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Inc. features Grasshopper - Start-up on a Budget: 14 Cheap Tools

Starting a business and trying to keep costs down? Use these expert tips to find resources that can cut your overhead.

As a small business owner, you already know that “fast,” “easy” and “cheap” are magic words. So I asked my personal network of “Start-up Business Warriors” some of their favorite sites, tools and tricks for running a business on a budget.

One of my respondees put it simply: “Tom, we went from $0 to $500,000 in one year in part because we were able to keep our overhead low and our money at work on the things that would make us money.” This is a great strategy whether you are a solopreneur or a new entrepreneur–even if you have been running your business for a few years but want to keep things lean.

Note: The crowd-sourced recommendations below all favor the speed, ease and access of the Internet. Some I have used myself; others I included based on the good word of friends and peers. There are cautions with the Internet as well as smartphone apps–but you know those already. So be smart, careful and do your own research on these recommendations:

  • Grasshopper.com: A virtual call center for $10 a month. Toll-free numbers, multiple mailboxes, call transfer from cell and land line, and message forwarding to email.
  • Mailchimp.com: Free email marketing, research and database management.
  • Gliffy.com: Process graphics, diagrams and flow charts for managing your business and creating sales presentations.