Business Tools for Retail


If you have ever started a small business, you know there is a litany of business tools and software applications available help you on your path to success. The problem is that there is a lot to choose from with varying costs and capabilities.
Over the past year, I have spent many hours vetting the right solution for Statehood Playing Cards, which, inevitably, depends on the maturity of the business and its anticipated growth. 
As a startup, balance was what do I need now, what will I need later, and can I keep the whole package under $150 bucks a month.


Here is what I came up with.

Web Host and Domain

Everleap (<$5) - With the 5 site pack its $160 dollars annually. I also pay an annual domain registration fee of $8 for the domain and SSL for $15 dollars a year.  I've used Everleap for several years and find their site hosting services and customer service exception. It's not for everyone, but if you some background in website development, it's a good choice. 


Wave and BlueVine (free) - For a new startup, you can't beat better than free. That's what you get with the combination of WaveApp and Bluevine. Wave is in online cloud-based accounting app. If you don't need advanced reporting capability, it's a good place to start.  Bluevine is my online bank. In addition to to providing a free bank account, you get a free debit card and 1.5% interest on deposits --- which means it is better than free. My anticipated evolution will be from WaveApp to Quickbooks to Netsuite as sales increase.

Online Stores

Shopify ($29) and Amazon Individual Plan (free) - For online retailers, there just isn't a way around using a combination of Shopify and Amazon. Shopify is much easier to use than Amazon and has a large enough online presence and many useful integrations with marketing and shipping apps. Amazon, however, is amazon


Apptivo ($15) - There are a lot of options when it comes to running online marketing campaigns. I find Appitivo to have most robust features for the price. Their customer service is also really good. I mainly use Apptivo for email marketing. One reason I selected Apptivo was its CRM integration with my phone service, RingCentral ($30). 

In addition to Apptivo, I also use the standard apps that are necessary to advance your online presence: Google Analytics, Facebook, and Twitter. 


ShippingEasy ($31) - ShippingEasy integrates seamlessly with my Shopify and Amazon stores. 

Final Thoughts

There are a few applications I have not covered like Kickstarter, which is free. Good luck selecting the tools and applications to get you business off the ground. As you can see, there is a lot to consider: integration, cost, ease of use, features, scalability. Post a comment if you would like to know more about my specific experience with a particular application. 

Best Regards,


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Statehood Playing Cards are more than a standard deck of cards. With our patent pending deck you can play your favorite contemporary cards games, teach students about the U.S. States, Territories, and the electoral process, or try out our original card games WHITEHOUSE and STATEHOOD. We created this deck with a mission to educate, advocate, and donate for causes promoting more civil discourse.