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Top five online tools to make running your business easier
There are some fantastic tools out there that are designed to help people run their business more efficiently and effectively.
Project collaboration, social media management and even accounting can all be simplified with the right resource, so we’ve chosen five of our favourite tools that can help make it easier for you to run your business - and the best part is, they’re all free.
Trello is an organisational tool with a number of features that can be used by an individual or by a whole team. It provides a very simple and clutter-free way to manage projects and tasks, especially if they have to be shared between lots of people. Some of Trello’s best features include:
- Progress tracking – With the option to add task items to ‘To-do’, ‘Doing’ and ‘Done’ lists, you can easily monitor accomplishments and progress you make.
- People management – You can see what tasks your staff and colleagues are currently working on, easily divide and assign jobs and collaborate on projects.
- Notifications – When collaborating, you can get notifications that tell you when certain actions are added and completed by others.
Trello has both a free and a paid-for version, but you can try the free one here.
Google Docs and Google Drive
These Google tools have a number of useful features and can make an invaluable addition to any business’s toolkit. With Google Docs, you can easily create word documents, spreadsheets, and presentations that can be shared and edited by a number of people at the same time. Google Drive is a handy online storage space for these documents.
Businesses typically use Microsoft Office to fulfil these functions - but not only are Google Docs and Drive free to use, they’re easier to share and edit they are online-based.
If the nature of your business requires you to share a lot of documents, perhaps with people in different locations or who are frequently on the move, Google Docs and Drive can help to make this process easier for you.
This tool allows you to effortlessly manage multiple social media accounts from one place. You can add your business Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles to Hootsuite, and even manage multiple accounts from the same platform. You can schedule posts to go out at a chosen time, organise notifications and messages easily and track keyword usage on the social media sites.
Hootsuite can be invaluable if you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to social media each day, but don’t want to miss out on the benefits of having a strong social presence for your business.
Visit the Hootsuite site to sign up.
Sidekick is an online plugin that has a huge number of useful features and can be added to your Outlook, Gmail or other e-mail accounts. Technically, Sidekick is a sales platform, but it has lots of features that can be beneficial to any business that has a website or online presence. Some of the best features that Sidekick offers are:
- E-mail tracking – This allows you to see when recipients open e-mails you have sent, and if they click any links inside the e-mails. This can be really useful if you have a list of sales prospects, for example, and you want insight into the performance of mail you send them.
- Contact profiles – Sidekick pulls information about a given e-mail address from around the web, and compiles it into an easy-to-read profile. Information can include a contact’s location, professional history, and additional information such as phone numbers. This information can come in handy when you are planning outreach and promotion for your site, or want to source collaboration and partnership opportunities for your business.
Click here to get Sidekick, created by Hubspot.
Brightbook is free accounting and bookkeeping software that is easy to use and perfect to help businesses manage their revenue.
Brightbook allows you to log bills and payments, create and send invoices and manage the status of transactions – but one of its best features is undoubtedly its simplicity and user-friendliness. As the Brightbook homepage suggests: “No accounting experience is required.” So if you’re relatively clueless when it comes to financial management, but need to manage your business’s cash flow, Brightbook could be a lifesaver for you.
If you have yet to streamline the management of your business with useful tools, then the ones highlighted here could be a good place to start. Or, even if you do implement a handful of apps and plugins to maximise the efficiency of everyday business operations, there may be a few here that you haven’t yet tried. There are quite a lot of online tools out there designed for with small businesses in mind, and many are available for free. Incorporating some of them could make running your business faster and easier than ever.