In today’s digital age, there are a variety of online tools available that can drastically increase the efficiency and productivity of your business. A recent Pew study claims that 46% of working adults feel that productivity has increased due to the Internet and the online tools that it offers. You will find that online tools can decrease the time you spend on managing marketing, finances, and even customer service. You can even use online resources as a learning tool and gain valuable insights from both experts and fellow small business owners.
Here are some recommended tools to improve the efficiency of your day-to-day operations, giving you back valuable time to focus on growing your business.
1. Use Online Marketing Tools
In last month’s post, we discussed the extensive benefits that online marketing can have for your small business. By having an online presence, tapping into the power of email, and taking advantage of websites like Google and Yelp, you can better connect with loyal customers and reach new customers. We know that with the variety of hats that you wear as a small business owner, your time is valuable.
Managing your online presence daily may seem time consuming; however, there are countless, low-cost online tools and apps available that are designed specifically for this challenge. No matter what you have defined as your digital strategy and regardless of your current online presence, there is a marketing app for you. There are tools available for all types of online marketing, from managing social media and email campaigns to developing websites and landing pages. By using the right online tool, you will see incredible returns on digital marketing efforts, while using far less time.
2. Use Financial Tracking Tools
If you are a small business owner, you need to keep track of finances on a daily basis. While you’re managing your businesses finances, you should consider the wide range of financial tracking tools that are available online, many of which are inexpensive and easy to use.
These tools are designed to improve the efficiency of financial management and allow small business owners to spend time focusing on the main goals and operations of the business. There are general, all-encompassing tools available that handle all accounting in one place, but also tools that focus on specific tasks, such as tracking sales and expenses, monitoring inventory purchases, managing cash flows, and monitoring payroll.
For example, QuickBooks is an online accounting app that provides small business owners with a quick and easy platform for bookkeeping. The app is all about saving time by automating accounting tasks, from tracking invoices to syncing data across your bank and transactions. Because of this, it has been ranked the #1 accounting software for small businesses.
It’s worth taking the time to explore online finance tools that can save you time and improve your productivity.
3. Customer Relationship Management
As a small business owner, you know the value of great customer service. Improving your customer relations takes time but leads to high levels of returns. While brick and mortar customer service will always be important, small business owners should also consider using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools.
These online tools can help you manage and organize customer relationships and the data associated with them. According to Salesforce, a leading CRM company, CRM tools allow businesses to more efficiently “store customer and prospect contact information, accounts, leads and sales opportunities in one central location.” These tools can simplify management, improve customer service, and give you valuable sales and customer insights. Many recent studies link these tools to higher conversions and increased customer retention. Take a look at this Tech Radar Article to see the best, low-cost tools that are available for small business owners.
4. Take Advantage of Online Resources
There is a huge network of tools and support online for small businesses. These resources range from Advice Columns written by small business experts to How-To Blogs written by experienced small business owners. The aim of these resources is to share relevant and useful information to other small business owners.
These resources can serve as a great learning tool for small business owners. While you may feel as though you don’t have enough time to read online resources, taking advantage of these resources can keep your business relevant and increase your success in the long run.
For instance, OpenForum.com, which is a website sponsored by American Express, not only publishes news stories with relevant industry trends, but also provides a long list of easy to read and engaging stories from small business owners. In these stories, business owners of all industries share their secrets to success and provide actionable advice relevant to any small business owner.
Staying relevant has never been more important than in today’s rapidly changing marketplace. Reading online resources can inspire innovation, ignite your passion, and even introduce you to new opportunities to grow your business.
5. Download Podcasts
Podcasts are digital audio files that are accessible on the Internet. Many podcasts are free and most are available in series. You can download podcasts on any computer or mobile device and listen to podcasts of your choice, anytime and anywhere.
There are podcasts available on an extensive range of business topics, many of which are directed towards small business owners. You can find podcasts that cover both high-level and very specific topics, from brand strategy to Facebook Video Best Practices. Many of the podcasts are created and hosted by successful entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Listening to podcasts can be both entertaining and productive. Podcasts can turn the most routine commute to work into a business school classroom.
In conclusion, there are a variety of incredible tools and resources available on the Internet that can help save valuable time and fuel your business’s growth. If you’re looking for an Internet solution for your business, make sure to consider HughesNet Business Internet. Our Business Internet plans bring you fast speeds and a large Data Allowance during peak business hours.
Whether you’re using business apps to improve productivity or tapping into online communities to stay up to date on business trends, there are ways to use the Internet in your day-to-day life that can help your business grow.