Running a business of any kind is a challenge, especially when it’s a small to medium sized one. You need solid foundations as each little mistake can very well be your last. It’s a tough world and you need to be at your best at all times.
Nowadays, any business owner and their employees are armed with a kit of essential tools to tackle different problems. In case you are unsure about what should be in your toolbox, we’ve prepared 10 essential tools for you to choose from.
To make it easier, the tools will be divided into categories such as -Project management and collaboration, Social Media management, Marketing, and Customer Support.
Project Management & Collaboration
Trello can easily be considered a “must-have”. It’s free to use, easy to understand and provides a smooth and flawless teamwork experience.
It’s a perfect solution for teams that work on a lot of different tasks at the same time and makes tasks management effortless. You can always see the stage each task is at in an instant.
The Trello boards are really easy to navigate and you can customize them according to your project. On the Trello board, you’d have the options to create Trello lists and card, which come with further customization options.
It’s a really smart tool that makes life easier for small-to-medium sized teams.
Communication is key, not only in business but also in life as a whole. Slack is one of those apps that mixes the two together and makes them work.
You communicate with your colleagues all the time and in all sorts of ways (in the office, email, chat, etc.). You also talk about different things throughout the day and things can get a bit messy.
This is where Slack comes in. It comes with tons of customizations so it can be fun, but also formal and serious. It allows you to create all sorts of channels. It could be anything from #finance to #lunch. It’s all in one place.
What makes it powerful is the ease with which it integrates with all kinds of software your team might be using. It’s both a fun and efficient app that teams tend to get addicted to.
Running a business means you would have a lot of highly sensitive documents and you’ll need a safe place to hold them.
Keeping them only on your computer or just leaving paper locked in a drawer won’t’ do. You are exposing yourself to the risks of hard drive failures, fires, floods, burglary, etc. You’re also limiting yourself. What if you need to access a certain document away from the office?
This is where Folderit comes in. A Cloud Document Management System, specially designed to meet the needs of smaller and medium-sized businesses. It’s safe, which is crucial when it comes to safekeeping sensitive papers and easy to use. The whole team can use it together, which makes sharing important documentations painless and simple.
Social Media Management
Nowadays, each business is not only expected to but must be on all relevant social media platforms simply because almost everyone already is there.
That’s all fine, but managing all the different profiles can become a challenge. Planning a calendar on what and when to publish is one thing, but then having to always do it manually can take up a big chunk of your time. You’ll also have to evaluate your efforts continuously. You basically have a lot to do.
Hootsuite allows you to control and monitor your social media accounts in one place. It comes as a full stack social media tool, you can engage with people, plan & automate content publication, run & analyze different social media campaigns, and much more.
It certainly deserves your attention.
Buffer can be seen as a competitor to Hootsuite, but at the end, it’s up to you to decide what works for you and what does not.
With Buffer, you can discover content and schedule posts on the go. It allows for a seamless teamwork experience and provides all sorts of valuable insights too.
The company has also introduced new tools that you can play around with. We all know how crucial visuals and imagery are to creating engaging Social Media posts. This is where Pablo (image creation tool) enters the game.
If not only sharing, but creating stellar social media content is part of your strategy, Buffer might be the tool for you.
When it comes to analyzing the online performance of your business, there are a lot of things that need attention. In most cases, you’ll have a dashboard with lots of metrics scattered around.
This is confusing and that’s why you’ll need data that is easier to digest and make sense of. You’d also like to know a bit more about your visitors as well. In an ideal world, having a complete profile of your customers will make selling easier.
Metrilo gives you all of this – Analytics data that is easy to digest, a CRM to build complete customer profiles and email marketing solution so you can act upon all the data your website generates.
Google Analytics is a must have nowadays. Even if you use other analytics software (which is always a good idea), Google analytics gives you the basics. It’s especially useful when you have to analyze your traffic.
Assuming that you are also running a company blog, which everybody is doing nowadays, then GA is a must. There’s no easier way to analyze the traffic your blog brings in then Google Analytics.
It’s a powerful and free tool that you need to incorporate into your strategy. It’s not the most precise analytics tool, but it definitely has a place in your toolbox.
Email marketing has been and still is one of the best ways for businesses to stay close to their customers. Nobody can send hundreds or thousands of emails manually. That’s why investing in an email marketing software is worth it.
MailChimp is amongst the best solutions when it comes to email marketing. They have recently just launched “free automation for all”, which is a great, great perk.
If you are in need of an email marketing and email automation tool, MailChimp might just be your savior.
Customer support can make or break a business. You simply need to get it right and have the perfect solution.
HiverHQ is a perfect option for smaller teams as their pricing is very affordable. The tool gives all team members access to shared inboxes such as support@ or sales@ from Gmail.
Everyone can see them and you can assign emails as tasks to individual team members.
HiverHQ gives you a tool with great functionality on a budget. Therefore it can solve problems for both small and large teams.
Intercom is a customer support solution more tailored towards medium-to-large teams as the pricing is a bit higher.
There’s also a reason behind the higher pricing. The tool offers a lot of functionalities and has powerful integrations.
You can easily build a whole help center within it. Not only you can use it to build your help center, it can ease some of your marketing efforts too. Intercom keeps all the people/companies your business interacts with in one place, where you can tag them, engage and educate them.
Many sales teams use it as well as it’s also a whole lot similar to some of the CRM solutions out there.
Intercom can become your team’s best friend. Investing in it can take you to the next level quicker than expected.
Use this selection of Project Management & Collaboration, Social Media management, Marketing & Customer Support tools to build solid foundations for your business.
These are all areas in which you need to be as effective and to achieve that you need the right tools.
Kent Raju is document management specialist, guest marketing lecturer in Tallinn University and author of the business book “The Trick of Advertising”. Kent works as the CMO at Folderit.