There are plenty of tools available for business owners to build their startups, but finding the right choice among so many can be difficult for first-time business owners as well as seasoned ones. After all, technology changes every day, and finding what will reach the greatest number of your customers in addition to figuring out what will work best with your business model can be quite the task. After quite a bit of market research, I can tell you the following are five business tools that you must have to expand your business in today's marketplace.

Google Apps

This is one of the "no-brainers" in today's business world. Google is used in almost every business for its widespread availability and easy-to-use interface that pretty much everybody has come to know. For just $5 a month, you will have access to all of Google's tools and exceptional storage space for your business; passing it up is a questionable move.

Stripe

This is a payment collection program that sets itself apart from PayPal and other merchant tools in that it can handle coupon codes, invoicing, prorating, and refunds in an intuitive manner with fewer fees than PayPal. A streamlined way to collect and process payment from your customers, Stripe is a must have for any new business.

WordPress

If you have need of an online presence (which you do), then WordPress is the way to go for startups. Many of WordPress's services are free, which is great for startups lacking funds. In addition to this, WordPress sites are flexible and easy to design, eliminating the need to hire a Web developer for your site. WordPress even offers mobile layouts for some sites, which will help you capture a large chunk of the online marketplace.

LiveChat

Staying connected with your customers is the most important thing that you can do when starting a business. With everything online and interconnected with a focus on social aspects of business, LiveChat means your customers can have their questions answered easily. They can use LifeChat for troubleshooting before they buy or for customer care after they buy. It's a great way to distinguish your business from all of your competitors. More than anything else, customers appreciate a personal touch and the feeling that they are taken care of. After all, how a customer feels about a brand is much more likely to influence his or her purchasing decision than any other factor, even quality of the product.

Wistia

With video taking up the largest chunk of online marketing nowadays, you are going to want to have the best videos around. To avoid looking like an amateur or having tacky ads that do not get across your message, use Wistia to track who is watching your videos and for how long--in addition to having videos created for you that will be able to capture your market because they were made using your analytics.

Cyfe

It's important to keep tabs on the different parts of your business at all times. Your goal should be to have your startup running at maximum efficiency, especially since you probably don't have a lot of money to waste on unsuccessful marketing or customer acquisition strategies. Thus, you need to find an analytics tool that will help you monitor all of the moving parts of your startup. Cyfe will help you do just that. With Cyfe's all-in-one business dashboard, you can track any online aspect of your business and customize the things that are most important to the growth of your startup. From prebuilt widgets to custom data sources, Cyfe likely has what you need to build your business efficiently and effectively.

Get Response

Email marketing is a vitally important strategy for startups, as it helps keep existing customers engaged while also increasing your audience. But email marketing done poorly can actually hurt your business, so it's important that you find the right email marketing tool and use it to your advantage. Get Response makes email marketing easy for startups by offering a range of important services such as an email creator, landing page creator, split testing, autoresponders, email analytics, and more. Get Response is a comprehensive email marketing solution that will help you streamline your efforts and take the headache and guesswork out of emailing.

StreamScience

Content marketing is a necessary practice for startups that are looking to get their names out there, tell people what they're all about, and turn their website and social visitors into customers. However, as so with email marketing, when content marketing is done poorly, it can actually hurt your brand image and turn potential customers off. But through the use of content-marketing platforms like StreamScience, you won't have to do it all on your own. StreamScience will create, curate, and distribute content for you to drive maximum engagement and the best results for your business.

Taking a young business from an early-stage startup to an enterprise is a tall order, and without the right tools, you'll never be able to build your company to its maximum potential. Of all of the tools on the market, these are some of the most effective, and each of them will help you improve various different aspects of your company.

Published on: Sep 2, 2014