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This list of resources for entrepreneurs and startups includes the tools that don’t fit into any other category or for which we only have a few recommendations.
Business Travel Resources
This section focuses on business travel for teams. Generally, you would use a vendor like this if your start-up or business is heavy on travel and you want to manage costs. If you’re a solo, we assume you can figure out how to book your own flight, hotel or AirBnB. If you charge travel to clients you might want to use the software below in order to keep track.
Business travel companies focus on what businesses need, usually:
- travel at short notice;
- higher quality setting than coach, because you need to actually get work done on a plane;
- flying clients around;
- solving the pain point of billing and keeping track of who went where and at what cost (travel expenses are a fraud hot spot for companies);
- integrated reimbursement options for travelers expenses, or allowing employees to book flights using pre-set airline and cost limits or the company card.
Small Business Travel & Expense Tracking
- FlightFox: started out as a consumer-focused company that knew ticketing tricks in and out, it now focuses on corporate travel, with the same expertise. Y-Combinator funded company.
- Travel Perk: the only one with a free option (for the software, you pay for travel obviously). Small start-ups might want to take a look.
- TravelBank: Can book flights and manage expenses. No free option, but the per-user fee seems friendly to small companies.
- Lola.com: Created by people from Kayak.com, it lets you book travel and control expenses.
- TripActions: Focused on larger companies who want to control costs, start-ups will probably give it a pass but a small business with very large travel expenses should check them out.
- Amex Global Business Travel: The gold standard, but not really for start-ups. But if you’re a bigger business and travel is what you do, this might be something for you. They also partner with Lola.com.
- Concur: Owned by giant SAP, it’s not focused on start-ups, but larger businesses can give it a look.
- Spendesk. They’re not a travel agency, rather they help you keep track of expenses. They can create virtual credit cards for employees, so you can track spending easier and employees don’t have to use their own card or be in possession of the business card. Good for travel and also for offices that might not need flight booking, but have a lot of people out and about in cars or fleet vehicles.
- AirBnB for Work: A part of AirBnB, it just lets you book places more suitable for teams traveling together and needing to get work done.
Credit Cards for Small Businesses
No, you won’t find links to every credit card offer on the planet here. In fact, we’re not even an affiliate for any credit card companies. Our goal is helping you solve your problems and get a good deal for your business. There are other websites that are way more focused on credit cards that have way more time on their hands.
The basics: credit card companies make money in two ways, buy charging you interest or fees, and by charging merchants a percentage to process the transaction (1-5%). They then entice you to pick them by giving you some of that money they charged the merchant back, usually in the form of miles, points or cash back. An important thing to remember is that you’ll never be able to get back more than they make. This is a key point, because credit card offers are crazy and complicated (on purpose). But all they’re really doing is taking the money they are making from merchants and interest and giving you a portion of it back. Knowing this, your goal is to maximize what you get back, while minimizing what you pay in interest.
The easiest way to get money back is to get a cash back card, which gives yout a percentage back. However, credit card companies know that people have emotional attachments to things like miles or perks, which people value more than they’re really worth, so many offers have those instead of cash. But what your business should do is stop thinking in terms of the places you’ll fly with those miles and instead think of how to get the biggest percentage back. Its a game of math.You can get more money back with less perks, or less money back and more perks.
Most businesses will get a credit card through their local business bank or personal bank, and most solos actually won’t use a business credit card, they will just use a separate personal one.
So what is the best small business credit card?
Good for Big Online Advertisers:
- Chase Ink Business Preferred: gives you 3 points for every dollar spent for the first $150,000 in the internet advertising category. So if you’re a big Google Adwords or online advertising spender, this one could mean more points coming back to you. You also get some money back after spending your first $15,000.
Good for General Spenders
- Capitol One Spark: Unlimited 2% cash back (on all categories on spending), so if you just have one card and you spend a lot across multiple categories but don’t particularly concentrate on travel or other spending, this is probably the best bet. Its also unlimited, so where other companies usually cap when you can keep earning cash back, this card does not. Good for general big spenders and all all around good value.
Card for Big Travelers & Road Warriors
- American Express Business Platinum: With an almost $600 annual fee, this card is for heavy travel spenders only. You get 5X points on travel and access to American Express Travel Lounges at airports with complimentary food and drinks. If you’re on the road constantly the perk of the travel lounges can be a huge draw and you might be willing to give up a percentage of the money a cash back card would give you in exchange for relaxing on the road.
- If you always travel on a particular airline, your best value card is probably the branded credit card for that airline. We haven’t listed them all here as I’m sure you know what airline you fly and can use Google.
Card for Incorporated Start-ups
Brex: technically a charge card (meaning you have to pay it off every month), it has some nice rewards for late stage start-ups, like AWS credits. Limited to incorporated start-ups in the U.S. only, its a business card (not a personal card), so it takes business credit history into account and requires a lot of cash in the bank to qualify (we think about $100,000). However, if you have a funded startup it has some nice rewards and features for teams.
Password Managers & Security for Entrepreneurs & Startups
People shouldn’t be allowed to start companies without password managers. Kidding, but I’m a little serious. its bad enough having your personal info hacked, its twice as bad explaining to a customer that they have to get a new credit card because you were lazy. It’s four times as bad having them fin out and realize you didn’t tell them.
So get one. We use LastPass Free version and its enough to run a small business on, so there’s no excuse. If you have a team, there are paid plans that allow you to do things like share a password across a team so everyone can use the same login to access a resource, require minimum standards for passwords (nothing worse than finding out an idiot used “1234” as their password), and two-factor authentication. Most of the companies on this list have some or all of those features.
Keys & Dongles
These services require someone to have a dongle before they can log-in. Can be used by businesses or individuals with security needs. You can set them up yourself or use them with a password manager above for an additional layer of security.
YubiKey: Probably the most popular key for people that need security that can’t afford the enterprise level keys.
Mail Forwarding and Scanning Services
These services accept mail on your behalf and can open and scan it for you, then forward it on if it is important or hold it until you get back. They are used by businesses without a U.S. presence or by ex-pats who need to run a business while they are out of the country.
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