Every entrepreneur would love to be more productive and complete day-to-day tasks more efficiently, resulting in more time to allocate towards business growth.
With so many web-based tools and software to choose from, it can be quite overwhelming. I’ve put together a list of my eight favorite tools that I have used personally as well as have seen implemented by successful online business owners I deal with on a daily basis.
Hootsuite is a social media-management tool suitable for businesses of all sizes. With over 10 million active users, this is one of the most user-friendly social media-management dashboards in existence. Smaller organizations can easily schedule Facebook posts and Tweets as well as monitor their social media return on investment with custom analytic reports.
Larger organizations can manage full-blown social campaigns among multiple users, departments and locations. While it can help larger companies better manage their social media staff, it can also help new startups that can’t afford to hire a full-time dedicated social media manager properly execute campaigns.
Organization is key -- if you are constantly searching through your email inbox to find messages or shuffling through sticky notes to locate information then you need Basecamp in your life. This tool is great for project management -- both internal tasks as well as client projects. You can quickly communicate with members of your team, clients, vendors and freelancers all in one place.
Having a simple project-management solution allows you to easily look in one place to get a complete status update. You can eliminate phone calls, emails and meetings -- everyone is literally on the same page.
Accounting can be a complete nightmare and time suck, but thanks to FreshBooks you can easily track expenses, create and send invoices, and handle all of your business accounting in a single dashboard. You can quickly see how much money you have in outstanding invoices, and you can see when clients opened and viewed invoices. This eliminates the classic “I never received it” excuse, as you can see the exact date and time that the invoice was opened and viewed.
The ability to create invoices on the go will actually help you get paid faster as well. Your team can create invoices and bill clients before they even leave an office or meeting. As entrepreneurs we all want to get paid faster, and this is a tool that definitely helps to facilitate that.
There are several email-marketing solutions, but Drip tops my list for many reasons. Some other options do one or two things very well while lacking in other areas, while this piece of software does everything very well. The product is perfect if you actively market content. Write an ebook, put together an email sequence and let Drip do the hard work for you.
We use Drip at FE International to automate our email sequences and feed content to relevant people. It helps build trust, credibility and is simple to use -- great for non-techies like myself!
Entrepreneurs are becoming more mobile by the year. Having remote workers located all over the globe is a common occurrence in most startups, and a tool such as Dropbox allows you to securely store documents and files in one place, making it easy to share them with anyone.
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Dropbox not only frees up space on your computer, but it also makes sure you never lose a file again. No more needing to send presentations out to team members via email. No more worrying about employees keeping files safe. This gives you security, convenience and peace of mind.
You have probably heard about the importance of content marketing several times. In fact, you are probably publishing content on your blog regularly -- but do you know if it is working? How is your audience responding to your content? What kind of ROI is your content marketing returning? Parsely is a tool that answers these questions for you.
When you can quickly identify content strategies that are working to expand your online reach it allows you to spend more time producing more content and less time trying to fire out what is working and what isn’t. Focusing all of your content production around strategies that are proven to work means you will experience a higher ROI from your campaign.
Providing excellent customer service is a must for any business, and Desk, an application from SalesForce, can help you provide effortless customer service. With this app you can begin to offer online customer support -- answering pre-sale questions as well as addressing complaints quickly before they develop into major fires. You can look at data and see how long it takes to answer customer service inquiries, allowing you to establish benchmark response times to strive for or beat.
One of the other great features is the self-help option, which allows you to publish answers to common questions and for individuals to search the knowledge pool before submitting a support request. A thorough knowledge pool can help eliminate a significant amount of customer support inquiries -- this reduces your expenses and work force.
As I mentioned above, remote working is common among startups and even large established companies are converting positions into remote jobs, allowing their employees to work from home. GoToMeeting allows you to conduct video conferences in HD quality, share your screen -- desktop or iPad -- with your audience, and record the entire meeting to share with those that couldn’t make it.
Not only is this tool great for organizations to use internally, but it can also be used to conduct webinars to generate leads or to offer demonstrations to potential clients. The days of the traditional conference call are long gone -- video conferencing is the new standard.
Do you have any more to add to this list? If you use web-based tools that you think other entrepreneurs could benefit from leave your suggestions in the comments section below.