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Startup Resources and Small Business Tools

Venture Capital, Marketing, Legal, General Resources

VCs investing in web-based startups
This link will take you to a new page on this site that contains a list of some of the leading VCs that invest in internet startups. Good luck!

Raise start-up capital
The Ottawa Capital Network assists in creating efficiencies in the capital market through programs aimed at educating the entrepreneurial community, creating linkages among the investment community and providing knowledge and support to the business community. The Ottawa Capital Network (OCN) is a program of OCRI’s Entrepreneurship Centre. OCRI is a not-for-profit organization that builds on the strengths of the region to advance research and development, lifelong learning, professional development and community infrastructure.

Marketing Wisdom from Marketing Sherpa (pdf)
This is a 50-page PDF document created by 99 marketing agencies and contributors. The study was sponsored by WebTrends back in 2004, but it is still a must read piece for marketing.

Business and Marketing Plan Samples
Writing a plan is a tedious and time consuming work. But you don't need to start from scratch. Save yoursef a lot of time and effort by using an existing template. This website provides a great collection of business plans, marketing plans, cash flow analysis and reports - free of charge. Got of 'samples', select the type of plan you need, and then select the type of business you are in. Modify existing information to reflect your business situation.

Top tools selected and reviewed by users NEW!
Fantastic list of tools for all sorts of purposes, from free webconferencing to free course management to free movie editing software.

Name your business, product or website
Excellent free tool to help you find the right name for your business, product or website. We also liked their voice recognition software that liberates you from typing and lets you use your vocal cords (not good for cubicles!)

Startup kit from a pro
Tools for your virtual and physical office. Albeit its 2005 publication date, this is still a great resource.

Write a good business plan
Easy-to-read, concise, and clear step-by-step guide on how to write a winning business plan. Excellent information provided by the government of Canada.

Incorporate your business in Canada
This is a paralegal company widely used by lawyers in Canada as an outsourcing resource. Since 1995, Canadian Entrepreneurs and businesses have been able to Incorporate, Register Trade Name or Sole Proprietorship, order NUANS reports and name reservation reports, and complete Annual Return filings and Corporate updates using Arvic. This company provides excellent customer service.

Find a free service in exchange for your own
This is a small bartering website based in Canada (Ottawa). The goal of this service is to help small business owners get their businesses off the ground on a shoe string by exchanging skills, services, and goods with each other. The site supports posting, search, account management features, email alerts, and messaging. Everything is free to users.

Take care of your taxes
This site provides very useful information related to Canadian income taxes. Use their tables to play various scenarios, whether you are an independent proprietor or own a corporation.

How to Use Gmail as a Business Diary and More Cool Online Management Tips
Want to be run your business on the go? Want to be organized and stay organized in ONE place? Want to be fast yet efficient? Want to use convenient tools? Then this tutorial is a must. Highly recommended.

Free Web Conferencing and Webinar Software

Free web conferencing service
For teleconferencing, use +1-218-936-6666 (U.S. telephone number) free of charge. Note that long distance charges will apply. But you can buy a phone card at your nearest gas station and use it for North American calls. A $5-dollar card will usually give you over 300 minutes (we use Apple). If you are doing online training, buy a phone card for each user and send them PINs by email. This will keep your teleconferencing costs down, at the negligible level.

Mikogo - NEW!
Works very well, but the site goes down occasionally.

Works well, but the latency is too high. It often takes 30 seconds for the screen to load. Don't expect much from their support if you are using their free service. They have paid options as well. For a full service with all features, they charge $14.95 per month as the most basic service.  Note that you will need a phone or a teleconferencing service if you are planning to have a web-based meeting, there is no voice services provided by Yugma (see the link above).

web-based programmes for small businesses, including online presentations, planner, chat, wiki calendar, project management tools, etc.

Email Campaign Management Systems - NEW!

Vertical Response
This system has an excellent interface and a very intuitive flow. The features and capabilities are superb and yet extremely easy to use. They offer cross-reference tracking with Google Analytics and Salesforce.com, which is a great added bonus. The best program I've seen so far. They are also the most economical. You pay only when you send a campaign, there are no monthly fees. For 5000 email addresses, the cost is around $30. One issue we discovered with them is they do not support heavy HTML code. Emails with heavy HTML code get corrupted on delivery. So if you are using VerticalResponse, create simple designs, with no gradient effects, layered images, nested tables, etc.

Their interface is also nice and quite intuitive. Monthly fees start at $9.95. They provide good HTML support. Our heavy HTML format with a lot of fancy gradient backgrounds and layered images did not get corrupted.

GotMarketing, now Campaigner
Canadian email management system. Quite good, but not as cost-effective as Vertical Response or iContact.

Constant Contact
The interface is less intuitive than in other email management systems, and the cost is higher, but it is still a good service. They offer decent templates, which can save you a lot of time and effort.

Reports say that their support for heavy HTML code is fantastic. But it comes at a price. This system is best suited for businesses who rely on email marketing heavily. 

Document Management Software & Miscellaneous

Hidden treasures of Power Point. Things you'd wish you knew!
Have a nice presentation? Add your voice, a few buttons, post it on your website, and you have a self-running online seminar. You can add capabilities to collect user feedback, add button controls and other perks with a few mouse clicks. Read a few more pages about some advanced features and transform your online presence in a matter of minutes.

Create a blog quickly
A blog is a personal website where you share your thoughts, hobbies, and other things that matter to you with your readers, free of charge. Having been around for a few years, blogs are now becoming more and more popular and are being used by both small and medium businesses as marketing vehicles. If you are interested in starting a blog, this Google-owned site offers a simple 3-step solution: create an account, name your blog and choose a template for it. Blogger also allows you to streamline AdSense ads to your blog.

Discount computer gear
Here you will find a small sample of unique products that will make life easier and more fun. Products from lightweight laptops, high quality sound systems, accessories and programs to make your computing experience both enjoyable and productive.

Industry Blogs
Directory of blogs by industry. Excellent resource of information.

Rent email lists - NEW!
This is a good option if your have decent budget. In the long run, invest in building your own lists.

WebSiteGrader - NEW!
Check your site rating with Google, Alexa, Technorati and others. Receive basic SEO analysis of your site (note that like with all tools, some entries are questionable).

Popular links for startups - NEW!

Market yourself online - NEW!

Create a few paragraphs describing your main business advantages or services and send this information to the outlets below. Your will get fantastic results and can spend as little as $0.00 (zero). Make sure your paragraphs are well written.

Market yourself via media - NEW!

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