Are you tired about how stressful and puzzled your business left you at the end of 2015 and wanted badly to get that done with in 2016 as you automate things up with tools specifically designed for small businesses? In this comprehensive list-article, you will get to read all of the amazing small business tools out there on the internet-web that would really simplify the process and at the same time, help you save money.
Many of the tools I did well to enlist for you in this list-article are free while some of them are paid but one thing they all open you to, is effectiveness, yes, effectiveness! These small business tools would not only make your life as a business owner easier but more importantly, they would help you get more productive and make even more profit, isn’t that what we all hope for in business?
So buddies, get ready for an explosion of my top 35 must-have small business tools that expedites your daily tasks and keep your business running smoothly. Oh boy! You will thank me for sharing this with you. Just make sure you drop those wonderful thank yous and experiences of some of these tools using the comment box below!
Must Have Small Business Tools in 2016
Google Drive / Google Docs: These are web-based office software & file sharing. Google Drive is Google’s cloud-based file storage system, and it combines effortlessly with the file sharing & collaboration tools inside Google Docs. It lets you store and access your files anywhere on the web, whether it is on your hard drive, or on the go. Recently, I started saving my files, especially my images since I have lost the over 3k pictures in my picture library for the umpteenth time. As for Google Docs, I rely and put my trust on Google Docs when trying to do a collaborative writing project with my blogging partner. Usually, the drive is free for up to 15 GB of storage.
BuzzSumo: In 2015, it was said that 58 percent of business2business marketers will increase their content marketing budget, and I am certain that number would sure increase in 2016. And to ensure you’re spending your hard earned money sensibly, I’d strongly suggest that you maximize the use of BuzzSumo to research the kind of content your audience would really love to engage with. It’s seemingly very easy to maneuver; Just enter any keyword or backlink into BuzzSumo and you’ll get a detailed report showing how well previous content on that topic performed
Below is a screenshot of the insights BuzzSumo gave me when I searched for the keywords “Small business tools” via their search bar:
Evernote is a very powerful, free cross-device note-taking app that allows users capture, organize, and of course find plethora information across multiple platforms. I love this app so much as it makes me extremely productive and make have the kind of mind that makes ladies trip and be like “Oh boy! Sam’s a genius. He seemed to know it all!” It’s not I but evernote whose hindsight made me have some sort of “external brain”. Got the gist yet? I mean with Evernote, you can save up any flash of inspiration as notes to be read at a later time when you are more settled and have a fresh mind and enthusiasm to read. The tool has several features that makes it fun for use, which includes but not limited to file sharing, file attachments, reminders, and voice memos. Evernote Premium is $5 per month or $45 per year.
Pitcherific is a very powerful tool that does exactly what it name infers, it simply helps in the training and the developing of your elevator pitch. Public speaking is said to be the second most feared thing on earth after death but it is very rewarding the moment you eliminate your fears. However, learning to speak in public or say pitch properly is all about practice, fine-tuning and even more practice. Be that in the boardroom or in conference venue. Pitcherific is a great tool to help you craft your pitch, practice your delivery and record your improvement. Trust me, you can’t go wrong with using this tool.
Dropbox provides a home for users’ most-important information. So you’ve got some files you’d like to keep in a safe place, a place that is far from the reach of children and theft, then Dropbox is your best bet. Just last week, some blogger friend ring me on my mobile asking for a particular eBook I spoke about in one of muse on Facebook, all I had to do was upload the document on Dropbox just so he could download it, and that way, I didn’t have to worry about wasting my megabyte sending it to him via mail or something.
Expensify is a financial services startup that provides an online expense management service for customers worldwide. The name I presume already tells it all, right?
Asana is a web and mobile application designed to help teams improve communication, organization, and collaboration. Asana is a web-based project management system and mobile application designed to improve communication amongst teams or perhaps high-standard conglomerate. If you are 21st century entrepreneur and hope to make communicating with your team members a breeze, then Asana is your best bet. The users of Asana can easily create and at the same time assign tasks to themselves or other person who’s on the team, and all members can have access to the tasks & comment & update their progress. Where it gets interesting is you are a new business who’s just growing and don’t have more than say 10 or 15 employees, you can easily enjoy the free plan of Asana, after which you can move to the premium version, immediately your company increases number. It’s really cost effective, with just $50 per month, you and your team
Box is a file-sharing and cloud – content management service offering unlimited storage, custom branding, and administrative controls. One reason I love Box is the ability to keep my shared document secured. That said. You can make some part of the things you share with your team totally secure and show them other parts you would like them to see. Now, that’s great!
