Online tools will make your life easier. Setting up a new business venture you’re passionate about can be an exhilarating experience for a budding entrepreneur. But with millions of small businesses operating across the globe these days, you’ll need to find a more competitive edge, if you want to ensure your business thrives in this highly cut-throat and seemingly saturated environment.
If you are busy setting up your own business, the chances are you are looking for innovative ways to set yourself apart from the competition. A good marketing strategy based on access to the best online marketing tools will provide the foundation for a successful venture.
In this post, we’ll be looking at some of the essential tools any online business will need to get started. You may find that you are already aware of some of these, or perhaps you are already busy using them in your business operations already.
Whether it is about streamlining your project management, communicating more effectively with your team, amplifying your reach on social media or finding freelance talent, here are some of the best tools to give you that leg up over other businesses in the field:
Online Tool: Trello
Keeping your business operations flowing is a fundamental part of any business, regardless of how small you may be. Trello is an excellent project management platform that ensures that everyone in your team is on the same page, which is ever more relevant with the growing popularity of remote work.
Once upon a time, it was common practice to use email as a form of collaboration. While email is still an incredibly helpful tool in some respects, in terms of collaboration, it can often lead to missed messages, confusion and frustration.
Trello is far more nuanced in comparison to regular email collaboration. It allows you to share documents or blog posts before publication and also encourages team members to communicate on the platform directly. It’s a great way to provide your team with an opportunity to review work, discuss the project and make changes to improve a piece of work. And what’s more, all of this can happen in one place.
From a managerial point of view. Trello allows you to easily get an overview of where you are at with your workflow. Setting up a board is simple, and the interface is user-friendly, ensuring that your staff can get stuck into a project without the need for much training on the platform itself.
While Trello isn’t the only project management tool on the block, it is probably the most well established one around. When it comes to collaboration, the free version tends to meet all the needs of small businesses.
Alternative online tools to Trello :
Online Tool: Zoom
Zoom is the video-conferencing software the world became intimately accustomed too when the COVID-19 pandemic forced us all into lockdown. Despite the easing of lockdown measures, many people look to continue working from home for the foreseeable future.
As well as being a great video conferencing platform for social engagements, Zoom is brilliant for business. It doesn’t just allow you to connect with team members via a video call, but you’re able to share screens, drawn on the screen and also record meetings or lectures. Generally, Zoom is said to be free for the first 40 minutes, but in many cases, users find they can extend their meetings at no extra cost, which is another win for the platform.
Alternative online tools to Zoom:
Online Tool: Hootsuite
It’s no big secret that social media plays a significant role in any successful marketing strategy, no matter what type of industry you’re focused on. Any start-up looking to thrive in this digital age needs to have a solid social media presence.
However, with so many different platforms to work with, keeping on top of scheduling can get tough. Hootsuite is a digital tool that allows you to organise your social media content and schedule it all in advance, which will save you loads of time.
Furthermore, it has a lot of excellent features to make life easier for businesses and help them to grow their audiences. For example, it can guide you as to the best times to post in order to grab your target audience’s attention. Hootsuite also helps you identify key influencers in your field, which can be handy for finding new leads.
All in all, Hootsuite makes social media management and marketing that little bit more manageable. Essentially, it allows you to manage your business’ social media profiles for over 30 different platforms from a single central dashboard.
Alternative online tools to Hootsuite :
Online Tool: Dropbox
When it comes to running a business, organization is the key. This becomes increasingly more important with more and more people starting to work remotely.
Businesses can’t run the risk of people downloading confidential information onto personal computers.
Dropbox is a completely cloud-based document sharing service that allows all the working elements of a business to come together. By allowing management to set permission levels on certain files, Dropbox allows you to keep important information secure.
What’s more, Dropbox can also be linked to other tools like Zoom or Trello, which allow businesses to keep everything safe, organized and accounted for in one place.
Ultimately, Dropbox allows businesses to move out of the dark ages – downloading files to your PC and sending them off as an email attachment – by providing a safe and efficient way of tracking your business files.
Alternative online tools to Dropbox:
Online Tool: Upwork
When you are starting a new business, the chances are you’ll need to hire staff with a broad range of skills sets. For instance, you may require the services of a copywriters, web developer and SEO specialist to get your business off the ground. With that being said, depending on the nature of your business, you may not require full-time staff to fulfil these roles.
That’s where Upwork comes in.
Upwork is a online resource that connects freelancers with business owners looking to hire people with a diverse range of skills. One of the major strengths of working through Upwork is its transparency for both parties. As a business owner, you’ll be able to see the type of projects the freelancer has worked on in the past and read reviews from previous clients.
The last thing you want to do when setting up a business is waste time working with people that can’t deliver. Upwork’s escrow protection protects both parties financially.
From the client’s side, it ensures that money isn’t released until you are happy with it. In the event, a freelancer isn’t paid for services delivered, the platform offers a mediation service to rectify any conflicts.
Alternative online tools to Upwork:
Starting your own business will certainly have its ups and downs, but having the right tools can help the whole process become much more manageable. In this technological age, establishing a solid digital marketing strategy is imperative to connecting with an audience and building trust.
To ensure your business thrives in this highly competitive environment, it’s important to get to grips with the tools that are freely available and understand how to use them to streamline business operations to ultimately give you that edge you need to succeed and grow your business.