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Online tools for small businesses

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So, your business is growing and you have great plans for the future! Now it’s time to make it happen! At Fair Business Loans we always base our small business loan decisions not only on the financial position of the business but also on how much confidence we have in the vision and leadership of the business. We thought it would be useful in this article to look at some online tools that could be really helpful to you in moving your business forward. We’ll look at the following 5 areas:

  • Marketing
  • Sales and Customer Support
  • Financial and Legal
  • Human Resources
  • Technology and Operations

Marketing

One of the crucial areas for your business! You need all the help you can get to let people out there know who you are and what you do, and also keep customers coming back to you for more!

  • Google AdWords: enables your advertisements to be seen by customers as they Google for the products or services you offer.
  • Campaign Monitor: makes it easy for you to create, send, and optimize your email marketing campaigns.
  • SpyFu: reveals the search marketing tactics of your most successful competitors, so that you can meet equal success in your online advertising and SEO campaigns.
  • HubSpot: This all-in-one inbound marketing software helps more than 8,000 companies in 56 countries attract leads and convert them into customers.
  • MailChimp: helps you design email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results.

Sales and Customer Support

These tools enable you to generate sales, handle then promptly and efficiently, and provide excellent customer care during and afterwards.

  • Lead Forensics: enables you to see which businesses visit your website, generate new leads and convert to sale.
  • ZenDesk: a tool to help you streamline your customer service interface, create support boards and improve your response time.
  • Zopim: a tool enabling you to chat live with customers and engage them in a faster and more personal way.
  • Zoho: web-based customer service software designed to help you focus more on creating customer happiness everyday.
  • Salesforce: cloud based CRM system enabling you to connect to customers in a whole new way using the latest innovations in mobile, social, and cloud technology.
  • SurveyMonkey: Build free surveys to conduct market research, and keep a pulse on customer desires and satisfaction.

Financial and Legal

It’s essential to keep on top of the finances of your business and also ensure that you are adhering to all legal requirements. These tools can help you do just that!

  • Quickbooks: helps organise your business and make it easier for you to meet HMRC requirements.
  • Freshbooks: User-friendly and intuitive software for online invoicing, time tracking and expense services.
  • Xero: small business accounting software that enables you to log in online anytime, anywhere and get a real-time view of your cashflow.
  • NCH Express Invoice: easy invoicing software to create invoices, quotes and automate recurring invoices and templates.
  • Echosign: add e-signatures to your existing business processes with this secure e-signature solution from Adobe.

Human Resources

Streamline your human resources processes with some of the following innovative tools!

  • BambooHR: consolidates all your employee information into a single view which you can then access, control, sort, analyse, and take action from anywhere.
  • BreatheHR: intuitive cloud HR system that works seamlessly on any desktop, mobile, tablet and browser - also has a simplified free mobile app.
  • Tracksmart: easy online attendance tracking.
  • Toggl: a time tracker is built for speed and ease of use.
  • Basecamp: helps you wrangle people with different roles, responsibilities, and objectives toward a common goal: Finishing a project together.

Technology and Operations

It’s vital to keep the back end of the business working as efficiently as possible to underpin everything else that you are doing! Here are some ideas for tools to help you with the operational and technological side of things!

  • UserTesting: lets you “look over the shoulder” of people in your target audience while they use your website to provide you with in-depth and immediate feedback on your website including a video of user experience as well as written answers to your questions.
  • Yammer: enables you to create a secure, private social network for your company, to facilitate easier collaboration and decision making.
  • Carbonite: a leading provider of online backup solutions for individuals and small and medium sized businesses.
  • Trello: a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process.
  • MixPanel: a detailed analytics service for mobile and the web which helps businesses grow by helping them understand how their users behave and use their products.

We hope that some of these tools are useful in helping you run your business more efficiently and that you will see things move forward another step! If as a result you need to source further funding for small business then do get in touch with us and we’d be happy to talk through your needs in more detail.

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