Running a small business isn’t easy! It’s hard to keep up with general administration tasks, stay on top of your finances, and measure your marketing efforts. And let’s face it, that’s just starching the surface. There’s a lot more that you have to do every day.
Luckily for you, there are some useful web applications that not only will make your life easier but will also help you grow your business.
Simplify your daily life
From checking your email to dealing with employees, there are some things that you just have to do every day. By using applications such as Liquid Planner, you’ll be able to do these things in less time so that you can focus on growing your company.
Google Calendar – keeping track of your daily meetings doesn’t have to be hard. Not only can you track your daily meetings, but you can share and collaborate on your calendar with other co-workers.
Gmail – emails can pile up quickly, but with Gmail, you can set filters so you don’t have to read useless emails. You can automatically filter messages that aren’t important so that they don’t clog up your inbox.
Campfire – communication is an important factor to your company’s success. Through Campfire, you can communicate with everyone in one place. More importantly, you’ll be able to keep track of the conversation.
Liquid Planner – I can’t stress how important it is to get projects done on time. Liquid Planner will not only help you monitor your projects, but it will also calculate the probability of you completing them on time.
Wufoo – whether it is registration forms or contact requests, Wufoo lets you create and manage forms with ease. The best part about Wufoo is that you don’t have to be technical to use it.
Dealing with finances is easy
You’re in business to make money, right? Well, if you can’t stay on top of your finances, you’ll soon realize that it is much easier to spend money than it is to make it. With the following applications, not only will you be able to manage your money better, but you will also be able to save money without changing your spending habits.
Proposable – sending out proposals to potential clients is a pain. With Proposable, you can create them with little to no effort and see if they are being read through the program’s analytics feature.
Freshbooks – once you have a customer, you want to make sure that he or she is actually paying. Managing a few clients is easy, but once you have a handful, it gets to be a pain. With Freshbooks, you can easily send out invoices.
Mint – not only is it important to track your business expenses, but it’s also important to track your personal finances. As an entrepreneur, you will experience times when you’ll have to go without a paycheck, so tracking your cash flow is really important.
BillShrink – saving money doesn’t have to be hard. With BillShrink, you can save money on gas, company cell phone plans, and even reduce credit card bills.
Recurly – not only is it hard to set up reoccurring billing, but it’s expensive. With Recurly, you can now charge your customers and manage a subscription-based business with little effort.
Leverage the social web
Whether you love it or hate it, you have no choice but to embrace it. Everyone is leveraging the social web. Just look at Facebook. It is now the second most popular website on the web. Here are some social applications that you should be using:
LinkedIn – networking is a key part in running a successful business. Even if you don’t have much time, through LinkedIn you can network over the web.
Twitter – reputation is everything. When you are small, you have to please every one of your customers, even if they are wrong. Through Twitter, you can see and respond to what people are saying about your company and your competition.
Hootsuite – managing all of your social profiles can be difficult, but through Hootsuite it’s easy. Hootsuite allows you to schedule tweets on Twitter, track social statistics and manage your brand, making your job much more efficient.
WordPress – blogging is a great way to acquire new customers. By using WordPress, you can blog to help new customers find out more about your industry and the solution your product provides.
Get the most out of your day
There isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. Although you can’t change that, you can try to be more efficient so you can get to the things that will help you grow your business.
Ta-da list – if you don’t keep track of all the things you need to do, you’ll forget to do them. Ta-da List is a free application that helps you keep track of your tasks as well as their priorities.
RescueTime – you can’t add more hours to the day, but you can get better at making the most out of each day. Through RescueTime, you can monitor how you spend your time and optimize it to improve your efficiency.
43 things – you get so wrapped up with running your business that you forget about your long-term goals. It’s good to have them. With 43things you can record them so you don’t forget what’s important.
Make data driven decisions
The best way to track your growth is to monitor key metrics for your business. Through the following applications, not only will you be able to do that, but you will also be able to optimize your site to increase your growth rate.
Google Website Optimizer – spending money on marketing is great, but why not get the most out of your current visitors? Through Google Website Optimizer you can optimize your design to convert visitors into customers.
Google Analytics – keeping track of your website metrics doesn’t have to be expensive. Google Analytics is a free analytical solution that will track your website visitors and tell you if you are getting an ROI.
Crazy Egg – numbers are great, but sometimes seeing is believing. Through Crazy Egg, you can actually see where people click on your website.
Survey.io – if you really want to understand what your users are thinking of your company, you have to survey them. Through survey.io, you can survey your customers in real time to get accurate feedback.
The new way to get things done
You don’t need to hire employees to get things done. Outsourcing is a great solution to get tasks done quickly and affordably.
oDesk – hiring employees is one way to get tasks done, but in the early days of your business, a more affordable way is through oDesk. You can get almost any job done on oDesk at a fraction of the cost.
Mechanical Turk – if you have tedious tasks that need to be done quickly and cheaply, Mechanical Turk is the place for you. Unlike with other crowd-sourcing sites, with this one, you can get the job done for pennies on the dollar.
Work doesn’t have to be boring
From sharing funny files with co-works to just having fun, there are cool little applications that can make your day brighter.
Dropbox – setting up an internal network to share files with your employees is a cool idea, but it is expensive. Through Dropbox, you can do the same thing without breaking the bank.
Pandora – all work and no play can make for a miserable day. It’s always a good idea to have some music playing in the background. The cool part about Pandora is that you can create a music channel just for your personal taste.
There are tons of applications that you can use to grow your business, but the ones I mentioned above have worked well for me. If you know of any other good applications that are worth checking out, mention them by leaving a comment below.