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7 Best Online Business Tools for Your Startup
Posted on 10th August 2017 in Business
Written by James Marren
Are you about to embark on a new business venture? If you want to get to the top of the mountain and enjoy the view, it’s crucial that you take advantage of the vast array of technological solutions that are available to you. It may be more competitive than ever in the market, but the plus side is that the tools to assist you are better and more numerous than ever before. There are great tools and apps for helping you organise workflow, generate qualified leads, assist with customer service and so much more. Here is a list we’ve put together of some of our favourites.
Great communication is a vital component of any business, no matter how small or fledgeling your team is. We are big fans of Slack, which is a messenger type service with some key added features. We particularly like the ‘Channels’ feature that allows you to organise your team conversations into open channels. You can make a channel for a project, a topic, a team etc. and everyone has a transparent view of all that’s going on. For sensitive information, you can create private channels and invite fewer team members or alternatively you can just direct message someone. It’s a great way to share files and also send morale boosting Giphys for congratulations or other general banter around the office. It’s also mobile friendly, so you can easily stay in touch with what is going on at the office from wherever you are.
Communication with your team is one thing, but good communication with your customers is equally vital, if not even more so. Intercom is a customer messaging platform that offers a range of products that allows you to respond to inbound requests across live chat, email, and social, all in one place. You can engage via targeted emails, in-apps, push messages, and campaigns triggered by time or behaviour and educate via the creation of help articles. If you contact us, you’ll likely be chatting to Matthew and the Gif below says it all (he’s a good sport and a thoroughly nice chap)!
Trello is a great tool that we use daily and find incredibly useful for project management. It uses a logical, intuitive system of cards and boards to help bring a visual element to the ordering and management of tasks. That’s certainly not all, however, as you can also assign cards to specific team members, with a deadline, and keep track of progress with the written and visual updates that they submit to the card. There is also a notification system in place that sends you an email to update you whenever a team member edits or moves a card.
4. GSuite & Analytics
Google’s GSuite was created to offer a complete range of functionality for your business. You can set up your Gmail email account, use Google Analytics to track your website performance, create a presentation with Gsheets, share a Google Doc with a colleague and so much more. You can simply pick and choose the elements that you want to make use of, but there are many practical and collaborative benefits to your team using all the same tools. Sharing access to a document with a team member is easy and can be edited directly without any annoying formatting issues. You can even edit at the same time if you want!
HootSuite is similar to Buffer (which we also like) and can help you maximise your startup’s social media efforts. It offers the possibility of managing all your social media platforms from one place and provides deep insights into your performance and helps uncover trends via sophisticated analytics dashboards. It does a lot of the hard work for you by tracking all messages and mentions across platforms so that you can stay engaged with your audience. As well as creating tweets in real time, reacting to what is going on in the world today, you can generate evergreen content and set it to be shared in advance so that you can focus on driving your business forwards in other areas.
Growing your email subscribers list is an important though challenging task when starting up. Thankfully MailChimp is one tool that makes the process a little easier, helping you create more aesthetically appealing email campaigns that enhance your brand, grow your audience and reduce unsubscribes. Personalised and automated templates reduce the burden on you and allow you to focus more on strategy and engaging with the right people in an appropriate way. You can also integrate with Facebook and Instagram advertising to find new customers and reconnecting with others, while its powerful analytics reports help clarify what is and isn’t working.
When starting up, full of ideas and energy, HR and the potential of admin nightmare is probably one of the last things that you want to think about or deal with. However, as with most aspects of running your business, there is an app that can help (several in fact). The one that we use is BreatheHR as it’s a fully web-based solution that allows us to maintain our paperless office status. It covers all bases from dealing with staff holiday, performance reviews, expenses etc. and is above all secure, reliable and surprisingly simple to use.
FUTRLI will guide you up the mountain