opportunity here for harnessing rankings for long tail keywords that your audience wants to know more about.

Using a combination of keyword research, Google suggest and related search, plus your customers’ questions and comments can help you in creating a regular content calendar that keeps your brand on the top of the Search Engine Results Page.

Content Creation

One of the keys to SEO is creating and scaling keyword-targeted, valuable, and unique content. It needs to be relevant, helpful, unique, and user-friendly.

This content can be in the form of blog posts, branded images, social media updates, email newsletter, infographics, white papers, e-books, downloadable PDFs, podcasts, video, webinars, workshops – any type of content that a consumer can engage with and consume. The first step in this is to know your audience and how they like to engage with your industry. Then create a funnel that takes your customer from discoverer of your brand to buyer.

And remember, once that content has been created, don't just hit publish. Share it, promote it on a rotating schedule, analyse it, expand it, make it better, mention it to influencers, etc.

Accessibility

Another important factor in improving search traffic is to simply make your site search friendly and accessible to search engines. Search engines are limited to how they can crawl the web and your site, so making your content indexable is an easy way to ensure visibility.

What does that mean? Images should be assigned relevant alt tags, audio and video should have transcripts, Flash content should have HTML text, URL links should have crawlable structures, images should be compressed, pages should load quickly. Does your start-up’s site pass these tests? See what we mean? Quite a bit of work, but worth it to have your site structured in the right way (Let us know if you're stuck here - we can help you).

Also make sure to use Webmaster Tools (Search Console) to make sure your site and its new content are being indexed regularly.

Inbound And Outbound Links

Make sure to link to authoritative and respected sites in your industry to show your brand’s trustworthiness. And in turn, you want other sites to link back to you. Guest posting, commenting on other blogs, and sharing on forums are all great methods for providing this social proof.

But let’s take it one step further. Instead of simply thinking about buying (which Google may penalise you for) or building links, Google is more interested in how your website can earn links editorially. In other words, your website needs to be seen as an authority by other well-trafficked and reputable sites, and you have to earn your stripes with your content and partnerships.

It’s so much more important today to take the time to build relationships with influencers and sites who are willing to amplify your message and content. This can take time, but it’s also where an integrated PR, publicity and content strategy, both online and off, comes into play.

Social Media

Use social media to amplify your content. Schedule consistent social media updates at specified times throughout the day at a schedule that works for you and your audience. It’s not about spamming your customers or readers, it’s about sharing relevant and timely information to your audience and making your brand trustworthy and significant in your industry.

Quick tip - make sure that you are building relationships on Google+ and sharing your content updates there. It may be the outlier in terms of social media, but Google's algorithm makes it a must-have in your social toolbox. 

Do you need help with your site's SEO?

In 2017, great SEO encompasses so many different areas – including email, mobile, links, crawl, user experience, localisation, rankings and much more. Let's face it, a great content strategy takes time and investment.

If you’d like some help in improving and maintaining your SEO for your website, feel free to get in touch with us for a complimentary consultation to discuss the value we can bring to your startup.

Email us at sales@costartupandgo.com

3 Essentials To Marketing You & Your Business Online

dung-tr-n-vi-t-187084-unsplash.jpg

You Web Presence Needs To Effectively Communicate Who You Are And What You Do.

Being smart with your marketing ensures that your message gets heard and maximises your success.

Before you start paying for advertising you may not need and get overwhelmed, here are three essentials steps to take to ensure marketing your business online is a success.

1.     Research & Planning

This is all about understanding your customer and developing the right content plan and strategy that speaks to them personally. You have to know who you are talking to and understand them inside and out. Who is your ideal customer and what do they need? What do they want, what are their hopes, their pain points? Now map out content and messaging around that. This gets their attention and gives them a reason to want to connect with you.

This research stage is about getting to know your customer and building a relationship with them, listening to them, and understanding them. 

2.     Discoverability & Relevance

If you Google yourself or your business, what comes up? Are your customers going to find you? Since you’ve done your research in the first instance, you should know where your customers hang out online, what platforms are relevant to them, and what events they attend.

Ensure that you are playing in the right field and are talking to the right people before you spend any money on advertising. Remember, the best time to market to your audience is when they are already interested in your brand. So make sure you are consistent in building relationships, content, and authority in the right places, ensuring your brand’s relevancy and your customers’ interest.

SEO is a powerful tool to help you get discovered, and you can bootstrap to get yourself started

3.     Systems & Tools

The last step is to ensure you have systems and support in place for consistent action. For example, how are you capturing leads? How are you communicating with your customers?

This includes your email marketing and blog posts, but also includes your tweets, Facebook posts, your website copy, etc.

It’s also key to maintain a consistent tone of voice and brand image for your business, so your customers know that it is you speaking across all platforms. That consistency builds trust, and trust leads to real connection with your customers.

In the beginning it can feel like a one-way conversation, but this is why it is so important to have tools and systems in place, so you don’t get overwhelmed or worried.

