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Last Updated on April 20, 2020

10 Tools to Start an Online Business without Breaking the Bank

10 Tools to Start an Online Business without Breaking the Bank

Hundreds of new online businesses go from idea to reality every day. While statistically most of these businesses are destined to go belly up, there are those that will grow and ultimately become very successful. Everybody who learns how to start an online business obviously hopes to be in that select category of success stories.

The question is how to start an online business that will beat the odds and succeed.

Determination and hard work, of course, are the coal that fuels the engine, but that engine will have trouble staying on the tracks if the right tools aren’t used to keep it moving.

There are plenty of tools out there that can help your online business perform more efficiently to save you time. Thankfully, a lot of them offer a range of plans that are quite affordable for business owners just starting out.

The goal is to shoot for tools that get the job done in the best way possible and won’t put your online business in the red before it’s up and running.

1. LivePlan for Business Planning

Having a good idea for an online business is the first step to launching your career as an online entrepreneur. Making a solid business plan for that killer idea is second. There are a number of great tools out there that can help you make a business plan and lay out the blueprint to turn your idea into a profitable venture.

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For example, LivePlan starts at $11.66 per month and walks users through each step of the business planning process and has over 500 different business templates to ensure that users find the perfect one for their business venture.

2. Siteground or InMotion for Web Hosting

If you’re going to start an online business, establishing a website is going to be one of the first steps. You can get free web hosting, but it’s often lower-quality, and you’ll probably find that spending even a couple of bucks a month makes a world of difference. When it comes to web hosting, it’s important to look at your business’ needs.

For a small business, a shared hosting plan like Siteground is probably your best bet. You’ll be sharing a server with other websites, but it’s affordable at often less than $12 a month and is easy to use.

If you’re expecting a huge amount of traffic, a dedicated hosting site such as InMotion may be a better choice. This type of web hosting will be more expensive, but it is highly secured and won’t get bogged down easily by a lot of visitors.

This article can help you learn what to look for when choosing a web hosting provider.

3. WordPress or Squarespace for Content Management

Now that you’ve got your web hosting in place, it’s time to choose a content management tool to build and maintain your online presence. WordPressis obviously the best-known and for good reason. It’s incredibly customizable and comes with an array of free resources, tools, and plug-ins that can be applied as your business grows.

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Squarespace is another popular website content management platform that many newbies will probably find a little easier to use than WordPress. No coding required! Both products have several levels of pricing, with Squarespace starting at $12 a month and WordPress at $8 per month. Really, you can’t go wrong with either one.

4. Weave, Mailchimp or MailMunch for Customer Communication

In regards to communicating with your customers, there are far more ways today than there were even 15 years ago. The online businesses that excel at customer communication are the ones that are going to succeed. Communication for online businesses needs to be both streamlined and natural, which is what makes Weave such a great tool that allows you to automate your customer communication with texting, appointment scheduling, and payment reminders.

For email, Mailchimp and MailMunch are two wonderful and affordable online business tools for growing and maintaining your email list. Both have customizable features, such as allowing for custom landing pages and automatic syncing of email and newsletter campaigns.

5. Hootsuite or Zoho Social for Social Media Management

Yes, social media management is customer communication, but it’s really its own animal, too. We all know about Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc, but how about tools that utilize those social media platforms in the easiest way possible?

One of the most popular tools for businesses in regards to social media management is Hootsuite. From scheduling online posts to tracking the customer engagement of those posts, the tool is well worth the $29 a month subscription fee. An even cheaper option that has good reviews for being easy-to-use with similar functions is Zoho Social, which starts at just $10 a month.

6. Upwork for Outsourcing Tasks

There are going to be parts of your online business that you’re just too busy to dedicate the required time or aren’t quite skilled enough to handle. In the beginning, hiring a full-time employee to handle those tasks might not be feasible.

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Whether it’s logo design, copywriting, software development, or SEO strategy, you can probably find a skilled freelancer to tackle the job on Upwork. The platform guides business owners through the freelancer hiring process all the way up through job payment and has qualified candidates around the globe.

To get started with outsourcing, check out this article.

