The Best Online Tools for Your Small Business
Guest post by Lucy Reed of Gigmine.co
As a small business owner, you’re used to having your plate full every workday. From meetings and budget planning, to administrative tasks – you constantly need to juggle important responsibilities. Fortunately, with recent advances in technology, there are various online tools on the market that can ease the burden of multitasking by streamlining everyday tasks. Let’s explore the best online tools for your small business.
According to research by Oberlo, close to 60% of consumers use social media as a platform to research products and 71% of consumers have reported buying products after having a positive interaction with the brand.
In today’s digital age, developing a strong online presence is essential for taking your business to new heights!
Here are two types of tools you can use to do just that:
Website Builders: These help individuals overcome the need of learning programming for creating amazing websites. Most builders have a drag-and-drop system that allows you to create designs at will, in addition to customizing them based on your brand colors. Additionally, as these are cloud-based, you can edit, design, publish content, and conduct maintenance on the go, all you need is a laptop and a stable internet connection.
Some of the best free website builders on the market include Wix, WordPress, and Weebly.
Graphic Design Software: Developing a strong social media following requires posting engaging content daily. This has now been made easy by online graphic design tools such as Canva, and Adobe Spark. These platforms provide you with numerous customizable templates to choose from for creating feed posts, stories, banner images, profile pictures, and all other marketing materials. You can upload custom fonts and logos which can be integrated with the templates for designing content in line with your brand guidelines.
One option to lighten the load of graphic design is to make use of graphic templates. For example, this package of 100 Questions to Ask on Social Media work perfectly for a business account. You receive the graphics as both done-for-you images and also templates where you can add your branding.
Another option, given the key role digital marketing plays towards the success of your business, is that you could consider outsourcing completely. While you will incur an expense to hire their services, you’ll reap the benefits of increased engagement, customer base, and revenue, all while you get to focus your attention on other areas of your business.
In recent years, customer service expectations from consumers have increased tremendously. As reported by GetVoip, more than 75% of customers expect to receive help within five minutes of making a request and most customers prefer to engage with agents through real-time chat rather than on call.
Here are two ways you can ensure your business meets these new standards:
Invest in a Help Desk Software: This will serve as a centralized platform where you can cater to customer questions from various channels such as – emails, social media, phone calls, and more. On receiving a query, the software automatically generates a ticket which can then be handled by an agent. As the software is updated in real-time, it avoids confusion among agents and results in customers being responded to promptly. Additionally, you can generate performance reports to find areas of improvement and make necessary changes to reduce response times and provide greater customer satisfaction.
Use a Chatbot: Having a chatbot on your homepage will make it easier for consumers to reach customer service. Most chatbot software provides an API, which can be integrated with your website. Moreover, you’ll be able to customize your chatbot’s design and provide responses in multiple languages if needed. Additionally, you can add automated responses to commonly asked questions which will help solve customer queries without the need of an agent.
Streamlining the day-to-day functioning of your business will reduce wastage of resources, remove ambiguity among stakeholders and increase productivity.
Here are various steps you can take toward making business operations simple and efficient:
Create a Monthly Plan: Break your annual goals into monthly intervals and include projects you need to complete for each. By reducing large goals into small achievable tasks you’ll increase the likelihood of success and ensure timelines are met. Using an online monthly planner will make this process easier. Create an online calendar where you can add individual tasks with deadlines and assign them to the respective stakeholders. Not only will this improve cross-team collaborations but help you effortlessly be on top of task progress and intervene when necessary.
Use Accounting Software: Manually tracking each business transaction is a cumbersome process prone to human error. Strive to automate this process by using accounting software. In addition to tracking transactions, the software allows you to manage payroll, file taxes, create financial statements and provide detailed insights into your business’s financial performance.
Establish an LLC: Registering your business as a limited liability company will establish it as a separate legal entity, providing you protection from business-related liabilities and debts. Additionally, it makes you eligible for claiming business expenses as tax write-offs and avoid double taxation. This will help save thousands of dollars which can then be reinvested into your business.
Leveraging technology in key areas of the business will improve efficiency, reduce wastage of resources and result in the consistent growth of your small business.
Written by Lucy Reed of Gigmine.co