PACKED WITH TIPS AND TOOLS TO BENEFIT YOUR BUSINESS
5 APPS & PROGRAMS TO KNOW
While any successful small business will always be built on sound ideas, determination and hard work, there is no doubt that advances in technology, specifically a slew of easy-to-use free or almost free apps and info-packed websites, have simplified many aspects of running one.
We’ve pulled a couple of our favorites and a few that Paul Moseley, Program Director at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, highlighted in a recent article. (Read Moseley's entire article on great tech tools for small businesses on a budget here: medium.com/@paulmsly)
SURVEY MONKEY / FREE OR LOW FEE
Want to know what your customers think of your product or service? Want to gain new customers by better understanding your target market? Ask folks what they like (and don’t!) using a survey. Survey Monkey makes it easy to quickly get essential feedback from any group you choose. Its free option lets you do a simple poll to a small audience, but for $25 a month, you can conduct unlimited sur-veys to any number of people, plus you get data reports, in-depth analysis and more.
MAIL CHIMP / FREE OR LOW FEE
E-mail marketing works, and Mail Chimp reduces the process to something so effortless and efficient, amonkey coulddo it. Create andsend e-newsletters and sales and product promotion e-mails to your email lists and then use Mail Chimp’s tracking reports to evaluate your plan. Its free plan offers a lot, and paid plans start at $20 a month.
STARTUP STASH / FREE
This website is a one-stop shop, offering an indexed list of more than 400 tools that can help a new business get going or an estab-lished one refine and grow. Its clutter-free design and plain-English approach to explain-ing things make it a valuable resource and earned it a spot on Forbes magazine’s “100 Best Websites for Entrepreneurs” list in 2015.
SOCIAL MEDIA / FREE
·hootsuite.com or buffer.com
You probably already use social media, but are you using it to your advantage? If you feel like you’re floundering in a sea of noise when it comes to what to post and when, you need a social media marketing plan. Check into tools like Hootsuite and Buffer to find the latest news on social media strategies and to streamline your social presence.
G SUITE / LESS THAN $25
This collection of integrated, cloud-based apps from Google works together seamlessly and on any device. It combines Google Docs, Drive, Gmail and Calendar, allowing everyone in your business to collaborate and stay on the same page. Its cheapest plan is only $5 a month.
WORTH A MENTION
One of the most important things to look for when choosing apps and software tools for your business is ensuring that they work well together.
ONE MORE THING: DON’T FORGET
The Small Business Administra-tion’s website, SBA.GOV. Its blog posts, broken into different categories, offer a wealth of timely information and time-test-ed advice from industry experts and other business owners.