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Starting a small business has never been easy, but entrepreneurs who do so today have one big advantage over their compatriots of the past. There is a wealth of online tools available to help them. From building a website to managing your accounting, it used to be that you’d either have to learn how to do it yourself or farm it out to a costly professional.
Today there are many tasks you can do yourself with the right tools. These tools can help you grow your business more effectively and can help you double your productivity. Here we have reviewed the ten best tools for small businesses.
1. QuickBooks For Finance
A lot of businesses start out managing their money on home-grown spreadsheets, but they soon find they need something that supplies more capabilities and takes less of their time. QuickBooks is the leading financial tracker for small and even medium-sized businesses.
It can track money coming in and going out. QuickBooks can show you your revenue, your expenses, and your profit. You can structure your financials to simplify your life at tax time. You can use it to accept payments online or physically from the customer. There’s a payroll functionality available.
QuickBooks integrates with many popular business software. If you’re just starting out, you can get a bookkeeping system up and running with minimal accounting skills.
2. Slack For Communication
If there are only two or three people in your company, you can communicate with emails, texts, or even Post-it notes. As your team grows, however, you need a tool like Slack for clear and easy communication.
Slack organizes communication threads into what it calls “channels.” Every time you see a message, it’s clear what the topic is. There can be private messages within teams.
The tool is designed for mobile as well as workstation devices, and it automatically syncs across devices. No matter where your employees are, they can readily chat, share files and save and search messages.
3. Zoom For Video Calls
Slack lets people communicate on various topics, but it doesn’t allow them to work face-to-face. Zoom does. It’s the leading tool for virtual meetings.
You’ve probably used Zoom in your private life, but if you haven’t yet deployed it for your business, it may be time to do so. Zoom offers a suite of products, from the free version you may be familiar with to offerings that provide cloud storage, support webinars, and supply features for cooperative workspaces.
Zoom works on multiple devices and allows you to meet with employees, customers, and/or suppliers anytime and anywhere.
4. Google Workspace For Digital Needs
Google is known for its search engine, its email products, and its marketing prowess. It has extended its product line by building Google Workspace, previously known as Google Suite or G Suite.
Google Workspace includes many well-known Google tools for email, calendaring, document management, cloud storage, and workplace collaboration. It supports a branded business email address and integrates with other popular office tools such as Zoom and Trello.
Google Suite is available at several price points depending on which functions you need and how many users you plan to support. A free trial period is available.
5. Google Analytics For Tracking Performace
How well is your website doing? If you’re not tracking visitor statistics, you have no way of knowing.
Google Analytics tracks and reports website traffic. It will tell you how many visitors your site has, where they’re coming from, how much time they’re spending, and what percentage actually makes a purchase. It will show you which of your pages are most popular and how often visitors leave after viewing only one page.
With tracking in place, you can tell whether ad campaigns or other marketing efforts are actually driving traffic to your site and increasing sales.
6. Calendy To Manage Your Meetings
Calendy is a tool that manages your scheduling process. It replaces the back and forth between two individuals trying to find a common time and simplifies life for admin booking meetings for an entire team.
You can use it within your employee team or with customers or suppliers. You can standardize meeting parameters and make changes across multiple meetings.
With Calendy in place, you have an overall view of meetings taking place in your business. You can identify who’s overbooked and who’s available.
7. Trello For Project Management
If you have only a few people doing only a few tasks, you may not see the need for a project management tool such as Trello. However, if you expect to grow, it’s smart to get a tool in place and get in the habit of using it.
This tool starts with a Trello board that tells you what’s in progress, what’s on tap, and what’s complete. As you continue to use it, you can develop detailed task lists across projects. You can assign staff, set due dates, and track progress.
The more irons you have the fire, the more you need a tool like Trello to keep your thumb on the progress of all projects and workflows.
8. Open VPN For Securing Your Online Presence
Open VPN protects your online access by creating an encrypted channel between your devices or routers and Open VPN’s server. It protects your online anonymity by attaching its information to internet traffic and hiding the fact that it came from you.
If your employees ever work remotely and access the internet from a public wifi router, a VPN on their devices will protect them from the notoriously slack security those routers often have.
Open VPN is a virtual private network designed for business. You can use it to build a secure network even as your computing capability grows.
9. Zoho CRM For Customer Relationships
Who are your customers? What are their demographics? If you have something new to offer, what group will you target? Zoho CRM is a customer relationship management system that helps find these answers.
A CRM enables you to identify and follow up on the most promising leads. It lets you understand how you can retain the customers you already have and make more sales to them.
If you don’t have a tool like Zolo CRM, you’re missing a top opportunity to acquire new customers and do more with the ones you already have.
10. ClickSend for Business SMS Texting
ClickSend allows you to use text messaging to improve communication across the board. You can talk to customers, partners, suppliers, employees – even whole departments. You can send all sorts of messages, whether they’re promotional, informative, or conversational in nature.
Business text messaging is quick, inexpensive, and it’s incredibly effective. The humble SMS text lets you send and receive vital information almost instantly. The best part is that text messages have 98% open rates, meaning there’s no better way to reach clients immediately.
So instead of trying to reach customers in an overflowing email inbox, why not connect directly with them via their cell phone?
11. Tailor Brands For Company Registration
Tailor Brands offers a family of products that makes launching your business simple and presenting it to the world with a professional appearance.
Many businesses have recognized the value of organizing as a limited liability company (LLC), and the Tailor Brands LLC Formation tool makes it easy. It walks you through the process without missing a step and even does filing for you. There’s also a Logo Maker that lets you design a unique logo in minutes without having to hire a graphic artist.
To help you get your website up and running, Tailor Brands’ Domains helps you choose and secure the domain name you’ll need to identify your site. The Website Builder provides templates and an automatic website-building tool to get you going with an attractive online presence.
We hope you found these tools useful for your small business. There are other online tools that will help get new businesses off the ground and keep them going.
Depending on your line of business, the size of your workforce, and whether they work remotely, a slightly different combination of tools might be most critical for you. Moving your work to these tools might seem daunting at first but believe me, you will reap the benefits for years to come.