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3 tools to help entrepreneurs get off the ground

At Skype, we know how daunting the path from idea to launch can be for a business owner. Even when you have an incredible idea, you can get stuck trying to figure out the answers to tough questions, such as: who can I turn to for advice, especially when I need it most? Where can I go for funding? How will I find customers?

While getting your idea off the ground can seem intimidating, your journey will be markedly easier if you use the resources at your disposal. Luckily, there are countless tools early-stage entrepreneurs can use. For instance, Skype’s group instant messaging and voice calling won’t cost you a cent and will help you efficiently connect with your team.

Here are three other tools that can help prepare your business for the big stage:

  1. Get mentorship through SCORE

When you start a business, you join a close community of fellow entrepreneurs. This community has the opportunity to come together at SCORE, a non-profit sponsored by the United States Small Business Association.

 

SCORE’s website features webinars and advice on everything from creating business plans to maintaining a work/life balance. Arguably, their most useful service is the free mentorship matchmaking service. When you tell SCORE the kind of help you need, they’ll pair you with an entrepreneur whose skills and past experiences match your needs. You can then opt to meet up with your mentor at one of SCORE’s 300+ locations or choose to talk over a Skype video call.

  1. Find funding through crowdfunding websites
    Crowd funding has quickly become an accessible and key source of early-stage funding for entrepreneurs. You can broadcast your ideas to the public and show the world why it matters. If the public falls in love with your idea, they can donate money towards your business’ campaign. All money raised, providing you meet your funding goal, is yours to keep. This means you’re able to fund your idea without giving up control of your company.

Check out sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo or RocketHub to start your crowdfunding campaign.

  1. Build your audience through LaunchRock

Before you launch, be sure to create your business’ web presence so you can be easily found. LaunchRock is a free landing page service that allows you to gather email addresses from potential customers, link to your social channels and post updates, all while allowing you to measure the traffic you’re receiving. By knowing your company’s early analytics and conversion rates, you can alter your business plan around the insights you garner from the data provided to you.

By taking advantage of LaunchRock’s tools, you can work to ensure that you have an engaged audience ready to become customers on day one. Once your site is up, make sure you put your Skype number on the landing page so it’s easy for customers to contact you with queries.

New sources of support become available to small business owners every day. Remember that you’re never completely on your own. The small business community — and Skype — has your back every step of the way.

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