Basecamp is a project management tool that offers a variety of customer service options. Just like Asana, Basecamp is good for collaborating with team members on an online settings as you manage projects and organize your documents in one place and share it across the teams. You should give it a go!
Mention: Want to keep track of what people are saying about you and your competitors? I’d say you should stop worrying and allow a real-time media monitoring application that kicks ass do the job for you. Mention? Yes, Mention does what any real-time monitoring tool should and the good thing is that it’s free to use on a basic plan. It monitors millions of sources (including multilingual sources) and connects directly to your social media accounts to post from one central place. With Mention you keep track of key phrases and brand names, in real time just so you never miss out on a conversation with current and potential customers.
Microsoft OneDrive just like Google Drive is a storage application that enables users to easily store and share photos, videos, documents, and more. It’s a good alternative for Google Drive.
Commentluv is mainly used by online based small businesses and this tool is quite nifty and simply rewards your loyal readers by automatically placing a link to the latest post on their blogs at the end of their comment. Adam Bailey had it all planned out maybe because this tool helps in not only encouraging a community but in discovering new and powerful posts your small business could leverage on.
Constant Contact provides email, social media, and event marketing tools to help small businesses grow their customer base.
MailChimp is an email marketing service that helps businesses with newsletters, automated messages, and targeted campaigns. You either use this or Constant Contact, they are cool if you are on a very tight budget.
Emfluence lets you produce, organize, and track multi-channel online marketing campaigns from one place. The Emfluence marketing platform offers complete command of your campaign execution.
Hootsuite is the most popular platform for managing social media, used by more than 10 million people around the globe. Sometimes last year when I shifted my attention in some online business model that involves huge traffic, I decided to give Hootsuite a try and downloaded all the materials (pdf files, word docs, and videos) I could get my hands on just to get familiarized with the dashboard. I quickly became a Hootsuite expert and right in the dashboard, I combined all of social media accounts and started pumping in contents from that blog and like I had envisaged, I got loads of traffic and increased my revenue. Hootsuite is great, really great!
TweetDeck is a Twitter tool for real-time tracking, organizing, and engaging on Web and mobile devices.
Yoast is a fee SEO tool popularly use by WordPress users and it is great in optimizing your contents in order to rank higher on Google SERPs. There are several features that comes with this powerful plugin, such as sitemap submission, on-page content analysis, and the ability to export the plugin and it settings to another wordpress blog. I have this nifty plugin installed on all of my blogs.
Buffer App helps users share social media content by scheduling online posts throughout the day. It functions just like Hootsuite only that Hootsuite is more powerful!
Peek is a great tool for anyone interested in user-centered design. It’s a no-brainer, all you have to do here is add your URL and in an hour later a video would be made available where an everyday user talks through their experiences using your website. Just make sure you’re ready to get your ego bruised!
Inbound Rocket is a powerful and a must-have tool for online entrepreneurs who would love to generate traffic and even better, convert those traffics into leads on WordPress. It is a very easy to use marketing automation tool for even the less tech-savvy guy in town. This nifty tool features visitor activity tacking and the management of incoming leads to better understand your web visitors. Another benefits it prominently offer is great power-ups to help you get even more visitors and help them convert to leads, subscribers and customers. You love that, don’t you?
Bloom is a very simple yet comprehensive and beautifully constructed email opt-in plugin built to help you quickly grow your email list by offering freebies in integration with the tool.
Revive Old Post is a WordPress plugin that helps you to keep your old posts alive by sharing them and driving more traffic to them from twitter, facebook, or linkedin. With ROP, you can easily promote your content and put it in the face of your target audience. I like this tool so much because there are times when a prospective client might be looking to read some topics that you’ve covered on your blog long time ago and ROP just does what it knows to do best by reviving that post and presenting it to this person and that’s it, a rich-paying client! ROP allows you set time and the number of posts to share to drive more traffic.
Pablo is an online image design tool created for social media posts, it is one of the better text over image web tools out there. If you like to spend and do Fb Ads, Pablo is the best for you as you will be able to create custom images with the action you want your viewers to take. The next time you are trying to create an image for such projects, just pop open Pablo canvas to add text and crop images to the right dimensions for your social media posts.