7. Trello or CoSchedule for Project Management

Regardless of the size of your online business, keeping projects on track and proper calendar management is going to be key. Two valuable online tools in this category are Trello and CoSchedule.

Both products utilize a sort of bulletin board format with lists and cards for projects that make for easy team collaboration and communication. Trello is the cheaper of the two at $10 a month, but CoSchedule may offer quicker troubleshooting should any issues pop up.

8. Shopify or Stripe for Shopping Cart Software

If you’re going to be selling any goods or services through your online business, you’ll need a way of accepting payment from customers. This is one area of your online business where making things as easy as possible for your customers is going to literally pay off.

The second customers run into a glitch while trying to make a payment, you can expect a loss of sale. If your online business is going to be something in the retail sector, you really can’t go wrong with Shopify. At just $29 a month, it will provide tools to cover everything from social media management to website design, and, of course, payment processing.

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Other sorts of online businesses may want to look into Stripe. It has a strong reputation for making payment processing easy and secure, and with a flat rate of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, and it doesn’t saddle business owners or their customers with a bunch of hidden fees.

9. ShippingEasy or AfterShip for Product Shipping

While eCommerce isn’t something that’s going to apply to all online businesses, for those that do fall under this category, a smooth delivery of the product is crucial. Two tools that online business entrepreneurs should consider using are ShippingEasy and AfterShip.

Both services help business owners find the best shipping rates, manage inventory fulfillment deadlines, as well as provide customer reassurance like automated tracking and SMS notifications about order updates. Even better, for businesses with fewer than 50 shipments a month, both tools are free.

10. Freshbooks for Bookkeeping

Your online business is up and running like clockwork, and it’s starting to make some real money. Now time for the fun part — bookkeeping. Accounting might not be as exciting as launching an inventive email campaign, but it’s still essential if you want to stay in business.

Freshbooks is an all-in-one online business accounting tool that will handle everything from payment acceptance to invoices and expense reports. With plans as low as $6 a month, it’s one of the most affordable bookkeeping tools on the market when first starting an online business.

Conclusion

Because every business is unique in its own way, not all of these tools will apply to your online business. As your business grows, you’ll likely find that the tools needed to get the job done will change. For starting an online business, though, the above categories and their respective tools are a great place to start.

More Tips for Starting an Online Business

Featured photo credit: Sabri Tuzcu via unsplash.com

More by this author

Chris Porteous

The CEO of Grey Smoke Media / My SEO Sucks, helping entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

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Published on August 6, 2020

10 Best Power Banks to Top up Your Phone at Will on the Go

10 Best Power Banks to Top up Your Phone at Will on the Go

The alert beep for low battery serves as a death call when you’re running late for work or are out on the town and need to make a call. Luckily, a super convenient alternative to your regular charger and charging wires is available in the form of power banks[1]. Easy to carry, lightweight, and affordable power banks have become the perfect companion for every mobile phone. In order to assist you in making the right choice for the purchase of power banks, we have compiled a list of the best power banks to guide you.

Why Trust Us

The importance of a well-charged phone cannot be underestimated. Keeping this in mind, our team has gone through many reviews and product descriptions present on the most reliable tech websites. From the smallest and lightest portable chargers to those that come with several years of warranty, our featured power banks will not let you down and will be worthy of your investment.

1. Anker PowerCore 10000mAh Portable Charger

    As the best power bank the market offers, Anker PowerCore has a battery of 10000 mAh, which can charge three and a half iPhone 8 or two and a half galaxy s8 charges. The power bank has PowerIQ and voltage boost technologies, which can charge your phone in no time. Large size-to-capacity makes it a convenient item to carry in your pocket.

    To ensure the protection of your device, this power bank from Anker comes with a multi-protect safety system. The box also includes a portables charger and micro USB cable. You can carry it around safely with the included travel pouch. An 18-month warranty and friendly customer service are also included to give you a perfect power bank experience.

    Pros

    • Large size-to-capacity ratio
    • High-speed, universal charging
    • Red, blue, black color options
    • One of the smallest and lightest portable chargers on the market

    Cons

    • Qualcomm quick charge is not supported
    • The battery may not work well after some time

    Get this power bank here!

