TMCnet Feature
May 05, 2022

10 Essential Tools Your Small Online Business is Lacking



Managing small online businesses comes with challenges. Business owners have to work with a small budget, increase output, and boost staff productivity to stay competitive. They also have to manage many different moving parts, from marketing to project management.



Some entrepreneurs end up cracking under pressure. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of startups don’t make it past their first year.

However, with the right tools and management practices, online startups have a chance to thrive. So, let’s show you ten essential tools your business might be lacking.

1. Traqq – Ethical Time Tracking and Employee Monitoring

Using timekeeping software to track your employees’ billable hours allows you to measure and boost productivity, create accurate paychecks, and prevent issues like overwork and burnout.

If you don’t have one, you can compare time tracking software to determine which is best for your small business.

Traqq is one of those employee monitoring apps that adequately track your workers without infringing on their privacy. It measures productivity by showing detailed data on how each person uses time. You can also use the tool to find out which apps and websites distract you from work. This way, employees know what to avoid.

2. Zoho Projects – Project Management

Project management tools help managers plan, assign, organize, and execute tasks and projects efficiently. In addition, they help team members communicate and collaborate effectively to carry out tasks without conflicts and misunderstandings.

These tools can be expensive, depending on the features you want. However, Zoho (News - Alert) Projects is a good fit for small online businesses because it’s on the cheaper side. In addition, the tool comes with many features, including project budget tracking and resources management reports.

The premium plan goes for $5 per person each month, but you get a discount if you pay for a year. This pricing system makes it one of the cheapest solutions around.

3. Hubspot CRM – Customer Relationship

You need a customer relationship management solution to nurture your relationship with clients, leads, and customers. It helps you monitor and organize customer contact information, communication, and feedback. Then you can track the data and make meaningful, critical decisions regarding sales and marketing.

Hubspot CRM is a robust tool with a suite of features designed for small businesses. While Hubspot comes as a free package, users can buy add-ons to extend functionality. For example, the free version only allows five snippets, 200 notifications, and 15 minutes of calls per user per month. You have to pay to get more.

4.  Zapier – Business Automation

Using and managing different tools can be challenging. As a result, you can make mistakes and lose focus. So, you need an automation tool to link these platforms together and create automated tasks. This way, you don’t have to carry out simple manual tasks repetitively.

Most business automation tools are built for medium to large enterprises. However, some have been developed for startups and small businesses, and that’s where Zapier comes in.

Zapier is a simple tool that you can use to automate repetitive tasks without any coding knowledge. For example, when you link two apps, you can tell one to automatically perform an action when an event occurs in the other.

Zapier comes with a free package that allows you to glimpse what the service offers. Unfortunately, you have to go for the paid plans to enjoy more meaningful features.

5. Thunderbird – Email Business Tool

Email is still essential for internal and external correspondence, unlike what most experts say. According to Statista, there are 4.3 billion email users worldwide. The number shows that your business still needs emails to keep in touch with clients and facilitate internal communication.

But how do you track and measure the effectiveness of emails and declutter your inbox? Tools like Thunderbird will help. It’s a free solution that includes team chat, a calendar, tasks, and email. It’s compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux. You can even use it to create a custom email account for a fee.

6. SBA.gov – Business Development

One of the main objectives of running a small business is growing. So you try out new things and implement policies that will enhance profitability and expand your business. As a result, you’re always learning new skills and business strategies to meet your goal.

SBA.gov is one tool that gives you the insights and guidance you need to develop your business into a money-making machine. You can learn how to secure loans, launch a business, write business plans, and much more. It serves as a valuable information hub for experienced entrepreneurs and beginners.

7. Hootsuite – Social Media Management

Every business must maintain an active social media presence to stay competitive in any industry. It’s one of the best ways to attract new leads and keep in touch with clients. But you already know the time-consuming nature of social media since you have to manage multiple platforms.

The good thing is you can manage all your social media pages from one place using tools like Hootsuite. The platform allows you to schedule and create posts well ahead of time. This way, you can prepare the right content for the coming days or weeks and publish across your channels in one push.

The tool also offers advanced features such as tracking brand mentions, managing responses and measuring the effectiveness of your social media campaigns. What’s more, the platform allows you to promote your posts.

8. Dribble Hiring – Outsourcing

You can’t do everything as a small business owner, and hiring full-time employees can dry your budget. With outsourced talent, you can hire exceptional professionals, save costs, improve productivity, and reduce risks. What’s more, outsourcing specific tasks allow you to focus on your core business processes.

Thanks to platforms like Dribble Hiring, it’s now easier than ever to source talents worldwide.

Dribble Hiring pools experienced and talented design professionals. You can find top pros to help you build your website or applications, design your graphics, and manage your UI. The platform has a reputation for top-of-the-line talent that has won Emmys and Apple (News - Alert) design awards.

9. SEMrush – Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization remains one of the fundamental marketing endeavors for small businesses. Your business needs visibility in search engines if it’s going to thrive and grow, and SEO is one strategy you can’t afford to ignore. Google (News - Alert) processes approximately 5.6 billion searches each day, which include many potential customers.

An excellent SEO campaign will build awareness for your brand, direct quality leads to your website, and keep customers engaged and loyal.

There are lots of moving parts in SEO. You have to analyze keywords, develop backlink strategies, check search volumes, and look at other data like click through rates and site traffic. Thankfully, you can use SEMrush for most of these activities.

SEMrush allows you to check out competitive keywords and phrases, assess your competitor’s website, and look at backlink opportunities. It also features a host of other features to help you build a search engine optimized website ready to face even big competitors.

10. Google Analytics

Understanding your brand’s online performance and looking at critical metrics helps you make sound marketing decisions. While you have SEO and social media marketing tools, you still need to get other insights, like how long your prospects stay on your site and what pages they visit.

Google Analytics allows you to view these data in more detail. For example, you can determine how many new visitors your website attracted, the number of returning visitors, and visitor behavior. What’s more, it helps you track your email marketing by providing data on newsletter opens.

Takeaway

You have to take advantage of today’s technology to build your online business. The good thing is that you don’t have to be a guru to use these applications. If you run into issues, there are online resources to guide you.

You should do your research and find out the best deals for your budget before paying for any service.

Remember that you must complement these tools with top-notch business strategies as they do not guarantee success on their own.



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