If you're like most busy entrepreneurs, you're perpetually on the hunt for fresh, new tech tools to streamline your demanding workflow -- at work and on the road.
You're likely already using apps like Dropbox and Evernote, but they aren't the only names in apps for better business game. There are some lesser-known, web-based gems that time-strapped professionals can lean on to tackle their tasks and achieve their goals faster and more efficiently.
Here are three of our favorite lesser-known web tools to simplify your business communications and everyday tasks:
This web-based app is a basic, yet highly efficient inter-company employee social feedback and reporting system. Busy entrepreneurs and managers can use 15Five to take the pulse of their team's morale and productivity, from the bottom of the chain of command to the top, all in one easy-to-use and customizable dashboard.
15Five enables employees to write reports -- takes about 15 minutes to put together -- that their managers can read in just five quick minutes. The tool is based on the 15-5 employee feedback method, originally pioneered by Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia.
The web app enables management and employees to directly communicate work-related problems and wins. It also generates reports that you can customize with guiding questions like, "What are the challenges you are facing?" and "What's the morale you see around you?"
You can try 15Five for four weeks for free. Paid plans start at $49 per month for the first 10 users and $5 for each additional user.
For some companies, fax machines are like dinosaurs. For others, they rely on them every day. Those organizations should consider using HelloFax, a web-based app that lets you send and receive faxes online via email. Say goodbye to that clunky fax machine of yesteryear.
HelloFax also eliminates the burden of waiting by a fax machine for an important document to arrive or for confirmation that yours was properly. Messages are delivered to a recipient's email inbox, direct from your laptop, computer, smartphone or tablet.
Receiving a fax is as easy as sending one. Once you transfer your fax number to your HelloFax account, you can start receiving faxes from others in your email inbox. HelloFax also gives you the option to sync your account with Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive and SkyDrive.
Monthly pricing ranges is $9.99 per month for home office, $19.99 per month for professional use and $39.99 per month for small-business use. Each monthly plan includes a 30-day free trial. Annual plans range from $99.99 to $399.99 per year.
This free add-on for Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari shows you rich, detailed information about your Gmail contacts right inside your inbox. It lets you see profile pictures of each person, where they're geographically based and what they do for work.
Rapportive, which was acquired by LinkedIn last year, also shows you your contacts' latest tweets and can connect you to their profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn and Skype. The idea is to use additional details provided by Rapportive about your contacts to establish a better rapport and deepen relationships with them, perhaps by mentioning shared interests and recent social-media activity.