Small businesses owners must find ways in a depressed economy to lower costs and operate more effectively. With the advent of many new online tools, companies can get the assistance they need at a low cost or for free. The free online business can help manage things like scheduling or accepting payments via mobile devices.
One of the easiest ways to manage a project is through Google Docs. This online tool just requires a user to register their e-mail address that ends with their domain name. Once this step has been completed, the business owner just needs to upload documents. Anyone who is working on the project can see the latest information and data at one-click of a button.
Another great tool is the popular Evernote application. Evernote is used by businesses to take notes and create blog posts. It contains everything the company needs to collaborate and allows the writer to keep all of their articles in one spot. This platform enables the business owner to access their notes from anywhere as long as they have a mobile device and a connection.
One of the most difficult and time consuming things for businesses to do is to keep all of their financial information in order. Freshbooks makes the process easier by allowing the company to send professionally branded invoices. The small business can keep their expense reports in order and track payments. This innovative service even allows the company to take payments via eCheck, credit card or PayPal. Although it offers upgraded feature for a price, the free version is more than adequate for most business needs.
For the CEO on the go, Appointy is a must have. This application offers advanced appointment scheduling features and can send reminder alerts. Users can update their work calendars or accept pre-payments through the online platform. To enhance the experience, Appointy also offers a host of discount coupons. The only drawback to the program is that the free option only provides a limited number of schedulable appointments.
In a world where cloud storage is a must, Dropbox truly stands out of the crowd. This cloud storage platform lets users store all of their files. It will regularly sync data on the computer’s hard drive with the online server. If something happens to the user’s computer, they can instantly re-download all of their important files. Dropbox is also made to allow users to sync their documents across a range of devices and personal computers. The free version of Dropbox offers a total of 2 GB of space. For more storage space, users can opt to purchase a low-priced plan.
Online payment processing never has to be difficult again. With Square, small business owners can easily accept payments from mobile devices. Customers can use their iTouch, iPhone or iPad to send in a credit card payment. Just like PayPal transactions, the small business will pay a small fee for each transaction on Square.
With the advent of social media sites, many businesses now have Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. To keep the various sites in order, business owners can use the free Hootsuite application. Instead of logging into Google Plus or Facebook individually, Hootsuite lets everything be accessed from one entry point. Overall, this application saves the business valuable time and money.
In the past, business executives had to attend years networking meetings in order build-up a network of trusted business contacts. With innovative applications like Quora, this is no longer necessary. Small business owners can easily access the Quora website and post a question about their business. Other entrepreneurs and CEOs will respond with valid, useful answers within a short period of time.
Among their many unusual applications, Google Alerts stands out as a key online business tool. People can set up their account to alert them about developments for their business, name or industry. If someone is discussing the company online, Google Alerts will instantly notify the company with the information. This allows the business to quickly respond to customer complaints and manage their online brand. If the client or a reporter posts a favorable review, the small business owner can also respond with a message of thanks or a free offer.
Free Conference Call
Instead of wasting valuable resources on airfares, companies can conduct their meetings online. At FreeConferenceCall.com, businesses can host webinars or conference calls without spending any money. If the company wants to, they can record the meeting or a message for future use. Anyone who missed the webinar can simply logon and watch the meeting unfold at their convenience. This application works great for briefing new employees and for creating an atmosphere of collaboration.
Another online communication tool that has achieved a high level of popularity is Skype. Designed by Estonian web developers, Skype is a useful tool for anyone who wants to place a call or use video chat for free. For small businesses who are struggling to enter the international markets, Skype offers an alternative to high-cost telephone calls. The application is completely free and only requires an Internet connection to work.
WordPress and Tumblr
To reach a larger audience, companies need to create a blog. Through their blog, they can work on developing a brand and an interactive site for their customers. Traditional web designers often charge thousands of dollars to create a company website. With simple options like WordPress and Tumbler, companies can create their blog for free. WordPress offers a number of customization options that help to differentiate a business from its competitors. Users can select from a variety of layouts and designs as well as a library of free graphics.
Unlike other accounts programs on the web today, Wave Accounting is completely free for users. It allows small businesses and freelancers to track invoices and manage all of their accounting data. Users can send out professional quality invoices and create reports. They can also easily track their business expenses and manage all of their accounting needs.
Hiring a lawyer costs much-needed funds that many small businesses lack. With SCORE templates, users can avoid the high costs of legal help. The innovative application allows users to download business plan forms, contract samples and a host of other templates. From financial forms to day-to-day operations spreadsheets, SCORE lets a small business owner access the tools they need to succeed. To make it even easier, SCORE templates has set up physical locations around the country. This non-profit exists entirely to provide free resources and make running a small business easier for the owner.
Meeting Wave allows business owners to meet new people in their field and connect to new clients. It also offers solutions for online web conferencing and inexpensive communication. People just have to register for the site and decide the type of person they want to meet. They can decline the meeting for any reason. As long as one other person registers, the meeting will take place.
The last useful tool for small business owners is Google Analytics. With this application, users can track where their website traffic is coming from and see how many people visit their website. If the company runs a new advertisement or creates a blog, they can instantly see how successful their new marketing project is and make changes. The completely customizable program allows users to understand the demographics behind their company without every spending a dime.
This article was written by Jo Greig on behalf of Phoenix Training, who offer bespoke business training, for sales, leadership and management.