20 Must Have Tools For Small BusinessesSMEStudio
Besides the company that I founded, Onevest, which is a crowdfunding platform for entrepreneurs and small businesses, there are other great tools out there that every small business should use in order to increase the growth of their company over the course of time.
Starting a new business can be tough, as roadblocks you never thought to imagine crop up. Limited time, manpower, and budgets can all be a factor as the workload starts to pile up and the bills come rolling in. With a solid team and the right tools however, you’ll soon be on your way to reaching your business potential. Below is a curated a list of 20 must have tools that all small business owners can utilize.
1. Google Analytics
With a new business, it’s all about the numbers. How much traffic does your website generate? Where does the majority of that traffic come from? What are some key demographics of your target audience? All of these questions play a major role in the success of a startup, and tracking them is no easy feat. That’s where Google Analyticscomes to play. Playing off their reputation for innovative and easy to use services, Google’s statistics tool is no exception. Users can view the countries their site has been seen in, the percentage differences in traffic drivers, and their key numbers, broken out by the day, week, month, or year. Best of all, Google Analytics uses clearly marked charts and graphs so that even the least tech savvy individual can feel confident with understanding their information.
Tired of filing cabinets full of loose documents that just keep mounting? EchoSign is the eco-friendly solution. Simply upload your documents onto the EchoSign server and send to the other party. With its E-sign capability, EchoSign makes signing contracts a hassle-free event, with no printer or scanner necessary. Simply type in your name and initials and EchoSign will save your signed documents on their server for you to reference whenever you need. Instead of throwing away hundreds of dollars on paper, printer ink, and a scanner, EchoSign saves you time, money, and work, all while creating an effort to improve our ecosystem.
Who can relate to toting around a bag full of gadgets, because each one contains different documents? Dropbox is the multitasker’s savior, creating a virtual link between all of your Internet connected devices. Utilizing the cloud saving capability, users can save all of their images, documents, and video clips onto their Dropbox account, which can then be accessed from anywhere. Don’t worry about losing a document, or sending files that are too large. With Dropbox, you can easily share files to other users. Finally, one of the more unnoticed benefits to this file storage, Dropbox allows you to maintain organization for all of your files. Create personalized folders and save your documents accordingly; they’ll all be there when you land the next morning.
Wix has something for everyone. For those individuals who are less tech savvy and more design centered, Wix is a great resource for website and blog creation. With a “no coding” promise, Wix uses a drag and drop template so you can fully customize your site. If you change your company colors in a few months, Wix allows you to easily swap out your old template for an updated version. On the flip side, people with a stronger tech background can benefit from Wix’s newly launched market app, allowing users to mesh their personal apps onto the Wix platform. This is ideal for app creators, adding another potential marketplace for their product, as well as Wix users who will have access to a larger range of apps. With attractive perks like an online store setup, round the clock customer service, and easily trackable statistics, Wix makes website building seem like a walk in the park. The best part? Creating a Wix website is absolutely free.
Starting a business often involves utilizing the skills of others. Without the means to hire fulltime staff, but with project deadlines looming, hiring a per-project contractor can be extremely beneficial. With no time to waste looking for that perfect candidate, Odeskstreamlines the process for you. Take advantage of their huge database of contractors looking for work, and follow their step-by-step process to find the best fit for your company. Odesk profiles provide previous work experience, sample portfolio, and client reviews so that you can make an informed decision, and meet with only those candidates that would be a great asset to your team. You can then set up a virtual interview without even leaving your workspace, and easily assign your chosen candidate the project at hand. Odesk continues to aid you in the process with their tracking tool, allowing you to constantly watch your project’s performance, and make notes or additions along the way. Finally, don’t worry about the hassle of payment issues and dealing with bank paperwork. Odesk handles all of the transactions so that you can pay your contractor with ease, and enjoy your completed project, stress free.
Starting a business is a challenging job, and one that calls for juggling numerous issues at a time. With so many projects and challenges on the table, it’s common for certain things to get overlooked. OmniFocus realizes the organizational challenges of the workplace, and has created an easy to navigate tool to help maintain a work/life balance. Their approach is three-pronged: capture, organize, and sync. OmniFocus starts by collecting all of your data, current to do lists, and anything that is on your mind. This could include stream of consciousness thoughts, or even just casual notes as they occur to you. Once all of this data is entered, it can easily be organized into a more proactive form, allowing for you to reach your goals in a clear and timely fashion. Finally, to avoid any crashing disasters, OmniFocus will sync all of your data onto their cloud server for you to reference from any location, at any time.
With a small business, it’s imperative to get the word out there about your service, product, or idea. Social media is one way to reach potential clients, but as for retaining them, MailChimp becomes a very useful tool. With easy to use templates and clearly marked filtered instructions, MailChimp helps you create email newsletters to distribute to your list of current contacts. Users without much tech or design experience can easily create a visually pleasing E-blast that will grab the reader’s attention and hold onto it. Sending these newsletters on a regular basis can help keep your current database undated on your new projects and can send a huge traffic flow to your website. MailChimp is a great tool for businesses of all sizes, to excite and entertain your current clientele.
Skype has revolutionized the long distance relationship, and that is not just referring to romantic ones. While its video capabilities are great for large groups, just the phone service alone can prove extremely beneficial. New businesses may be dealing with overseas clients and time differences, but with Skype, exorbitant phone fees are a thing of the past. It’s also a helpful tool to send documents instantly, even during a call. The multi-tools of the phone, video, and chat combine to make a powerful social structure, and an even stronger business tool.
9. Go Daddy
Whether you are creating a new website, self-hosting your company’s blog, or creating a work server, its essential to discover a hosting platform that works for you. One great example is Go Daddy, a website server that offers something for everyone. Novice website creators can choose from a multitude of templates, complete with social media widgets and simple image tools to create a visually pleasing website in a short amount of time. This is the perfect tool for first time website creators who are looking for easy to achieve quality results. To underscore this point, Go Daddy provides global assistance 24 hours/day, 365 days per year. For Blog creators, Go Daddy gives access to unlimited bandwidth and WordPress compatibility, as well as 150GB of disk space. Looking to transfer an existing blog to the Go Daddy platform? With an easy to use exporting service, you’ll have your new site up and running in no time.
LinkedIn has changed the workplace meetup structure in a dramatic way. Small businesses looking to source the best new talent for their startups now have access to not only their own networks, but also the networks of their contacts. LinkedIn provides an online directory of resumes, a chance to connect with like-minded individuals, and a platform to source and find careers. A good idea is just that, and idea, and without talented individuals, it may never come to fruition. Starting your business with a tight team of experienced, talented people is the first step to success, and LinkedIn is an ideal way to achieve that.
We are living in a digital and visual world, and for new businesses, grabbing attention is paramount. Slideshare allows users to share digital slideshows and presentations across the globe, accessing over 50 million monthly users. Slideshare is a great platform to upload videos, slideshow presentations, and music files in order to share them across the web. It functions primarily as a sharing platform, helping users to gain visibility for their creations. The site has an easy sharing service and blog-embedding tool, so that your creations can be placed on your company’s site or blog. Videos showcasing your products, or How To tutorials can add flare and usability to your site, and Slideshare is the platform to create this.
To be continued…