Blogging/Websites - WordPress: It’s the easiest, cheapest, and most powerful blogging platform to get up and running. So many techies can help customize it, there’s tons of templates to make it look good and you can always find help for it. There’s no reason to really look elsewhere for a blog or even a general website for that matter.
Web design/logos -- www.99designs.com: This site allows you to run a contest for your design requirements. Throw up your ideas for a logo or website and let designers bid on your business. You get to see all their ideas and pay just for the winner if you’re 100% satisfied.
Social media scheduling — Buffer: I load up Buffer with the interesting content I plan on Tweeting out or sharing on LinkedIn and Facebook. With one click, the app then schedules and drips out my communications at optimal points throughout the day. Has analytics too to see how many people are reading and clicking on my social media campaigns.
Web conferencing/Webinar software: MeetingBurner: I’ve tried them all — WebEx, GotoMeeting/GotoWebinar, etc. and hands-down, MeetingBurner is the easiest to use, quickest to configure, and actually the most function (it records your webinars, for example).
Telephone conferencing services: UberConference: Also, there are a lot of free telephone bridges/conferencing/teleseminar type services (like Free Conference Calls) but UberConference just does them better. You can visually see who’s called in and can mute individual participants — designed by the guy who developed Google Voice.
Marketing automation: Office Autopilot: The holy grail of scaling a financial services business comes with automating the pre-sales and marketing processes. Office AutoPilot (OAP) is by far the best and easiest-to-use marketing automation tool. Create landing pages, email responders, analytics, sell products, create subscriptions — the whole shebang.
Email services — MailChimp: A seriously powerful, affordable and frankly enjoyable email service. If you’re sending any type of volume in email or want to automate some of your communication with your clients, you cannot go wrong with MailChimp. (Best alternative: aWeber – may be a bit harder to learn but ultimately, is more powerful for email marketing and automation.)
Transcription — SpeechPad: I use this service to transcribe my video and audio (podcasts). You can upload a file, call in a note, or have SpeechPad record and transcribe a phone call. Use it for client calls, dictating notes, and whatever.
File sharing/collaboration — Dropbox: I use Dropbox to share files with transcribers, web developers, and other staff. You can use it to share documents with clients that are too big to email. Very useful.
Virtual faxing service: HelloFax: I don’t know about you but I hate the whole document signing thing. You receive a fax, sign it, scan it/fax it back — HelloFax lets you do it all through your computer with no hardware. Just upload the document you want to sign, 1-click your signature (stored on HelloFax), and press a button to send back.
Business networking — LinkedIn: I use the world’s largest business social network to manage my contacts and make new ones. I also pay for the minimum subscription that gives me the ability to send a select few cold-call emails to people outside my network.
Audio hosting — SoundCloud: This service is like the YouTube for audio. I use SoundCloud to host my podcasts. They are still in beta testing for this service but thousands of musicians use the service to share their tunes.
News reader — Google Reader: I no longer spend time surfing for news. Instead, I subscribe (RSS) to sites I’m interested in and read them in Google Reader. I star articles I’m interested in but don’t have the time to read or write about.
Press releases – PR Web: It’s still the biggest and best way to get your PR out online and offline. Their 2.0 product is really powerful for generating buzz for your business. Sign up today and get 10% off your first news release
Paperwork - www.Shoeboxed.com: If you’re running a lean business and want to outsource your paperwork, Shoeboxed is addicting. Send them your documents in the mail and let them organize and keep track of them for you. I send all my receipts there and don’t worry about creating my own expense tracker spreadsheet each month.
Lead Generation - Hubspot (free 30 day trial): Hubspot is an amazingly powerful software to help build a warm population of inbound leads. It’s complicated and really only for advanced users but Hubspot offers tons of amazing (free) content to learn how to generate leads online and off.
Virtual phone system - www.grasshopper.com: Man, I remember the days of complicated PBX boxes in the office to manage our phones. Those days are so over and firms like Grasshopper allow you to create phone trees, extensions, voice mail boxes, etc. all through the Internet for peanuts. No hardware necessary.
CFA training - BenchPrep: I took some stupid class when I was studying for my CFA Level I that was super expensive and somewhat helpful. Benchprep is the new way to study — online classes, networking, and collaborative group study. Quality is even better than regular classroom study. Careful, or you’ll get addicted.
Note taking, file archiving — Evernote: As time goes on, I’m looking for more and more ways to use this application which syncs on my computers and mobile phones. I send all important notes, recordings, pdfs to this app and use it to store stuff I’m going to want later. Create folders and tag your stuff with keywords.