    2. INIU 20000mAh Power Bank

      Made of top-quality materials, the INIU Power Bank charges your phone 1.4 times faster with UPower+ technology. It works smartly by identifying your device and simultaneously increasing the current output. What’s great is that you can charge two devices at the same time. INUI recognizes its place as the thinnest lightweight power bank on the market.

      The paw indicator on the power bank illuminates its remarkable design, and it includes a flashlight inside, which can be used in emergency conditions. You can charge the power bank quickly with a micro USB or a type-C cable. Consequently, it’ll save you the hassle of finding the specific cable for a charge. INUE comes with a three-year warranty to give you peace of mind.

      Pros

      • Thin and lush design
      • Dual 3A output
      • Flashlight included
      • U Power+ technology

      Cons

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      • It doesn’t come with a pouch
      • Standby time is less than six months

      Get this power bank here!

      3. Miady 2-Pack 10000mAh Dual USB Portable Charger

        An all-in-one power bank solution for your needs, Miady includes two 10000 mAh battery packs. The power bank contains two USB output ports with an equal amount of current distribution. While one can charge 2.4 times for iPhone X, 3.6 for iPhone 8, and 2.2 for galaxy S9, you won’t be needing a socket anytime soon.

        You will be able to charge the power bank in 5 hours at 5V and 2A. Miady contains a reliable Lithium-polymer cell, and you can also carry the power bank on a plane. It can power off and on automatically if the device is disconnected for 30 seconds. This portable charger is compatible with 99 percent of smartphones and is one of the cheapest power banks available on the market.

        Pros

        • One of the best-value options compared to its rivals
        • Efficiently distributes current output
        • Vibrant color options like yellow and purple

        Cons

        • Not suitable for big devices like the iPad

        Get this power bank here!

        4. Anker PowerCore 20100mAh Portable Charger

          Anker 20100 mAh Power Core offers a huge amount of battery capacity. As one of the best power banks on the market, the 20000 mAh battery capacity can charge an iPhone 8 almost eight times or an S8 five times. In addition, the power bank can hold a charge for up to seven days, so you don’t have to plug it into the wall again and again.

          You can use the voltage boost and power IQ recharge to charge a phone efficiently and quickly. The power bank is also pocket-friendly and certified safe as it ensures protection for your smartphone or tablet and you. Its dual-device output enables you to charge up to two devices at the same time. Anker is made out of premium material to give you the best durable power bank on the market.

          Pros

          • High-speed charging
          • Huge 20000 mAh capacity
          • Enormous 4.8-ampere output
          • Certified safe

          Cons

          • It may start charging slowly after a few months of use
          • Qualcomm quick charge is not supported

          Get this power bank here!

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          5. Anker PowerCore 13000mAhPortable Charger

            Another Anker, the Anker PowerCore 13000 Portable Charger offers a huge battery capacity in a sleek design and has the ability to charge an iPhone 8 up to 5 times and an iPhone X or an S9 three times. You can also charge your phone or tablet with the two high-speed ports that are included. Anker comes is a smaller size than that of a wallet and is one of the best lightweight power banks compared to its battery size.

            Anker is 30 percent lighter than most other power banks. Power IQ and voltage boost technologies are included for fast-charge devices. Power IQ also identifies devices to calibrate the charge to your phone.  Anker has surge protection technology and short circuit prevention. You can rest assured that it will take care of you and your devices. Plus, you are covered with an eighteen-month warranty.

            Pros

            • Power IQ technology
            • Super high capacity
            • Red, black, blue, white color options

            Cons

            • No Qualcomm quick charge
            • Wall charger is not included

            Get this power bank here!

            6. GETIHU 10000mAh Portable Charger

              GETIHU offers high-quality power banks with their 11 years of experience in the market. The GEITHU portable charger has a certified Lithium-ion battery, which gets it the approval for airline travel. With the help of an LED display, one can know how much battery is left. You can quickly charge up to two devices with 4.8 Amperes at the same time.

