Advice

6 Tools to Make Life Easier for Small Business Owners

There are a few basic essential tools that you should already have as a small business owner. An online e-mail marketing tool, like MailChimp. High-speed Internet – or even better, fiber-optic Internet – so you don’t have to hassle with delays and buffering. Personal cloud storage, like Dropbox.

But don’t you wish there was one tool that could do it all? It would find you clients, bring customers to your website, help you beat the competition, do your accounting, help you balance life.

Unfortunately, I’m not here to tell you that I’ve found that tool. But here are six tools that take little effort on your part, and give you results you need. Investing a little time into each tool now can give you free time down the road – so you can focus on the more important tasks at hand.

1. Wix

You can spend thousands on a freelance web designer. Or read a book for “dummies” on how to create a WordPress website. Or, you can spend a few hours on Wix creating a website to attract new customers and/or clients.

Wix has hundreds of templates to choose from so you don’t have to deal with the complications of coding. You don’t need to be tech savvy to create a topnotch website with this tool.

Simply choose a template and drop in text and images. Then make your website “live” for the world to see. It’s completely free to create a website and you can go back and edit whenever you need to.

2. UserTesting

So – you’ve created your website. Now what? How do you know it’s user-friendly, aesthetically appealing and other important characteristics? With UserTesting, you can test your new website with real people. Choose the questions that you want answered, then get feedback on your site.

According to Forbes, “UserTesting supplies a focus group (tailored to your target demographics) that tries out the “usability” of your website. Watch their screen activity, ask follow-up questions and use it all to improve your website.”

3. HootSuite

Now that you’ve got your website, you need to start connecting with clients and customers over social media. It can be tough to juggle Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ accounts. That’s where HootSuite comes in.

Don’t hire a social media marketer or spend hours each day dealing with this task yourself – this tool is capable of doing it all. HootSuite allows you to schedule posts in advance for all your account on multiple social media outlets. Additionally, you can interact with other users who have responded to your posts.

All it takes is a little time scheduling your posts, and your potential clients and customers will have constant interaction with you.

4. Odesk

You wear many hats as a small business owner (hence your 70+ hour workweeks), but you can’t literally do it all. When you first start a business or start growing, you’ll need help from others. As a small business owner, you don’t always have the means or desire to hire a fulltime employee for a necessary, but small task.

That’s where Odesk comes in handy. This tool makes it easy to find that perfect per-project employee with their database of ready-to-work contractors. Odesk will provide you with potential employees based on their experience, portfolio and reviews. Choose a handful to have a virtual interview with, then hire someone!

The job doesn’t stop there for Odesk. The tool will track the performance of the project and handle the transactions, so you can cut time hassling with all the paperwork.

5. OmniFocus

When you work as many hours as you do, it’s tough to not live an “all work and no play” lifestyle. Whether you need to balance your work and life or you need help juggling all the tasks of your business, OmniFocus can help. The tool, according to its website, “is designed to quickly capture your thoughts and ideas to store, manage, and help you process them into actionable to-do items.”

First, you’ll type any notes or thoughts you may have. Then, these will be organized into clear, timely and achievable goals. Last, all the information will be available onto OmniFocus’ cloud server so you can be reminded of your goals at work, at home or anywhere on the go.

6. Engajer

You spend most your time focused on sales and profit – but you can’t forget about engaging new customers and clients. Engajer does this is the most advanced way, by allowing you to make pre-recorded, bite-sized videos for the most effective presentations.

According to Fox Business, “the app lets you create interconnecting 30-second video segments that lead watchers through an interactive menu of Q&As. The app also has tools for marketing that provide valuable insight into which of your strategies are the most effective at communicating messages to customers.”

With Engajer, you’ll also get real-time notifications, access to a cloud-based platform, advanced analytics and other key marketing features.

Elizabeth Phillips is a freelance writer with a focus on technology, small business, and entrepreneurship. She can be found typing away on her laptop in Philadelphia, PA. Elizabeth welcomes your feedback via email

Image courtesy of Keerati / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Gresham Harkless Jr.

Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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