In the past, small businesses had a disadvantage because
many of these technologies were priced out of their reach.
Today, however, free and low-cost online tools allow
Businesses of all sizes to benefit from new technologies.
Here are five must-have online tools for small businesses.
If you have a website (and let’s face it, you do), then you need to know how much traffic your website is generating, where that traffic comes from, what people do on your site, and so on. This information can help you identify problems with your site and better tailor the content to the people who are likely to contact you directly or buy something from you. While there are a variety of web analytics software packages available, Google Analytics is easy to use and is also one of the best basic tools out there.
Cloud Data Storage
If you are still storing your files in file cabinets or locally on your computer, it’s time to stop right now. Cloud data storage programs, like Google Drive and DropBox, are secure and will retain your data even if your computer goes on the fritz. Even better, you can access your files from anywhere, including on your mobile devices, and it is easy to share files as necessary. These services are free to sign up and provide storage up to a certain limit, which is usually far beyond the needs of many small businesses. Even if you still prefer to store data locally, there is nothing wrong with having a backup copy in the cloud.
Small business owners know the importance of nurturing customer relationships, but they don’t always have the time to manage their contacts and do what needs to be done to move customers through the sales funnel. Customer relationship management (CRM) software, which is now widely available as a software-as-a-service application, has been shown to increase sales by up to 29% and sales productivity by up to 34%. CRM software makes it easy to track all customer interactions, improve the success of marketing campaigns by identifying the customers most likely to purchase specific products, and just generally make sure that no essential customer relationship tasks are left undone.
Project Management Software
Just like CRM software can help small businesses ensure that no customers slip through the cracks, project management software can help small businesses stay on top of project tasks. Project management software runs the gamut in terms of features and price tag, but there are some very good inexpensive tools out there, like Trello, which is free, has virtually no learning curve, but is still a powerful solution for keeping track of what needs to be done and who is assigned to do it.
Social Media Management Tools
Small businesses are realizing major benefits from marketing to and engaging their audiences on various social media platforms. But it can be time consuming to regularly monitor accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other sites. Using social media management tools like HootSuite, you can view and manage all of your social media accounts from one dashboard. These tools help you stay on top of your digital presence and ensure that you are not only getting your message to your audience in a timely manner, but also responding to customer questions and complaints as quickly as possible.
Online tools can help small businesses increase their efficiency in terms of data, customer, and project management. The five tools on this list allow small businesses to automate many time-consuming tasks so that they can spend more of their time, energy, and money on their core (i.e., revenue-generating) business activities.
Author Bio: Rosemary Brown is a business and market researcher with over 20 years of experience. She has been extensively involved in exploring the impact of technological innovations on business organizations, enterprise culture and organizational processes. Currently, RoseMary is conducting a series of marketing experiments on how web-based tools like ProProfs Knowledge Base Software helps to advance learning and performance. Rosemary has a Masters Degree in Marketing Management and Strategy.