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7 Must Have Online Tools for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, maintaining a smooth communication and boosting employee performance are your primary goals. Most companies today, rely on a variety of online applications and utilities that help them manage their day to day activities. But for small businesses, it is often the question of where to start from. To solve this confusion, listed below are some of the best applications that small businesses must use.

1. Google Business Apps

Google Business Apps

Google Business Apps is a combined bundle of various must haves for your small business that includes important utilities such as Gmail, Google Hangouts, Google Drive, Google calendar and Google Docs. According to Google Inc., the business apps are being used by a large no. of companies (upto 5 million), which also include a majority of fortune 500 companies. The Gmail feature also allows you to set up your personalized domain (@yourwebsitename.com) and offers various plans for storage space on Google drive. The Google docs are a convenient web version of Microsoft office utilities and allow you to create and edit documents, spreadsheets and slideshows online. With Google business apps, you are sure to form a congestion free network between the employees, management and the clients.

2. Google Drive

Google Drive

Google Drive App is a cloud sync service, which allows the users to upload all type of files on the Google servers. Google drive app is available for a variety of platforms such as Windows (XP and higher), Windows Phones, Android and iOS. Once you install the app, it creates a separate folder on your system where you can simply drop the files that you wish you upload to the Cloud. It includes an office suite and allows editing and creation of spreadsheets, documents and presentations. The integration with Gmail also allows a variety of functions while using the office suite. Launched in 2012, Google Drive is said to be used by more than 200 million active users in the world. Truly, Google drive is one of the best free pro business tools for business owners.

3. Skype Chat

Skype

Despite of its criticism due to its slow performance, Skype is one of the best free chat servers you can use for office communication. The application is available for free and can be installed on a variety of operating systems such as Windows, iOS, Blackberry, Android and Windows Phone etc. While the application is mainly used to make free voice calls, its chat server also allows you to share a variety of files online with ease. With more than 600 million users online, Skype is one of the best chat and video calling apps in the world.

4. Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting

As a small business owner, hiring a personalized accountant is something that you cannot afford. To make things easier, you can use a variety of accounting apps available for PCs and smartphones. Launched in 2010, Wave provides a double entry accounting utility, which is able to directly import data from the bank accounts, track expenses and also generate invoices. Upon registration, you also get a card swiping tool and a receipt scanning tool, which can be integrated with your Smartphone. The utilities are entirely free of charge and the organization generates its revenues through the card processing fees when the card swiping tool is used.

5. Evernote

Evenote

Evernote is like a digital version of the post it notes, which allows note-taking and archiving of various files and folders. The notes can be either, text, webpage excerpts, photographs, images, voice reminders or an old fashioned handwritten note. The service is available for a freemium price that requires the user to pay a price to access features that are more advanced. Evernote is compatible with a variety of operating platforms such as Windows, Android, Blackberry and Windows phone etc.

6. HootSuite

HootSuite

Social media is no fun when you’re looking for an online presence for your organization. Especially when you have to manage several different social media platforms at once, making it difficult to maintain a presence everywhere. Launched in 2008, HootSuite integrates all the popular social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, YouTube and Tumbler.  It provides a dashboard which is integrated in the web browsers and allows simultaneous sharing of messages across all networks. With more than 10 million users worldwide, HootSuite is indeed the solution for all your social media troubles.

7. UserTesting


UserTesting

For web developers, it is always a challenge to create websites that are highly user friendly and free from any performance lags and slowdowns. This is a must for e-commerce website owners who must keep on improving the quality of their website to ensure sales. UserTesting provides a free 3rd party review of your website. The results are shown in a video, in which a person is shown browsing through your website and highlighting the grey areas in the website’s design and performance. Instead of simply gathering general opinions on how they feel about your website, it might be a good thing to know the anomalies in your website through a professional.

Small businesses are stepping stones that lead to the fortune-500 club. As the competition among businesses has moved to a digital environment, it has become essential for business owners to be ahead in the race. The above tools will certainly help you improve your productivity while providing that professional edge to your organization’s workflow.

Featured Image by denise carbonellCC BY 2.0

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