We’ve been hunting. At GoToMeeting we’re always on the lookout for the latest tools for small businesses – companies designed to grow and support other companies. We wanted to discover the rising stars in the start-up world and shine our own spotlight on them.
And what better way to get answers than to go right to the source? So we reached out to CEOs, co-founders and editors-in-chief about their start-ups and asked them to describe, in their own words, ‘how can your product or service benefit small businesses?’
Soldsie: Allowing followers to buy directly on social
Our first all-star is Soldsie, a San Francisco-based e-commerce start-up that lets businesses sell directly to their Facebook and Instagram followers through the comments section.
CEO Chris Bennett (@8ennett) says: ‘Soldsie empowers over 2000 retailers and brands to sell directly on the most direct and engaged channel possible – their social media channel. Unlike large brands, small business owners grow social pages by garnering trust and displaying their personalities on Facebook and Instagram pages. With Soldsie, they’re able to take that engagement and offer their followers an incredibly easy, intuitive and direct way to buy their products – without ever leaving social media.
On a traditional e-com website, a customer never knows how many other customers like them are buying the products. When a follower comments to buy on social, their friends and other followers see their comment – instilling organic confidence and trust in other users to also comment.
Above increased direct revenue, small business owners can for the first time gain insight into who their followers on social are, what they’re buying, and what most organically increases engagement.’
Follow the company @soldsie
Chaser: Automated invoice chasing
Chaser is next on our list: a start-up in central London that specialises in accounting software designed for businesses to get their invoices automatically paid on-time.
Co-founder and CEO David Tuck (@davidctuck) highlights how Chaser can benefit growing companies: ‘Small and medium-sized businesses constantly struggle to get their invoices paid on time. It’s a major source of cashflow problems and stress. Polite persistent chasing of customers is the single most effective thing a business can do to get paid. With CHASER, they can do this chasing automatically, improving their cashflow and saving them time.’
Follow their journey @chaser_io
Smartling: Translation software for small businesses
When we asked co-founder and CEO Jack Welde (@jwelde) about how his New York-based translation management software company Smartling could benefit small businesses, he told us: ‘In a global economy where 70 percent of the world does not speak English, precise communications across the ‘other 70 percent languages’ can mean the difference between business success and failure. Surprisingly, translation has remained a largely manual process – one that deters businesses with perceived notions of cost and complexity. But, in a global economy, if you can’t translate your content efficiently, you can’t do business globally.
Smartling was founded in 2009 to bring affordable, high-quality translation and localisation services to companies of all sizes – including small businesses and emerging brands. Smartling’s platform enables businesses to pair high-quality, accurate human translations with automated translation management technology, drastically reducing the time, cost and labour involved in localising and deploying multilingual content. Small businesses can now fully translate their websites, Web apps, mobile apps and other digital content in a fraction of the time and cost required when using traditional translation processes.
There’s a distinct difference between being a global business and doing business globally. And Smartling empowers businesses to better compete globally and reach new markets faster, more efficiently and more affordably than ever before.’
Follow Smartling @smartling
Lob: Easily print and mail letters, postcards and more
Next we shout out Lob, another San Francisco start-up that makes sending physical mail as easy as emailing.
Here are co-founder Harry Zhang’s (@harryzhang) thoughts: ‘Lob benefits small businesses by making it easy for them to automate printing and snail mail. You can streamline regular communications, promotions, or appointment reminders by using Lob to send postcards, letters, photos, posters, and more. You simply send us your content and destination, we print your order using our industry-leading equipment and then mail your product wherever you’d like it to go, anywhere in the world. There’s no minimum requirement and integration is painless with our modern, robust API and full-featured libraries. Lob’s clear documentation and quick, reliable support from our engineers will save small business owners valuable time and enhance the quality of their communication.’
Follow Lob @lob
Fundera: Simpler small business loans (US only)
Our final hero is Meredith Wood (@Mere_Wood), Editor-In-Chief at Fundera. Although this New York start-up is only available to US businesses, we still wanted to show them some appreciation from across the pond.
She tells us how small businesses can use their hassle-free loan services: ‘With banks currently rejecting 82% of small business loan applications, the days of business owners driving to their local bank to get a loan are long gone. However, over the past few years, we have seen a booming industry of non-bank lenders step in to fill this void. But, this new industry comes with its own set of issues — most notably how overwhelming and time-consuming it is to navigate through these ‘online’ or ‘alternative’ lenders.
That’s where Fundera comes in. With one simple application, businesses can apply to and receive multiple offers from their network of online lenders, ensuring they get the lowest-cost loan in the fastest amount of time.
On average, borrowers save $4,000 (over £2000) acquiring a loan through Fundera (versus going directly to a lender). With no hidden fees and no markups, Fundera will find businesses the lowest possible rate, guaranteed. It’s simply the easiest way to find and secure a small business loan.’
Follow them @fundera