7 essential tech tools to support your small business

intro 840x420 - 7 essential tech tools to support your small business

If you’re a small business and offer services such as commercial cleaning in Glasgow then  you’re likely to be quickly realising that you need all the help you can get when it comes to making your business a success, espcially online.

That might mean taking on staff members, contractors or even unpaid help – but then again, sometimes just a few extra hours in the day would be the most desirable options.

There are no time machines on this list – but if you want to maximise the time you do have, we can recommend some great time and sanity saving tools!

  1. A website designer

Mention web design and you could be forgiven for thinking of complex lines of code and years of training.

In actual fact, there are quicker ways to get an online presence.

Take a look at a tool like Wix or Squarespace. They’re both ‘drag and drop’ style site designers and can see you with anything from a holding page to an online store in literally a matter of hours.

You don’t need to have the eye of a designer either, with a series of great looking templates you’ll find that dropping in your own logos and products makes a site uniquely yours with a fraction of the project management effort needed to get a traditionally coded site in place.

In the long term you might decide to look at something more flexible – but to get you out of the gates, especially when money is tight, these tools can be invaluable.

  1. A project management tool

If you’re putting a team together, whether that’s with permanent or freelance staff, having a central place to coordinate your efforts is worth its weight in gold.

Rather than hoping that everyone’s going to take great notes or read and reply to emails as diligently as you do, you might want to think about a tool like Basecamp, Trello or a similar alternative.

With tools like these you have a central ‘board’ or virtual office space to work from. You can do virtually anything you would in a real office, from having discussion areas, post to-do lists, allocate tasks, share files, invite guests to collaborate and much more.

If keeping everything in one place is becoming difficult, opt for a free trial and see what a project management tool does to your productivity.

  1. Book keeping software

It’s easy to let money management matters go to the back of your head when there are more pressing jobs at hand – but when there are some exceptionally quick and easy tools to use, you really don’t have to – especially when putting that stuff off causes headaches at tax return time (or a telling off from your accountant…)

Take a look at tools like Xero and Quickbooks, they’re modern book keeping tools that, dare I say it, actually make keeping tabs on your finances quite good fun. Both have nice looking and very usable apps with quick functions that allow you to categorise your transactions with a sweep of your finger.

You can link them with your bank accounts and online payment gateways – as well as being able to quickly scan and categorise expense receipts. You can even generate or pay invoices on the fly. It’s incredible how one app can revolutionise your business financial dealings.

  1. Collaboration tools

Although tools like Basecamp and Trello have some collaboration tools built in, you’ll find that true collaboration comes with a tool like Google’s G-Suite or Microsoft’s Office 365.

With these options you can almost entirely abandon your office space and set up online!

Setting up folders that you can share with your team means there’s no doubt where that proposal, brief or invoice is to be found – and when it comes to collaboration there’s no longer a need for emailing versions of files to one another. Instead, you can access a document, spreadsheet, presentation or much more and work on it virtually at the same time.

Then, no need for emailing attachments – just share the file and it’s with someone else in the blink of an eye. What’s more, you can message, call or video call from within the service too, meaning you don’t even have to move your chair to work next to someone else.

  1. Email marketing tools

Despite social media’s rise to the top of most people’s marketing hitlist there’s still an enormous amount that can be done with a good mailing list.

Equally, with the right tools in place you’re going to struggle with the sheer magnitude of putting a mailer out – especially with new data protection laws looming.

This is where tools like MailChimp and Get Response come in. Starting with a list of emails and a drag and drop mail composer you’ll quickly find yourself putting together something beautiful that ticks all the necessary compliance boxes. You’ll find dozens of great templates to work with if you don’t have an eye for design and a few clicks later you’ll have your mailer either sent – or scheduled to go at a time that suits you and your customers.

  1. A central social media desk

If conquering social media is on your list of things to do you’ll quickly realise there’s a lot of logistics involved – not least remembering a massive number of passwords so you can cut, paste and post across them all.

Using a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer takes a LOT of the effort out of your social media activity. Connect your accounts, then send your communication from the one central desk – choosing which of your feeds it’s posted to. You can even handle replies to direct customer interaction too, making it a great way to keep all your social communication in one quick and easy to use place.

  1. An online calendar

Our final suggestion is one that’s easy to use – but also easily overlooked!

Having an online calendar is essential if running a tight schedule is important to your business. Microsoft’s Outlook or Google’s Calendar provide simple interfaces and sync with your mailbox and other apps, meaning missed appointments, double booking and needing to get back to people when you’ve checked your diary is going to be a thing of the past.

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