Autosend is good in cases whereby you like to personally reach out to each persons that joins your website. It helps you automatically send personalized, targeted email and text messages to every customer based on what they do on your website. So anytime a customer joins, makes a purchase or even looks at a particular FAQ question on your website, you can proactively send a personal message to them.
Google Analytics is a freemium web analytics service offered by the Search King, Google and it simply helps in getting you the data you’ll need to make intelligent marketing and business decisions. Personally, I use GA to track where my traffics are coming from, the time they visit, the content that spark their attention the most and a load of other metrics are the things I track daily on Google Analytics. It has indeed helped me in being more productive!
Recuva is a really powerful tool that helps you recover your lost files. I was checking my archive the other only for me to realize that most of my works are gone and I immediately took to searching Google for file recovery tools when I suddenly stumbled on Recuva and upon installation, I run the program and I was able to recover all my lost files.
YouNeedABudget is a personal budget & finance software for individuals, couples and small business owners. With this software, you can easily track your income, expenses, debt, and more in an attractive and very intuitive interface. The software is just $60 but can use the trial version for 34. I’d try it out if I were you!
Skype is a free voice & video calls software, which in recent time was bought by Microsoft, Skype is the leader in VOIP calling. It’s a tool I use every day to communicate with team members, contractors, podcast guests, and other entrepreneurs in their various fields. It however has a premium version, which features calling landlines & cell phones — along with screen sharing. By the way, I used it this morning to chat with my girlfriend in Texas.
Microsoft Office is a word processor and makes it easy to map, outline, research, compose, and edit your long-form book projects. This article is for example mind-mapped and written with MS. Word and every serious entrepreneurs should be using it and the good thing is that it comes with every laptop and if it doesn’t come with yours, you can easily download and install it on your computer OS. Did I tell you that I use it for presentations?
Google is leading search engine in the market and it is good when you hope to keep yourself abreast of latest happening and be educated about the subject of say “making money online”. I didn’t hesitate to include Google Search on this list because I have never for one day since 2011 take it for granted. Sometimes back, I had carried out a survey amongst my folks and wanted to know which tool has had the most impact on their small businesses and guess what, most of them mentioned Google and for good reason, it’s probably the online resource I use more than anything else.
Meetup is a local events matching your interests. You can use Meetup.com to find local gatherings & networking events that’s specific to your niche. Meetup is always free for attendees, and if you want to host a group it’s just $5 per month. I will probably be using it more this year.
Fiverr is a marketplace for goods and services starting at $5. Fiverr is a tremendous resource for small business owners who looks to increasing their sources of income in 2016. Trust me, you’ll be surprised at the variety and depth of the really useful $5 services splashed across different pages of the amazing website. I’ve over the years gotten help in terms of reviews and my book’s cover page designed for me for a meagre of $5. Did I tell you I sold article writing throughout 2014?
LinkedIn is a professional social network used mainly by savvy entrepreneurs. In my survey mentioned above, several of my friends mentioned LinkedIn and it goes to show the usefulness of LinkedIn and why small business owners should in 2016 take good advantage of it. What exactly is LinkedIn useful, I can already see you asking? Well, it is used to highlight your accomplishments, share your content, and connect with other professionals. You can also use LinkedIn groups to make connections with like-minded people & to share content. I for instance automatically share each of my contents on LinkedIn and it sure helps in driving quality and targeted traffic to my website, especially if it is business oriented. Premium accounts however starts at $24 per month.
Entrepreneur on Fire is your daily dose of inspiration where you get to daily listen in on the podcast hosted by John Lee Dumas. Seven days a week he talks through an entrepreneurial journey with a new guest, including their successes & failures, favorite tactics & resources, and more. Whenever you are ready to ignite your entrepreneurial journey, you can hop on John’s site at entreprenueronfire.com
Summary and Conclusion
If you a small business owner and wanted badly for your business to thrive this year and become globally recognized, then you will want to turn to using some if not all these small business tools highlighted above. They will sure streamline operations in your businesses.
It’s Your Turn!
I understand the fact that there are countless small business tools out there but the ones listed here are some of the ones I have personally tested and have loved. Hence, the need to share them here with you. However, I’d like to be in the know of some of your favorite small business tools and resources, know the ones I missed and why I should update this list at a later time.
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