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Continual improvement is something that every business wants to maintain. For small businesses, in particular, growth is important. However, growth can come at a cost, and many business budgets may not allow for heavy investment in different tools and opportunities. The good news is that there are many online tools that could help you to grow your business and make it easier to manage, with some free options that are particularly effective for small businesses.
Take a look at seven different online tools you can start using today to improve your business.
1. Social media
Social media is one of the most important tools for businesses today. Social media not only helps you to increase your business’ presence online, but it is also an extremely valuable, and free, marketing tool. By reading up on how to use social media for your business, you can learn how to create a successful digital marketing strategy that could grow your business significantly.
Social media has many benefits, and aside from being a space to promote your products or services – it’s also a place where you can engage with your customers and find ways of delivering better services to them. Make social media one of your marketing priorities and enjoy exploring the different possibilities it can offer your business with little or no budget.
2. Project management tools
Project management tools help make it easier to assign tasks and deadlines within a team, providing a co-working space that can help to deliver results. Tools such as Slack are free to use and many top businesses like Airbnb, Ticketmaster and Harvard University are taking advantage of the different features it offers. The great thing about tools like Slack is that they allow you to upload documents and include chat functions to help your team share updates. While there are paid versions of Slack, the free version can be an effective project management tool for small teams and businesses.
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Other great project management tools include Asana, Trello, Wrike, and Basecamp are other well-known tools that are helping teams to overhaul the way they work.
3. File sharing systems
File sharing is an important tool that can help to improve the way your business shares files. Email attachment sizes continue to be limited, which can be difficult for businesses that deal with video, images and other large files. Cloud storage systems such as Dropbox and Box are ideal for sharing multiple documents in a secure place, allowing them to be accessed anywhere by your teams. WeTransfer is another great tool for sending single large documents from one user to another and being a secure system, it offers peace of mind to both you and the recipient.
4. Cloud office programs
More and more businesses are using cloud computing to improve their business. There are many benefits to using cloud computing that make it a worthwhile investment. Office 365 is becoming more widely used by businesses as a way to keep work up to date and easily managed, while it’s also more affordable than buying multiple licenses for different computers. Adobe and Google offer some effective cloud software solutions that are allowing teams to deliver their projects wherever they are – something that’s becoming more important in the world of agile working.
Whether you’re sat at your desk, traveling, or you’re working in a different time zone – cloud computing makes it possible to continue to work, interruption-free. If you’re considering taking advantage of flexible working benefits for your business then adopting cloud computing could help to ensure a seamless working operation, wherever your staff is based.
5. Online scheduling applications
If you own a business that relies on scheduling to run smoothly, then online scheduling applications can be a great tool. Many businesses suffer because of poor scheduling systems, with too little staff, too many staff and confusion over rotas leading to problems that could have easily been avoided. If you’re interested in learning how to create the perfect work schedule for your team, then tools like Sling could help you out.
Online scheduling apps provide you with the perfect portal for managing your team’s schedules, as well as other functions like managing leave requests. Employees will be able to access their work schedules easily online, limiting the excuses available to them.
6. Online accounting systems
Online accounting systems are a great tool for businesses looking to make it easier to manage their finances and make payments simpler. Having online systems for finance functions reduces the amount of paperwork required, and also ensures that your business has a central, secure record whenever you need it. For an online accounting system to be effective, you’re going to need to improve your online security. Online accounting tools can help save your business money, while also making it easier to manage money.
7. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)
VoIP communication tools are transforming the ways that businesses work. VoIP systems not only save money compared to traditional telephone systems, but they also offer a range of other features that make communication simple. Video conferencing, instant messaging and flexible working are made even simpler with VoIP tools, and they can be very beneficial to your business when used correctly. VoIP has many different providers, with companies like Skype proving particularly popular with businesses. If your business manages staff in several different locations or your clients are sourced from all over, then VoIP can be the simplest way of streamlining communications.
Today’s economic climate is tough, and if you’re serious about expanding your business, then you’re going to need to look to new ways of improving it. If you’re looking for ways you can improve your business then it’s worth exploring some of the tools above to get inspiration and to find solutions that work for your business. Even with a limited budget, there are still plenty of great online tools that can be used to your advantage. Take charge of your business by introducing some of the many tools that are out there to help it grow.