Productivity tools are especially essential for new start-ups, as they help you track progress towards key goals and benchmarks during your crucial first few months of operation. With the advent of digital technology, productivity tools have become more accessible, specialized and effective than ever before. Some of the most helpful options include time tracking tools, project management software, CRM software, marketing tools and accounting tools.
Here’s a closer look at how each of these productivity tools can help you manage your time, money and business:
- Time tracking software. Products such as Timefox and FunctionFox give you in-depth analyses of the amount of time spent on specific tasks and projects, helping you improve customer service and boost organizational efficiency.
- Project management software. There are plenty of project management options on the market, which can help you track progress of single or multiple ongoing projects. You can quickly and easily manage deliverables, meet milestones, share files and organize communications.
- CRM software. Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps you provide superior customer service by storing customer contact information, transaction histories, purchase preferences, service calls, meeting notes and more all in one convenient place. Check out Highrise from www.37signals.com, or visit www.salesforce.com if you want tools designed to support single-person operations.
- Internet marketing tools. These are perhaps your most important ally, as creating, maintaining and updating your online presence is key to attracting business in today’s competitive landscape. Major Internet players like Google as well as niche sites like HubSpot can help you do everything from building a website and managing site content to creating online ad campaigns, converting visitors and generating leads.
- Accounting tools. Keeping track of your finances is crucial to your financial success, and productivity tools like FreshBooks and QuickBooks help you manage everything from customer accounts and invoicing to taxes and payroll. Also, be sure to offer your customers as wide a range of payment options as possible. Take advantage of services like PayPal in addition to allowing the safe and secure processing of online credit card payments.
There are many tools and resources out there to help you get your business started and ensure success once you have your Business Plan ready. Research and choose the ones the best meet your budget and your businesses needs.
In today’s digital world- every small business needs to have some basic tools for successful marketing. While there are many tools online to help make managing your business easier, there are a few essential “ingredients” to being successful online. Below I have compiled a list of those that are most important in 2012 with some key reasons on why to consider them now.
- A Website that is enabled for Mobile Devices
“Did you know 71 percent of smartphone users that see TV, press or online ad, do a mobile search – will they find your mobile site or your competitors’?” If you need some help finding a cost effective way to build your website and enable it to be viewed easily on mobile devices, check out this article in the ecommerce guide.
- A Business Facebook Page
With more than 800 million people using Facebook today, this is a great place to start promoting your business, building fans and engaging with your target customers. It is free and an excellent tool for announcing promotions, news related items and engaging with your audience. Facebook is focused on helping small businesses succeed and can prove to be a cost effective marketing tool.
- A LinkedIn Profile & Company Page
Another essential channel to leverage, especially if you are B2B. With over 100 million people on LinkedIn- the odds are in your favor to grow your business through networking with potential partners, engaging with potential customers, researching market trends etc. Learn more about ways Small business can use LinkedIn.
- A Business YouTube Channel
As the second largest search engine- YouTube is a great way to showcase your expertise through visuals as well as drive traffic back to your website. Top 10 Tips can be found here.
- An SEO Strategy
Some basic principles of SEO are optimizing your content with relevant key words, attract as many backlinks as you can from other sites and ensure that your site is search engine friendly. Too much flash and other video content can make your site difficult to “crawl” by the search engines. Growing your business organically is a key factor to your success online.
As a small business owner, you owe it to yourself and your business to get online, be social and optimize for success in 2012. There are many resources and loads of information available at your fingertips, just figure out what your strategy is going to be this year and take it one step at a time!