Small businesses need to be especially productive and innovative to stand out, especially when competing with larger companies with deep pockets. No wonder, setting up and scaling a small business is highly rewarding but also quite stressful.
As an entrepreneur and the owner of a growing business, you often wish for more hours in a day to get more done. Unfortunately, that’s not possible.
However, the picture isn’t all that gloomy, thanks to the technology that has solved several real-world problems for businesses, including low productivity and repetitive tasks. Below, we have rounded up the top digital tools for small businesses that will help them embrace automation and boost their productivity manifold.
Of course, not every tool is meant for every business. But you can take your pick based on your company goals by identifying your problem areas and speaking to your employees to know what would help them perform better.
Trello is an easy to use, free tool for personal productivity and team collaboration. The highly visual tool enables you to keep your team on the same page, literally, by allowing every member to organize, manage, and update projects on a single board.
To start with, Trello allows you to import information from spreadsheets quickly and seamlessly. To save time, you can create a new card and copy and paste items from your existing spreadsheets, and Trello will turn all the list items into new cards automatically.
If you are using Trello for team collaboration, it is also a good idea to include a due date for every item so that the expectations are clear from the start. Trello also lets you divide tasks into specific stages, such as Not Done, Doing, Done – so that you can gauge the progress of your tasks at a quick glance.
You can also use power-ups to pull up information from other apps like Gmail, Google Calendar, and Dropbox to create automated workflows. The best part is that Trello is free with unlimited boards and members. As the tool is highly customizable, you may also join various Trello communities to learn how others are making the most of this business management tool.
Your customers are the heroes of your story. That’s why it is essential to offer ace customer service to keep them satisfied and loyal to your brand. Acquire.io is a feature-rich customer service platform that offers multiple plug n’ play options for businesses of all sizes to streamline their customer service function and enhance their customer experience significantly.
One of the most commonly used functions is the live chat feature that can be used to engage your customers in real-time.
Whether you are an e-commerce business or simply using your website as a lead magnet, having a live chat button on every page can facilitate real-time support at the precise moment a visitor needs help, boosting the chances of sales or conversion.
Acquire live chat can also be integrated with other interactive technologies, such as co-browsing, audio calling and video calling, which gives users the option to interact with your support agents in their preferred mode of communication.
Acquire.io can also help you build an AI-enabled chatbot for your business to facilitate 24/7 support for your customers and reduce the workload of your agents so that they can focus on complex queries that require human intervention.
With so many useful websites and apps available on the web, it isn’t unusual to have many accounts on several sites. But having a single password for all your accounts can jeopardize your security, and remembering different passwords for each site is not humanly possible.
That’s where the LastPass comes in as a handy tool that stores all the passwords to every account you have ever created. Use LastPass to manage your passwords, delete expired, and add new ones.
Clear communication between all the team members is essential for your company’s success. That’s why we recommend Slack, one of the best tools for team communication that makes it easier to collaborate, work remotely, and cut down on constant emails.
Top features in Slack include real-time chats, advanced message search, cross-functional communication, and more. The chat feature allows you to create groups, share files, and other information, making it possible for multiple members to collaborate on projects in real-time and share instant responses and opinions.
Slack also integrates with popular business apps to pull all the data into Slack so that your employees are always informed, and work gets done faster. You can also use Slack bot to create a chatbot for your business to interact with users.
Chatbots are revolutionizing customer support by offering 24/7 support and streamlining operations for your support agents. An intelligent, AI-enabled conversational bot, such as that provided by Acquire.io, can answer up to 80% of repetitive and straightforward queries while learning with every new interaction.
Having a social media presence on multiple platforms is imperative to your success. But managing all your company’s social media could get quite tedious and time-consuming unless you have a tool like Hootsuite to schedule your posts for multiple platforms.
With a free account, you can post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn from a single dashboard that can be used for scheduling posts and monitoring their performance. Hootsuite also takes out the guesswork from your social media scheduling by providing you with data to decide the best times for putting up your posts on different platforms.
One significant advantage of Hootsuite is that it allows you to add multiple users, which makes it easier to bring your entire team on board for better collaboration.
Email Marketing is the favorite marketing technique of seasoned marketers, and for a good reason, too. However, traditional email platforms are not good enough for your business as you need to execute a high-degree of personalization in your emails to ensure they have the desired impact.
With MailChimp, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month to 2,000 subscribers, after which you can upgrade your plan as your mailing list grows or opt for a pay-as-you-go subscription. MailChimp offers you pre-designed, customizable templates that you can use to create your own branded newsletter, which you can automatically send out to users with the RSS-to-email option.
It is also possible to categorize and divide your mailing list to send relevant content to your subscribers. The tool also offers in-depth analytics and detailed reports to analyze the performance of your campaigns.
In the connected world, it is easy to get distracted with online news and social media, which can bring down your productivity considerably. However, a tool like Toggl helps you stay away from distractions by monitoring your work time.
The productivity software comes with advantageous yet straightforward features, like time tracking, monitoring, and reporting, as well as sharing timesheets with the team. It also includes automated timesheets that help you analyze where you spend your time so that you can prioritize it better. You can download the Toggl Chrome Extension to set timers and automatically map your time during working hours.
For small businesses, it is vital to adopt various tools and technologies that can automate repetitive tasks and improve the productivity of the team to boost profits and also leave ample time for innovation and planning the growth of your company. This list of some basic but powerful tools will undoubtedly improve collaboration between your team members and increase their efficiency significantly.
Is there any particular tool that you particularly rely upon in your company? Spread the knowledge by sharing your thoughts in the comments section below.