And when you do start to get too busy to handle yourself or you just want someone else to do it this is when flexible resources come in to play. As a director, owner or entrepreneur, work towards automating or delegating as many of these tasks as possible so you can work on your business by building and maintaining relationships, rather than in your business worrying about SEO and search.

Do you NEED SOME FLEXIBLE support for your business? GET IN TOUCH now to get your free initial consultation.

5 Top Tips To Avoid Entrepreneurial Burnout

Female Entrepreneur.jpg

The biggest secret to an entrepreneur’s success? They don’t try and do everything by themselves. It’s a phrase we've probably all heard before, but often we forget to put it into action.

As you’ve started your business, have you ever felt or done any of the following?

·      Feeling like you are running on empty

·      Feeling overwhelmed

·      Taking your work home with you

·      Decreased Productivity

If so, you may be experiencing entrepreneurial burnout, and if you want to ensure any type of success for you and your business, you should make some changes. Get out of a mental rut by changing your scenery and your normal routine. Change your work environment for a day if you can to clear your head. But most likely, you may need some wider changes like re-structuring your business strategy or expanding your team with virtual support to combat this common pitfall.

Here are CoStartup & Go’s top tips to stop and prevent entrepreneurial burnout:

Re-Balance.

This is and will always be the first step. Taking care of your emotional, physical and mental well-being. The easiest and fastest way to bring yourself back to balance is to get a good night’s sleep and to increase your water intake. Balancing your body can go a long way in helping you become more productive as an entrepreneur.

Get Organised. Get Clarity.

Making time to organise yourself and your business will allow for some much-needed strategic vision for the entrepreneurial journey. What people often don’t realise is that as an entrepreneur or startup, there is so much changeable action that occurs and that your business needs to be ready for. Funding doesn’t come through? Pivot your product or service line. Funding does come through? Ramp up your marketing efforts. Being able to execute your plan while staying flexible is a true key to sustained success.

Schedule Breaks.

For entrepreneurs, we know that the clock never truly stops, and that if you want doors to open, YOU are the only one who can make it happen. But creativity and ideas emerge when your mind is still, when you allow yourself to focus on other things, and when you take some time off. Make it a part of your day to take short breaks to allow your brain to expand and your imagination to wander. And make sure you make a conscious effort to shut the laptop down a few nights and weekends.

Delegate.

If you are wondering how you are ever going to get all your work done now that you are sleeping so much and taking breaks – the answer is easy: Focus your work efforts on the most important tasks that add value to your business. Avoid time suckers and tasks that take up much of your time and energy but in the end, can be done by others. Investing in a virtual assistant is so important as it allows you to excel in the areas that you are best at, and you can outsource and collaborate with others on areas you don’t have time for. But don’t limit your scope here – startups and entrepreneurs can use virtual support for social media, web development, bookkeeping, email management, marketing administration, events management and much more.

Gather A Support System.

Going it alone with an idea and a laptop is admirable, but can quickly get lonely and discouraging if you don’t have a smart network around you. Slowly build a support system around you with people whom you can bounce ideas off, keep you motivated, and at times can keep you accountable. Using a flexible co-working space is perfect for fuelling natural relationships. Check out the options at The Office Group for flexible co-working memberships.

Ultimately, success as an entrepreneur isn’t about the number of hours you put in, but about what you do with those hours. Are you using your time wisely? Why not book a free consultation with CoStartup & Go to see how we can help increase your productivity?

The 5 Types of Mentors for Your Start-Up

Mentor and entrepreneur

Making good decisions comes from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions. 

The fastest way to success as an entrepreneur is to fail fast and to learn from your mistakes. To reach even higher levels of success, you should have a voice to guide you so you don’t have to make too many of your own mistakes, you can learn from theirs.

These days mentorship isn’t only about the wise old sage that gives you a map on how to do business. Mentors can come in different shapes and sizes. Here are the five types of mentors your business needs:

The industry guru that provides guidance and inspiration. This mentor is the established professional with years of experience that you can go to to pick their brains and share a coffee.

The networker offers relationships and opportunities that may not be in your industry, opens you to new doors and ideas that you may not have known before and introduces you to people in other fields that can accelerate your growth.

The consultants are specialists in their fields are there to support you whether it comes to marketing, product, business development, operations, finance, etc. You can always count on them to help you make decisions about each aspect of your business with a clear perspective.

The money and investment head provides invaluable insight on how to grow your business and make it profitable, steering you in the right direction and ensuring your business is optimised for revenue and growth.

And lastly it is great to lean on a smart and trusted friend with whom you can bounce ideas, share stories and do a little venting when the occasion calls for it. An impartial ear can help you to clarify your thoughts and gain perspective.

Advice, guidance and a helping hand are incredibly important as you start and continue your business journey. If you need support in your business, contact us now to find out how we can help your start-up.