How do you choose the right tools to maximize both your time and your revenue?
While many core components of your operating plan, like insurance for example, tick over without you needing to do anything significant, other aspects of your business can be far more time consuming (if not tedious).
There’s no need for a lengthy introduction to explain how cost-effective the right tools can be. Instead, let’s jump right into some of the best software and apps to help streamline your business op’s.
Almost all successful projects have a workflow. Imagine if you could take a post-it note or whiteboard system, put it online, and then customize it to demonstrate that workflow to everyone involved in the project.
Trello does just that and puts your workflow online in a streamlined form. Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible and rewarding way. If you want to check in or change something, it only takes a few clicks.
WorkflowMax is similar but more comprehensive. It allows you to manage your entire work process from quote through to invoice, while at the same time tracking time and costs. WorkflowMax was designed specifically to maximize project profitability. Acquired by Xero, WorkflowMax offers a seamless integration with Xero’s business software and systems.
Have you ever come up with a great idea but found that everyone in your team has a packed schedule for the rest of the week?
Slack is an established communication tool that allows you to stay in touch with your team, without pulling everyone into the board room. It’s a simple app but packs a punch when it comes to productivity.
x.ai is another platform that has followed the more recent trend of incorporating artificial intelligence. Every business owner could use a personal assistant, even simply for managing appointments. x.ai is an AI tool that can communicate between you, your appointment requests, and your calendar without missing a beat.
The list of sales and admin tools is ever growing. Yesware is probably one of the lesser known brands that has been making big waves. The company was founded by Matthew Bellows, Rajat Bhargava, and Cashman Andrus and has over 800,000 users, including companies like Acquia, Groupon, Zendesk and Square.
You can use Yesware directly from your inbox to create automated nurture flows, templates, as well as setup notifications about responses, clicks, or downloads of your content. This allows you to simply track who is moving through a sales funnel and who is getting stuck.
Another that’s worth mentioning is QuickBooks. QuickBooks is now completely online and cloud integrated. It can also be connected to your favorite small business tools, so you don’t have to copy/paste data between programs.
As with sales enablement software, the list of marketing apps is endless and growing at an alarming rate for many small business owners never mind marketing professionals. Here’s a quick list of some of the apps and tools commonly used.
- Buffer – Buffer allows you to post to multiple social media sites at the optimum time to maximize engagement.
- Hootsuite – As a social media management app, Hootsuite focusses on both employee involvement and customer engagement. Hootsuite maps your engagement stats across platforms making it easier to tack results and plan your social media presence more effectively.
- MailChimp – Small businesses looking to get started with email marketing software should give MailChimp a test. MailChimp’s lowest subscription plan begins at just $10 per month for up to 500 subscribers.
- AgoraPulse is another social media marketing platform that is growing in popularity. AgorePulse helps when planning your social updates. You can schedule them at a time that works best for your customers to drive engagement.
- Instapage – If you’re running a special on a discounted product, Instapage is a great option. It’s also good if you are offering a new product or service. You can track your results and make multiple versions of a page to optimize landing pages in a few clicks.
- Buzzsumo helps you take a deeper look at what’s popular or trending on the web and who’s sharing. It’s a phenomenal tool to look to for content inspiration.
- SoAmpli encourages employees and co-workers to be brand advocates though social sharing.