Essential Tools

There is a proven playbook to grow companies.

What tools to use, agencies to hire, strategies to employ.

I’ve launched 9 companies in my life – two of which are fairly large with 40 + employees and hundreds of thousands in monthly revenue.

People ask me all the time for vendor recommendations.

Who builds my website? Where do I get my first employees? Who do I use to run payroll?

Here is the list:

#1. A Logo

I use a service called 99 designs to create a logo. It costs $299. You can spend more money later on a design agency if your business grows but this has worked for all of the companies I’ve started.

#2. Premium web domain.

Too many people start companies with .io or .co web domains or by simply looking at what might be available. They end up with 15 characters, two words and something nobody can remember.

Name your business based on what you find here. Spend $200-10,000 on a web domain so you don’t end up with a business that can’t be branded or easily remembered.

I use to shop for a premium web domain.

#3 – A website.

Don’t skimp on a website. Update it every 5-7 years or sooner. It is your virtual real estate and it is how your customers find you and form their opinion about you.

I know business owners who will wisely spend $300,000 on the front facade of their business street address (and even more for the real estate) but will run their $1 million EBITDA business with a crappy website because they are too cheap to spend the money.

I use to build my websites. They look good and are simple but super effective at converting visitors into customers.

Whoever you chose, make sure it is SEO optimized and has landing pages for each of your services and each location.

KEEP IT SIMPLE. A person who knows nothing about your business should be able to become your customer in 5 minutes or less.

Do this test:

Put an untrained human in front of their computer and tell them to become your customer. Watch them move around your website. Do not point at the screen. Do not help.

If they struggle, make it simpler.

I highly recommend Ross and Denis at WebRun if you’re looking for a vendor to create a great website.

#4. SEO services

Building a great website is one thing. Getting that website ranking on google is another.

I always do ongoing content and link building work to build equity in my domain and make it more valuable as it ranks higher.

The website should be structured correctly with content around your niche and landing pages for each of your services and in each town you operate in.

Then it is about building links (other sites that link to your site) so that your reputation in Google’s eyes goes up and you are more likely to rank.

I use Bold SEO for my link building and it has been a game changer for my companies.

To get an idea of where you are and a baseline against your competitors, use this free tool to compare your website against your competitors.

You can build your own links by sponsoring non profits / little league teams, going on podcasts or writing guest articles on other websites with high authority and traffic.

Make sure to do “citations” as well with your name, address, phone number that list your company on all the directory sites like Yelp, Angies list, Yellow pages and more.

Reach out to Bold if you need help with this.

#5. Hiring overseas employees

All of my companies hire a lot of employees in Latin America (Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Mexico) and the Philippines.

Customer service, collections, design, software engineering, project management, sales, executive assistants and more.

80% of my employees at my SELF STORAGE company are overseas. You would be surprised how much can be managed and done from afar.

My buddy who is a contractor employees admin assistants, billers and estimators in LATAM. His entire back office is there.

I use a company called Support Shepherd to recruit these folks for my company.

The best part:

You can employ them for 80% less than US employees – Often $4-10 per hour.

This has been a total game changer for my companies.

Reach out to Shepherd to make a hire.

#6. A Google Business profile

Build a profile on Google with a location and make sure you check and post on it. And you get all of your customers to write you a review.

This is a game changer as well and low hanging fruit.

Reviews with photos are even better.

#7 – Google Ads

I pay an agency to run Google advertising for me. They also do it on social media and Bing.

I use a company called AdRhino to manage this for me. Talk to Anil there.

You should get an ad spend amount per customer acquired so you can track profitability.

Then you know exactly what you’re spending and exactly what is coming in each and every month.

It is a game changer when you get this right.

I recommend AdRhino as an option to run your ads.

#8. Online banking.

I use an online bank called RelayFi to do my business banking. I can issue cards for employees and track spending quickly.

I have some friends who use Mercury for this as well.

Don’t accept cash or check. It is a waste of time and money. And people will steal it.

#9. US based employees

I use a US based recruiting company to track down local employees to help me grow my company.

The odds are somebody is out there in the exact role at a company like yours who already knows how to do what you need them to do.

I use RecruitJet to recruit these folks. Talk to Brian there.

It is expensive to get help in this area – but the right people doing the right things is massive and can unlock new levels to your business.

#10. A CRM.

Every company needs software to manage their data and customer relations.

We use Hubspot at virtually all of our companies.

My brother who runs a lawn care company uses Jobber. I know many who use Service Titan.

A customer should be able to log in and pay an invoice in 2 minutes.

And you should be able to send them a professional invoice and take auto-payment for services.

The software automates a lot of the workflow and makes this seamless.

#11. Google Suite

Google has a ton of powerful tools to run your company. Voice, mail, drive, and more.

We use it to run our email services. I use Sheets to track a lot of my financial data and underwriting.

#12. Payroll tool

For running payroll I like Deel (international) and Gusto (US based) to make it super easy to run payroll.

#13. Bookkeeping and tax returns

I use a company called Better Bookkeeping to do all of my monthly bookkeeping and prepare K1s for the owners of each of my companies.

I know the founder Mitchell Baldridge and he is a great guy.

The service is excellent. Talk to Evan there.

$14. Slack for communication.

It’s an organized chat room for very efficient communication inside of your company.

#15. Loom.

I use this tool for sharing training videos and 1 off videos to show people on my team things. It is an AI tool that records my screen as I talk. This saves a ton of meetings.

#16. Calendly.

Sending a link to schedule a meeting with me helps all parties involved. Don’t be too proud to use a meeting tool.

#17. Executive assistant.

I use an executive assistant to help me with life.

She orders flowers for my wife. She arranged my entire trip to NYC with a happy hour I’m hosting. She planned my brother’s bachelor party and booked the lodging and bourbon tour + food.

She also manages my personal inbox, gathers tax information, and more. Super helpful all the way around and saves me 10 hours a week easily.

I found her using a service called Shepherd (mentioned above).

I pay her $1700 per month (at her previous job she spent 8 years as an executive assistant to a CEO of a huge company in Colombia).

Reach out to Mat at Shepherd ([email protected]) if you’re interested in a very similar hire for you.

You can also share an executive assistant among people. We generally get 1 for every 3 managers at our company and it makes them a lot more effective.

#18. Avoma for recording meetings.

It is an AI tool that logs in to all my online meetings and records the contents so I can search later. Super handy.

#19. Loom.

This allows me to record videos of my screen while I’m talking about it. It saves me a ton of time and meetings with my team. They can also look back on them and reference them later.

#20. Notion.

Notion is where all of my companies organize their standard operating procedures.

It’s a searchable database that my employees can use to record and look up information.

Imagine a living, breathing, editable business plan anyone can reference at any time. Super helpful.

There you have it! The list of things you need to do and people you need to hire to grow your company.


I’m a partner in several of these companies. You don’t have to use the ones I recommend – just find great vendors in each of these spaces and your business will grow!

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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.