              High-speed charging is accompanied by a smart IC to auto fit your smartphones. It can work with both big and small Android devices. GEITHU can easily fit inside your bag as it is slim and portable. Choose to take it with you with the travel pouch and feel comfortable taking it everywhere as it has a three-year warranty.

              Pros

              • LED display with the battery percentage
              • The 4.8-ampere charges two devices simultaneously

              Cons

              • The LED display may not show the correct amount of charge left

              Get this power bank here!

              7. Anker PowerCore 26800mAh Portable Charger

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                Anker PowerCore offers a massive battery, which makes it one of the best power banks on the market. The 26800mAh worth of charge can charge phones more than six times. It has three USB outputs so that you can charge three devices at the same time. Power IQ and voltage boost make the high-speed charging available for all three devices.

                You can charge the whole power bank in 6 hours. The two micro-USB inputs double the recharging speeds. It is light and durable, which makes it the best companion for your travel needs. The multi-protect safety system protects you and your devices. Friendly customer services and an 18-month warranty are there to provide you with the peace of mind you need when you get the Anker PowerCore.

                Pros

                • Triple device charging
                • Dual-input power bank charging
                • Superior safety
                • A week’s worth of power

                Cons

                • Performance may decrease over time
                • A bit heavy due to the big battery

                Get this power bank here!

                8. RAVPower 16750mAh Power Bank

                  RAVPower offers a vast battery of up to 16750mAh in size. It can charge your iPhone 11 two and a half times, S10 for 3.3 times, or an iPad for a full charge. With a current output of 4.5 amperes, it can charge up to two smartphones at the same time. You can quickly charge the power bank with a two-ampere charger in about 9 to 10 hours.

                  The flashlight is included in the power bank for emergency use. RAV is also tested against high temperature. Its iSmart technology tests your device for the optimal current value needed. Premium batteries comprised of lithium-ion can charge a device more than 500 times.

                  Pros

                  • Impressive 16750mAh battery
                  • iSmart technology

                     Cons

                  • It does not hold a charge well over time

                  Get this power bank here!

                  9. RAVPower 15000mAh Power Bank

                     

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                    RAV power bank features a controlling IC and iSmart technology. These come together to offer a fast charge for your smartphone or tablet. You can take your iPhone 11 from 0 to 50 percent in just 30 minutes. iSmart 2.0 can adjust according to your charging device and offers the necessary current. It’s possible to charge up to three devices at the same time with three outputs.

                    The portable charger can be charged within 4.7 hours with the ultra-fast charging, thus saving you 40 percent recharging time. RAV can fit comfortably in your pocket or your hand. An LED digital display shows you exactly how much charge is left inside. High-end lithium-ion batteries, along with protection technology, give you peace of mind wherever you take this power bank.

                    Pros

                    • 30W total tri-output and fast recharge
                    • Led digital display

                    Cons

                    • Weighs a bit more than most power banks

                    Get this power bank here!

                    10. LANLUK 25800mAh Power Bank

                      The LANLUK 25800 mAh portable power bank can charge your phone 5 to 7 times, and it is perfect for any type of work that you are heading out for. You can charge up to two devices simultaneously with the help of two outputs.

                      The high-quality lithium A+ polymer battery is used to give you peace of mind as the power bank protects itself from overheating and overcharging. The portable charger is compatible with nearly all the phones and tablets. 18-month customer service is available to give you even more peace of mind. It is an all-in-one power bank solution for your needs.

                      Pros

                      • High capacity battery
                      • Highly compatible

                      Cons

                      • Not permissible on planes

                      Get this power bank here!

                      Bottom Line

                      Choosing the best power bank is a bit hard task as there are many types of power banks available in the market. The one that you’d like to choose must depend on your needs. If you will go out for a long hike or a long trip with no power socket input, then the one with a bigger battery will be useful. However, if you need a solution to charge your phone while in the office, then something with a lightweight and durable design will be a better choice for you.

                      Choose one of the best power banks from above and never worry about your device dying again.

                      Featured photo credit: Steve Johnson via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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