Entrepreneurs can take advantage of a wide range of free or cost-effective apps to boost productivity and profits.
Today's savvy business owners streamline operations and update their office systems by taking advantage of powerful software. By doing so, they save time and improve efficiency.
You can boost the performance of your organization with a minimum of maintenance and cost by making use of the right apps. The following segments highlight a few of the leading apps that today's forward-thinking entrepreneurs leverage to take their businesses to the next level.
Templates allow you to perform essential tasks while reducing the time needed to edit, format and proofread.
For instance, every business needs a plan. Sites such as BPlans.com and the Small Business Association (SBA) offer business plan templates that work well for startups as well as established enterprises.
You can also use templates to develop your marketing plan.
HubSpot, for example, offers a comprehensive template that small business owners can use to promote their brand, and the Small Biz Trends Website offers a streamlined marketing template for business owners who are short on time and just want to work solely on the basics. Also, the Marketing Donut website provides a free, comprehensive marketing template for entrepreneurs.
Finally, it's vital that you understand your customers. The HubSpot persona template is an insightful tool for learning more about your audience.
There are innovative, cloud-based alternatives to Microsoft office products. With Google Docs, for instance, you can edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations. The Google offering also allows you to collaborate in real time.
The Evernote app is a convenient digital organizer that enables you to sync images, articles and bookmarks across devices. The Wunderlist app allows you to create and share simple to do lists, and CrashPlan helps you to protect your business files automatically.
Many business owners need to create presentations to share ideas and concepts. If you choose the familiarity of Microsoft's Office Suite, there is an abundance of free presentation templates that you can use with the software. Alternatively, you can visit SlideCarnival to browse a range of free, creative templates.
SlideShare is another site that offers graphic-rich presentation templates. It also allows you to host and share presentations easily.
Today, you should provide your marketing and sales teams with every possible tool that they need to succeed in a highly competitive environment. MailChimp, for instance, enables your marketing team to build effective, organized email campaigns.
To track those campaigns and other metrics, Google Analytics allows marketers to monitor important information such as who visits your corporate website as well as where that traffic originates. Google Trends is another powerful analytical tool that enables you to track similar information over time.
Today, content is the king of marketing. However, you'll also need vibrant images to go along with those words.
Online apps such as Pixlr allow you to edit photos quickly and easily without downloading expensive software. If it's photos that you need, you can access millions of royalty free images from sites such as Pexels, Pixabay and StockSnap.
If you need startup related imagery, Startup Stock Photos is a no-frills site that offers a range of images of startup professionals in the workplace. If you prefer images with a more creative bent, however, Unsplash is an excellent place to start.
Communication is vital in today's fast-paced business environment. Nearly everyone's heard of Skype. The simple to use app works well for more than keeping in touch with friends and family members. It's a straightforward tool for staying in touch with clients and peers. Google Hangouts is another well-known communication app that works great for businesses.
For project management, Trello is a productivity app that supports team collaboration. Using the app, you can organize tasks, deadlines, images and attachments.
There are also tools that allow you to leave cluttered email boxes behind. Slack, for instance, is a top-rated instant messaging app for professionals that streamlines and organizes communication for groups. Moreover, you can customize and scale Slack for small groups or large teams.
Your finance processes are another area where you can use technology to improve accuracy and efficiency. There are plenty of useful apps to help you manage tasks that range from managing payroll to invoicing clients.
For example, QuickBooks is a low-cost, feature-rich accounting application. More importantly, you can add more features as needed. For entrepreneurs who want to upgrade their accounting system, but are still more comfortable with a spreadsheet format, however, Adminsoft Accounts is an excellent resource for transitioning to finance automation.
Finally, even the smallest merchants can process payments using PayPal. PayPal has its pros and cons but has one of the lowest barriers to entry among merchant accounts. It's simple to use, and it works worldwide.
There's no need to empty your coffers to leverage technology for improving your small business. Today's cloud-based applications provide enterprise-level offerings for a nominal fee. More importantly, you can use them to access your company information from anywhere in the world and at any time.
It's hard to imagine a successful business that doesn't leverage technology to streamline operations. It's important to remember, however, that you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to technology.
Some entrepreneurs are so impressed by technology that they fall into the trap of deploying technology for technology's sake. However, this does more harm than good.
These companies, unfortunately, spend unnecessary time playing with the latest toy, rather than focusing on the business at hand. Don't be that business! Roll out new technology as needed, but when you find something that works - stick with it for a while.
Today, businesses of all sizes must learn how to do more with less. You can empower employees to work to their full potential by deploying the right business tools and templates.
Every day, new technology raises the bar for business performance. If you don't jump on the technology bandwagon, your competition will.
Contemporary business software enables you to capture new leads, build customer relationships and retain - or build - your competitive advantage. Many offerings allow you to customize programs to suit your unique needs.
You can save time and money by taking advantage of modern business tools. More importantly, today's cloud-based productivity software can free you to focus on mission-critical activities - such as figuring out how to grow your business.