This post by guest blogger Jon Spenceley appears as part of our series Small Business 500.

tips for small businessBuilding a business is not always easy, but there are a wealth of tools that can help get you up and running. Once you have your million-dollar idea, and you’ve built your dream team, what comes next? Check out these five tech resources for some help getting to the next steps in your small business:

1. Prototyping

If you’re building an online or mobile application, having a prototype of your potential product is a great way to get feedback, and make quick changes to the look & feel. Try Balsamiq, which offers interactive prototyping for online and mobile platforms.

2. User feedback

Once you’re up and running, you need to know what your users like, but most important, what they don't. Check out UserTesting, a great feedback application. Use this app to get feedback from real users in their network, or you can invite your own users to test your product and give their thoughts through the reporting function.

3. Test and iterate

Tracking your analytics and metrics lets you establish what is working, and can help you learn to communicate your story more effectively. KISSMetrics helps you understand usage, and run A/B testing. Check out Google Analytics to monitor how people are interacting with your site.

4. Support your customers

Once you’re up and running, keeping customers happy, informed, and well supported is a top priority. Keep track of support inquiries with ZenDesk, chat with customers in real-time via Olark, and collect feedback with GetSatisfaction.

5. Bring in new users

Many tools exist that can help bring new customers to your site, or increase your brand recognition. Get your brand in front of customers after they’ve visited your site with Retargeter, or run & manage marketing campaigns with HubSpot.

Jon's not your average community manager. With a background in computer science, and three years of customer service under his belt, he's been interacting with cool people and working on cool things for most of his adult life. He has a passion for meeting new people, running events big and small, and for talking up a storm (on and off stage). Jon is Community Manager for Sprouter.com, the online resource for entrepreneurs to get expert answers to their startup questions. Want more info? Drop him a line at jon@sprouter.com.

Sprouter.com
@Sprouter