Technology has made such great strides in recent times that most of the business practices used just a few decades ago are now outdated. It is paramount to adapt to the changing times especially if you are starting a new business. The best thing about a new or a small business is that you are starting from scratch and therefore can implement completely new ideas and technology without changing your existing system. Existing businesses need to gradually switch to better things; there are logistics involved and there is always a fear for leakage. You can use it to your advantage to grow quickly and smartly. Technology companies around the world have developed tools and software to increase the productivity of businesses. Using these tools can help you make the best use of your resources. Curated below is a list of tools that you can use to run your small business.
Google Drive and other Google apps for data management
We are sure that you have heard of Google Drive; a cloud-based solution for storing your important files. Google Drive is secure and when coupled with apps such as Sheets, Docs, etc, it becomes a sheer force that can help you manage and store your data without fearing any leakage. Most of the basic functions that you get in Excel can be found in Sheets and here, you don’t have to fear forgetting to save the file. Google apps are free and are easily shareable so that you can manage resources with your team.
You can add on to the memory space given by Drive (15GB) by paying 130 INR or 1.5 USD per month (which adds a 100 more gigabytes to your Drive). Speaking of backing up your data, crash and spoils up can happen at any time. Your data is the most important thing for your small business, a saying goes “Data is the new Gold”. Having a photo recovery software with you is always a plus point, check out this free data recovery software from EaseUS.
Canva for editing and making graphics
Canva is a free photo and video editing tool that is available online. The paid version of this online tool adds more functionalities but for a small business, the free version will do. It is browser-based so accessibility is not an issue. With Canva, you can design attractive posters, brochures, social media graphics, infographic, and much more. To add to this, Canva has a library of stock images that you can use for free. You can upload images of your own as well. The toolset is moderate enough to help you with all the basic photo manipulation and editing needs and the learning curve is pretty low.
Canva is a must-have for small businesses because of its simple user interface and the scope of scalability that it provides. Some of its highlights include drag and drop capabilities, accessibility from multiple devices, collaboration with team members, sharing options, and a fair set of editing tools.
Groove for managing customer support
Groove allows you to manage the hassles of customer support seamlessly. With Groove, you can collaborate with your support staff during conversations and assume access to the entire conversation if the need arises. The response rate of companies using the Groove application is much faster than companies that don’t use any such tool. Companies such as Shopify, HubSpot, Unsplash, etc have worked with Groove to provide better customer service to people.
Groove comes with a 15 day trial period after which the packages start at a convenient price. The most basic package will cost you 9 USD per month. For full information on pricing, visit this link.
MailChimp for bulk mailing and running marketing campaigns
MailChimp is generally known for its amazing mailing capabilities but the platform offers much more than that. MailChimp is designed to help small businesses find the right set of tools to get started and promote themselves. The range of features are wide; a free marketing CRM, website builder, support with forms and landing pages, A/B testing, multiple email templates, mass-mailing functions, scheduling, dynamic content management, and so on. MailChimp is a complete suite for your small business.
MailChimp is ideal for small businesses as well as large companies. The packages are designed in a manner that you will definitely find one suited to your needs and your wallet. There is even a free package which can help you kick-start your first marketing campaign. For a small business, we recommend the ‘Essentials’ package.
Slack for team management and resource sharing
Working with a team, whatever its size, can be challenging especially during the pandemic crisis that we are facing. Even without this crisis, an efficient tool for remote collaboration between team members is essential. Slack offers just that. The tool is available on browsers as well as an application. Using Stack, you can make new projects and add team members to it. Inside the project, you can assign tasks, delegate responsibilities, design team hierarchy, etc. Slack also allows you to share resources with your team members. Not only is Slack good for collaboration, but there are also add-ons that allow you to manage customer support and sales as well. Talk about a one-stop solution!
Slack is convenient for small businesses, especially for tech startups and freelancers. Even with the free version, you can integrate the application with Microsoft Office, Google Drive, etc and make video calls with your team members. As the paid packages begin, the set of features really start to get interesting. From entire meetings to support capabilities for more than 500,000 users, Slack really gets down to business. The pricing packages are available on the official website.
Trello for scheduling and team management
Trello can be considered an alternative to Slack. It offers comparatively lesser features but the user interface is really engaging. With a drag and drop style integrated with cards, it is very easy to assign tasks and schedule deadlines with Trello. Trello is easy to access and you can sync your projects and teams in any of your devices. Even companies such as Google, Pinterest, and Squarespace use Trello to manage their teams. Trello is free to use and easy to handle.
One of the best parts of using Trello is that you can make workflows and represent them graphically. This way, it is very easy for your team members to understand their jobs and this in turn increases productivity. As a small business owner, Trello is great in terms of features and pricing.
Close.io for customer relationship management
Close.io is a lightweight CRM that is designed to maximize efficiency by reducing the time spent on data entry. The software is paid but there are some cool free resources that you can check out. Close lets you manage inbound and outbound sales along with remote sales capabilities. Like most CRMs, this one also lets you call customers, send emails, conduct video meetings, and collaborate with your sales staff. However, the software excels in ease of use and efficiency.
Close.io is priced at 21.25 USD per month (Starter). For a small business, both the basic and the starter packages can work.
When running a small to moderate-sized business, every small decision matters. With these tools backing you up, you can divert your mind to more pressing matters and spend more time on concepts, creative thinking, and ideation. And you can also use a professional headshot to gain trust from the customer easily. Here are some examples of corporate business photography you can take inspiration from for your business.
If you are a small business and looking to get better photos for your products, here is a short article on Tips for shooting Product Photography with your Smartphone