Thinking of launching a startup? Launching something from the ground up means money. Unfortunately, not everyone with a startup idea has the financial means to sustain his idea to fruition, let alone compete against already established brands. If you don’t have enough capital to skyrocket your startup to prominence, before you throw in the towel and go about thinking your brilliant idea is too brilliant to materialize anyway, here are some services you might want to consider:
1. PickyDomains – It all starts with a name. And choosing the right name, the right slogan for your startup is one of the most important things a startupper needs to do. Differentiating your brand starts with a catchy, relevant name that your target market can relate to. This is where PickyDomains comes in. PickyDomains is a risk-free crowdsourcing site where a client specifies what he needs, either for a brand name, domain name or slogan. Fees range from $50 for a name or domain and $75 for a slogan. With a pool of over 50,000 contributors giving out suggestions and a proven pay-only-what-you-want scheme, PickyDomains may be your best bet in coming up with a strong brand and/or slogan that has the potential to dominate your niche market.
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2. FreeLogoServices – Now that you have your brand and your slogan, up next on the list is a logo that consumers visually remember your brand by. Free Logo Services is an online platform that allows you to design your own logo for free. All you need to do is sign up, supply the text you want to appear on the logo, choose from thousands of designs in the site’s database, customize the design and then save. Your logo is saved for 5 days, at which time, you’re allowed to tweak the design until you’re finally satisfied with the outcome. Only when you decide to use the logo commercially – on letterheads, business cards and your website – are you required to pay a nominal fee of AUD $39.95.
3. iSpionage – For a business to survive in the marketplace and win, business owners should know who their competitors are and what they’re doing to capture market share. iSpionage is an online tool that allows you to “spy” on your competitors and affiliates. iSpionage offers search intelligence on competition across all three major search engines: Google, Yahoo! and Bing. Instead of spending hours hunting through the search engines for competitor and affiliate campaigns, iSpionage sends you an e-mail alert whenever anything relevant happens. Anything relevant, in this context, can range from new competitors in your niche, new competitor ads and keywords, alerts concerning your trademarks such as URL, product names, etc. The service iSpionage offers starts at $59 with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
4. CrowdTilt – If you’re really strapped for cash, a fundraiser might be your best shot. Then again, the rigors of gauging people’s interests and collecting the pooled money through a variety of means can be a tad too much. CrowdTilt is a site that helps you do exactly what you intend to do minus the worries. Signing up for a campaign with CrowdTilt is absolutely free. You specify the amount you need to raise and then share the campaign to your friends and community through social media. If the campaign tilts – meaning, it is successful – you’re charged an admin fee of 2.5% of the total pooled money.
5. PRLog/PRWeb – PR, press release, publicity, whatever it’s called, it’s important for business. You can’t expect people to know about your company if nothing has been said to the community or the media about it. You’ve heard about MarketWire, BusinessWire, PRNewsWire. If you take time to do some digging around, you’ll find out soon enough that these services deliver. Then again, they’re most probably not for startuppers with zero-to-low budgets. For business owners with zero budgets, PRLog, being a free service, is the best place to go. If you have some money to spare, PRWeb caters to business owners on a limited budget. Basic package at PRWeb costs $89.
6. oDesk – Most companies seek to cut down on overhead costs while maintaining their staffing needs. oDesk, an online staffing platform, can take care of that. Whether it be about writing, developing or updating content for your website, administrative functions, complicated programming, writing an e-book, infographic design, oDesk has a broad pool of freelancers with the skills you need. You can choose from a wide range of applicants who charge just about right or significantly less for their work hours. Plus, you don’t have to worry about employee-related taxes.
7. KillerStartups – Raring to find out if your startup is the next big thing, just like YouTube and Facebook? Pitch your company for a review with KillerStartups. KillerStartups is an online startups community where 15+ startups are being reviewed everyday. And as much as KillerStartups believes in the power of the crowd, community members vote, give their opinion and participate in the overall rating of a company, with the goal of finding early on which startup is destined to be the next big thing.
8. Vator.TV – Vator, coined from the term “elevator pitch,” meaning a presentation, business or otherwise, delivered in the same time span as an elevator ride, is a community-based site focused on funding and giving exposure to startups. It taps the power of social media, news and video to organize presentations for a diverse group of investors and entrepreneurs. At Vator, entrepreneurs submit videotaped “elevator pitches” and/or funding requests, which the Vator community ranks according to quality.