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5 ESSENTIAL TOOLS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Here are 5 tools  that I believe every business needs to grow and adapt in today’s technological environment!

1.) Social Media/ Hootsuite

Today a social media presence is a MUST but with a catch. It is only useful to your business if you are engaging with your customers.  It’s easy to have an active Facebook and Twitter presence but if you do not have content that engages your consumers and do not have a meaningful dialog, it’s useless. Using social media can be advantageous but you must be prepared to commit to posts and engage with your followers. Mix it up with quotes, pictures and contests. People get bored very quickly today!

image courtesy of www.twitter.comMost business owners don’t have time every day to manage these social networks so they use Hootsuite as their management tool. Perfect for small and medium businesses, agencies, and busy community managers who need to manage, engage, and measure with a scalable, intuitive platform. Hootsuite integrates all your social media into a single view, so you save time. It also lets you schedule posts, so you can proactively manage social media, rather than just doing it every now and then. By using this tool you can track and report your social media, so you’ll know the benefit to your business.

 

2.) Mail Chimp

This is an email marketing service that is completely FREE. They have everything you need whether you are a startup, growing business or a high volume sender. It allows you to manage all contacts and integrates with many programs you may already be using to enhance your business like Salesforce, Google Analytics, social media etc. You get the point! Did I mention how easy it is to use? Well it’s pretty simple. If you have no skills whatsoever, don’t worry a monkey will walk you through every step!

Mail Chimp also has newsletters to further enhance engagement with your customers. A tool like Mail Chimp makes it quick and easy to send bulk emails to drive new business and keep customers updated on your business. Consider sending industry specific newsletters to your customers with the latest industry information impacting your business.  Possibilities are endless!

 

3.) Google Drive

Still using Microsoft Office? Of course you are. However, keep a look out for Google Drive.  Not only does it let you store and edit files in the cloud, but also gives you access to Google Doc, which could replace Microsoft Office.  Some accountants might find Google’s Spreadsheet a poor cousin of Microsoft’s Excel, but we have hope, plus Google is constantly adding new features.  Once you realize how easy it is to share, collaborate and access information, you might convert to the Google World. With Microsoft 365 being so awkward we have searched elsewhere for our document creation fix.

4.) Asana

Technology enables us to collaborate with those across the office and across the world, but we still spend a heck of a lot of time checking in, circling back and following up on things. There are plenty of communication and collaboration tools, but they tend to do one or the other. Some help you chat with co-workers or assign tasks, but they rarely do both. Asana is one stop shop for new and existing business. It puts conversations & tasks together, allows you to get more done with less time.  They say it best “Run your day, your team, and your company with Asana—from everywhere.”

 

5.) SEO

Five years ago SEO was a hot web term and practice but today it’s more of a necessary evil.  Simple rule here; put provisions in place to take advantage of SEO (like backlinking and keywords).  A simple plug in may be all you need to add to your website to make a world of difference.  Let your content do the heavy lifting.  Just make sure an SEO strategy is in place but don’t let it monopolize your time.

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