Starting a small business takes time, money and a lot of work – but you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. When you’re confused about marketing or tired of getting rejected from big banks, turn to the people who know exactly how you feel: other small business owners. These start-ups offer invaluable tools and support to small businesses because they know firsthand the challenges you face and the solutions you need.
1. Local Lift
Thanks to the mainstream popularity of sites like Kickstarter, crowdfunding has become an easy way to pay for any project – from travel to product development. Local Lift makes crowdfunding more accessible for small businesses by working on a local level to help business owners through the process. The company focuses on engaging communities to support the small businesses that operate within them. It’s all about connecting small business owners with supporters in the community, and it has worked for more than 20 businesses so far! Local Lift currently serves small businesses in Austin, New Orleans and San Francisco, but it plans to expand to cities across the country in the future.
Alignable is a free Linkedin-like social network for local businesses and the associations they work with. It allows local businesses to network with the other businesses in the community, as well as buy local groups and chambers of commerce. Alignable takes a local approach by breaking the network up into “neighborhoods” of businesses in the same geographic area. That way, business owners are working with people online who are nearby and familiar with the community. Local businesses can do more when they come together to share ideas, resources and experiences – and Alignable helps them do just that.
Closely, the company behind the popular small business app, Perch, develops marketing tools that small business owners can easily understand and adapt to their diverse needs. Closely’s small business marketing platform allows users to manage their promotional materials and campaigns from one simple dashboard. From the dashboard, users can offer daily deals, created targeted messages and get insights about their customers. Closely has taken the many tasks and opportunities associated with small business marketing and brought them together in an easy-to-use platform for small business owners in any industry.
Although it’s still a startup itself, Galvanize serves as a home office and hub of support to more than 150 aspiring tech startups. Galvanize is a comprehensive and robust small business incubator that provides these tech startups with office space, access to industry experts and potential investors and educational opportunities in Denver, San Francisco and Boulder, Colorado. What’s more, its members include big names like Skype and Pandora.
Using their unique skills and experiences, these start-ups can change the way that small business owners start and manage their businesses. As a result, they have brought the small business community closer together and found new allies for those already in it.