This blog was born out of the ‘My Favorite Things’ post. As a small business owner, I am learning all the parts and pieces that fit together to create an attractive company. The goal as I am building this company is to create an environment where people are proud to say they work for The Westmoreland Group. Behind the scenes there are many partners whose services help make that happen and allow me to focus on the future of the business. I am going to feature 10 services here, 5 that are paid and 5 that are free.
ONE: QuickBooks (paid)
I am a trained engineer by degree and not an accountant, although I am familiar with spiritual math. QuickBooks is a software that has all the tools my accountant and I could ever need to see and track the financial picture of my business. QuickBooks also integrates nicely with several timekeeping software platforms. Staying organized and managing the finances for a business is paramount to success. QuickBooks is set up and marketed for small and medium sized businesses. Some of the top functionalities of QuickBooks includes invoice customers, generate reports for taxes, track travel expenses, prepare for taxes, manage sales, keep track of bills and expenses, profit and loss reports, balance sheet reports, statements of cash flows, run payroll, accept online payments, scan receipts, generate reports for planning, data migration, track bank transactions, and business projections. Before I started The Westmoreland Group, I was not familiar with most of those terms but I am learning more and more the importance of my knowledge in these areas with the support of a Certified Public Accountant. QuickBooks is a cloud-based software that is user friendly and it makes most task pretty easy for the small business owner.
TWO: Canva (paid)
Canva is a great software that I use to create PowerPoint presentations, Instagram posts, LinkedIn posts, images and text for this blog, and many more. I like the ease of using Canva and also Canva puts all the flashy and fancy creative tools right at your fingertips. They have a plenty of text choices, colors, and graphics to meet all your business and even personal needs.
THREE: Go Daddy (paid)
An active website is a must in the government contracting space and because this business is dynamic my needs for a website hosting service is user-friendly and easy to update. Go Daddy does a little bit of everything from domains, websites, security, web hosting, professional email, and web design services. I currently use Go Daddy for domain hosting and my website. During COVID-19 Go Daddy introduced a range of tools free to small businesses and expert advice for staying open during a pandemic. Go Daddy has millions of customers and even so they are small business friendly, when I have needed contact customer service, they are always friendly and helpful. The thing I like most about Go Daddy is that is fast and simple to set up, you can probably build your website in under 30 minutes and go live.
FOUR: Google (paid)
I use Google for email, calendar, and task management. As a small business owner, I am always juggling many many many things at a time and Google helps me have one place to manage my body schedule and tasks. The feature that I like the most is the ability to have an email address that is directly associated with my company website. That is part of the branding and marketing that promotes your business as professional and well put together. I currently only have 1 full time employee besides myself but I do have 2 consultants – one for business development and one for security and we all have paid email service provided by Google. Of all the services listed here this is the service I use the most – I use it every single day.
FIVE: WordPress (paid)
This blog is hosted on WordPress which is a site that allows you to create a blog, post on that blog, and grow your readership. WordPress does offer a free version which may come with ads and has limited scope in the templates that you are allowed to choose from. WordPress has lots of tutorials to help you get started creating your blog and posting content.
SIX: Maryland Workforce Exchange/Indeed (free)
I recently went through to job recruiting and hiring process and I was grateful to have these free tools available. The Maryland Workforce Exchange is part of the Maryland Department of Labor and is useful for job seekers, employers, and also provides current labor market information. MWE allowed me to post my job announcement and also sift through potential candidates for a set period of time. Indeed, is an internet job board and does have some paid functionalities, but for now I was able to utilize the ability to post a job for free. Indeed, is user friendly and has an employer dashboard that nicely summarizes all the applications that have applied for your open position.
SEVEN: Twitter (free)
What can I saw about Twitter! Twitter is how I find out what is happening now with government agencies whose services I use like the SBA or who I am trying to market my services too as The Westmoreland Group. I am learning more and more about Twitter as I use it for business and it is very interesting and the information is always up to date – which is something I don’t always see when doing research on government websites. Follow us: @twg_llc
EIGHT: LinkedIn (free)
LinkedIn has started looking more and more like Facebook to me, but I digress. I like that on LinkedIn I can find out what other companies in the government contracting space are up to. I also like that I can create posts that highlight things going on with The Westmoreland Group and also include my partner companies and teammates. LinkedIn is a pretty straight forward professional social media site and it is worth keeping your profile up to date and posting things every now and then. My previous role at Office of Naval Research as a contractor I was contacted initially for that position in a LinkedIn message, so it pays to keep your profile updated.
NINE: Pixabay (free)
Pixabay is a website that allows users to search through over 1.8 million stunning images and royalty free pictures. When you host a blog or you want to create posts for social media the right image is paramount and Pixabay is a place to find really nice images for free and use them on your blog or website. They have a really cool feature where you can pay for the images and also where you can give credit to the artist on your blog when you use their image.
TEN: Zoom (free)
Zoom is what everyone is using these days. I love that Zoom is fee and where I am currently in my small business I only the free version and have since March 2020 when we all had to stay home. The free version only gives you 45 or so minutes of a video conference and has a limit on the number of participants. The service has been amazing for helping me stay connected with my clients and others. I like the fact that Zoom also integrates with Google and I can set up Zoom calls right from my email or calendar app. Note: Canva has a wide variety of backgrounds that can be used in Zoom.
Happy Small Business Growing,