Digital tools are a must for every modern startup. From internal collaboration to communication with customers, there is a digital service or platform for almost everything.
If you don’t embrace technology ASAP, you may find yourself falling behind. A study conducted by Deloitte found that digitally advanced small businesses were 3 times more likely to create jobs, and earned 2 times more revenue per employee. But despite this fact, 80% of small businesses in the US fail to take full advantage of the digital tools available to them.
So, if you are thinking about increasing the use of digital tools, you will gain a significant advantage over your competitors.
To help you out, we have compiled a list of 11 essential digital tools that every small business could benefit from.
1. Collaboration Tools
Every new business – especially those with remote employees – needs a good communication and collaboration tool in order to keep track of all projects. The email simply isn’t enough as it is too isolated. Tools like Trello and Asana are great for managing projects. These platforms allow everyone to trace the progress of each project from start to finish. You can also use Skype or Skype alternatives to communicate with all members of your team, regardless of their location, via chat or video call.
2. Website Analytics
In today’s digital world, having a website is no longer optional – it is a must for businesses of every industry and size. Having a website confirms that your company is legit and gives you an opportunity to communicate and engage with your customers.
If you have a website, you’ll need to find out if it’s achieving its purpose, i.e. whether people are actually using it. Tools like Google Analytics give you an insight into your visitors’ behavior. They let you know how people find your website, how long they stick around, which posts and pages they’re looking at, and other valuable data.
3. File Storage
Make sure that all important documents and files are safely stored in a cloud. Use Dropbox or Google Drive to keep your backups, make changes and updates on the go, and allow access to all employees regardless of their location.
If your data is overwhelming your spreadsheets or you spend too much time finding the data you need for generating reports, you should consider using a data warehouse. A data warehouse is a system for data analysis and reporting. Its main purpose is to bring together data from a number of different sources (sales, marketing, finance, etc.) into one centralized location, thus helping you cut the time required to find and analyze important data.
Having a CRM (customer relationship management) tool will enable you to manage your company’s relationships and interactions with potential and current customers. It will help you stay on top of customer data, access business information, and stay organized internally. No more forgotten leads or lost customers!
5. Proposal Software
The success of many companies lies in their ability to write great proposals. Proposals help you win new clients or beneficial partnerships with other businesses. In other words, they are what keeps your business expanding and growing.
But this can be difficult when you have processes that are confusing or slow. Proposals often go through a number of hands before being passed off to the client.
Being able to create, track, and share proposals are critical for making sure the process goes smoothly. That’s why you should consider implementing a proposal software that will help you easily create professional proposals and get started on projects quickly.
6. Social Media Management
Besides having a website for your business, you should also be present on all major social networks. This means posting, responding to customers’ questions, engaging with users, etc. Being active on social media will show that you’re interested in what your customers have to say and help you build a good relationship with them. But instead of hanging on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram 24/7, use a social media management tool such as HootSuite to engage and interact, schedule posts, monitor feeds, and view analytics.
7. Email Marketing
When it comes to connecting and building relationships with leads and customers, email newsletters are still one of the most effective digital marketing tools. Use a platform like GMass or MailChimp to easily design and send email newsletters, and monitor the results of your email campaigns. These platforms will allow you to see who is opening your emails, who might be interested in a follow-up order or message, which links get clicked, etc.
8. Keyword Research Tools
If you’re looking to create engaging content that ranks well in search engines, you need to use a keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner or Ahrefs. These tools enable you to determine what your audience is typing into search engines and investigate terms in your industry. Once you have your keywords, use them to create high-quality articles and watch your organic traffic grow.
9. Accounting Software
Even though anything that has to do with accounting might seem boring to you, having an accounting software will prove to be very useful when you’re facing an audit by the IRS, or when you realize that your cash flow analysis failed to account for the payroll costs for the current month. Accounting software like QuickBooks and Wave does the work of a bookkeeper or accountant by tracking your profits and expenses, sending invoices, reconciling debts, creating expense claims, etc.
10. HR Management Software
Small businesses and startups don’t necessarily need a full HR team. That’s where an HR software comes in handy. You can use HR software to schedule shifts, send out company announcements, collect bank account information, etc.
Cyberattacks targeting small businesses are on the up, so you need to take the necessary steps in order to protect your company. A Virtual Private Network will allow you to create a secure network connection even when you are using a public network. If you sometimes happen to conduct work from public spaces or gather sensitive data from your clients, a VPN is the best way to protect yourself, your employees, clients, and your business.
Modern businesses that don’t use digital tools to simplify and automate everyday tasks may find themselves falling behind the competition. These 11 digital tools will help you start on the right foot and make your job a lot easier.