This article was originally posted on rbcroyalbank.com
Whether you’re struggling to find more hours in your day, stay on top of your key performance drivers, or understand the impact of your social media, there are tools and apps available to help you – and the good news is, they cost little or nothing! Check out these six tools guaranteed to help any small business run more effectively:
1. Google Tools
In today’s connected world, it’s imperative for businesses to optimize online & social media to maximize marketing, attract new customers and build loyalty. But are you on top of how well your website actually attracts and retains customers? After investing the time and money on your website, analyzing user experience data is important to ensure customers keep coming back.
One of the most popular ways to do this is with Google Analytics, but you no longer need to log into Google via desktop or laptop. The Google Analytics mobile app allows you to view data on the go, including where your traffic comes from, and even the sex and age of your visitors. This can help you identify how well your site attracts your target customers, and uncover potential new markets. Even better, the Google Analytics app is free!
In addition to analytics, try out Google’s Keyword Planner tool to help you understand popular keywords and phrases that your potential customers are ‘googling’ to find companies like yours. By pinpointing these phrases and search terms, you can use this knowledge to structure your web site copy, inspire potential blog topics, or launch Google Ads campaigns.
And, don’t forget to register your business with Google My Business. It takes minutes to register your business profile using this free service. Once your profile is activated, potential customers have easy access to your location, web site, and call you in one click from a Google search page.
2. Online Invoicing & Accounting
Managing finances has long been a challenge for small businesses. Study after study has shown that money matters, especially cash flow, is one of the leading causes of business failures.1 There are many accounting software brands that help your business stay on top of expenses, client invoicing and receipt scanning.. As your business grows, you can upgrade your accounting package to manage things like bank account integration, credit card payments and payroll. Popular accounting software products like QuickBooks and FreshBooks offer a free trial to help you get started.
3. Social media management apps and tools
With a busy small business to run, it’s easy to let social media fall down your to-do list. Using a social media management tool can help you grow your followers, engage with your audience, and track how you measure up. From inexpensive tools to fully loaded packages, there are several online products to help you better manage, schedule, and track your social presence including Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social.
4. Microsoft Office 365
If you’re like many small business owners, you wear many hats – and struggle to find time to get everything done. Getting more done means maximizing your productivity wherever you are. The Microsoft Office 365 mobile apps can help you securely share and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files from your favourite devices — whether you’re working at home, at the office or on the go. With plans starting at $10.50 per month per user, it’s a steal.
5. Facebook Business Manager
With a reported 2.07 billion users worldwide, including 239 million in North America, Facebook can be a powerful social media platform for businesses.2 Whether you’re running a brick-and-mortar shop or starting an online business, managing Facebook pages can be a huge time commitment for business owners.
The free suite of Facebook Business Manager apps (available for iOS and Android) gives you the flexibility to manage various Facebook business tasks. You can create Facebook and Instagram business pages, interact with followers, create ad campaigns and monitor how your posts are doing on desktop, laptop, or phone.
The free basic version and the paid upgrades of Evernote offer time-strapped business owners a valuable tool for organizing and retrieving important personal and professional information. You can access documents, share sales materials, manage projects, set up alerts and receive notifications on your smartphone, tablet and laptop. You can even use the Web Clipper tool to track pages as you browse so you can find them later, regardless of which device you’re using.