The digital age has made it easier to own and operate a small business with a variety of web-based and mobile tools that allow you to run your business. However, there are so many tools available that choosing the right one for your business can be very time consuming. Rather than trying everything and choosing your online tools via trial and error, start with these tried and true favorites and promising newcomers.
One of the easiest and most user-friendly customer relationship management tools, Mail Chimp allows you to compile customer data and communicate with customers. An article on Entrepreneur.com titled, “8 Great Tools and Resources for When You’re Ready to Build a Business” states, “You’ll find the support needed to build a list, keep it fresh and use it regularly. The average marketer receives a return of $44.25 for every $1 spent on email marketing, so pick one of these options and get started right away.” Mail Chimp has a variety of features and templates that make email communication quick and simple.
This app is popular with businesses that use social media to interact with customers. A recent article on Forbes.com titled, “Socially Acceptable: Hootsuite Opens New APIs” details new features of this application. However, its benefit remains the same. The article states, “The concept underpinning Hootsuite is that users should adopt it as a single application ‘dashboard’ from which they can schedule posts to a variety of social media sources.”
In any business, customer service is a key component of success. Entrepreneur.com posted an article titled “6 Free Online Tools to Help Your Business Grow.” It touts a customer service resource called Groove. The article states, “Groove is free help desk software that is extremely simple to use and has all the features you need to stay on top of your customer service tickets.” By allowing small business owners to organize and categorize customer service emails, the software lets them stay on top of client relationship management without ineffectively managing their time. Groove also offers other functions for integrated customer service.
If your business offers reimbursement for employee expenses, then this tool will save you time and hassle. Fundera offers tips on why the software is popular among administrative staff, “With Expensify, you can simplify the expense reporting process with smart scanning of receipts, easy mobile tracking of expenses and one-click reimbursement options.” Rather than saving all of their receipts, your employees can scan them with this tool, saving tons of time and effort.
If your business sells merchandise, Shopify can help you easily set up and manage an online store, allowing your customers to shop from home. It is easy for anyone to use and offers tools that can be used to track orders, inventory and more. Business News Daily published a review of the software which states, “Shopify is one of the most liked e-commerce software among the e-commerce small business owners we spoke with, and for good reason. It’s packed with tons of features to help you launch and manage your online store, and it’s super easy to use because it doesn’t require any tech skills to get started.”
Online tools make it easy to manage different aspects of your business from customer service to accounting. Many of them are cost effective and will save you time and effort.
This article was written by Alaina Brandenburger of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.