It has never been easier to start a new business. With countless cloud-based tools, most if not all of our business processes can be managed online with the help of web-based applications. Most are very accessible in terms of cost and ease-of-use and all require little to no time for setup.
Because of the immense number of online tools and services (and more introduced each day), however, entrepreneurs need to be wary of over complicating their enterprise. While many web-based tools are free and easy, choosing and committing to the wrong ones will ultimately bottleneck your business and inhibit growth.
With that said, here are seven great, reliable and well-established web-based tools your startup or small business should consider today.
Primarily known as a comprehensive note-taking tool, Evernote has a host of other useful features that enable users to store quick checklists, notes, audio recordings and web clippings into customizable notebooks. Because it is cloud-based, small businesses can utilize the notebook sharing feature, which allows multiple users to collaborate, communicate, and share resources. Plenty of startups and small online businesses take advantage of this when it comes to content development and brainstorming ideas.
While Evernote allows you to share files and notes over the cloud, Google Drive offers the space and functionality when it comes to cloud file storage. This simple service is critical for every business ranging from complicated tech startups to every day SMEs. In addition to its collaborative functionality, Google Drive can be used to create backups for your important business documents, and with up to 15GB of free storage to start, business teams can securely and easily share resources of any size.
Establishing an online payment system for your business is not as easy as it sounds. Invoicing, in particular, can be a complicated task that requires accurate tracking of your business processes. For this, your business should consider a web-based online invoicing and billing platform such as Hiveage, with its all-in-one mileage, expense, and time tracking features. A simple interface allows you to quickly switch between features and easily turn your work into custom-made invoices. You can also integrate popular payment gateways such as PayPal and Authorize.net to make the payment process seamless for your clients.
For the less financially savvy entrepreneur, budgeting can be a real struggle. Mint is a popular web-based money management platform that allows you to keep track of every cent received or spent in a simple and easy to understand format. Mint provides users with a simple interface for tracking finances and even allows you to easily spot tax-deductible expenses -- assuring you are maximizing the benefit of business ownership.
Without customers, you have no business. For this reason, a top priority should be developing and communicating with your customers. Salesforce is an all-in-one customer relationship management (CRM) platform that helps you manage your contacts, optimize your lead generation, generate reports, and create data-driven sales forecasts. Salesforce also offers branded email templates, file collaboration, opportunity tracking, and a mobile app to keep you in control. Maybe most useful is the fact that its platform can also be easily integrated with a number of other enterprise tools.
Basecamp is a comprehensive project management platform that allows you to start, manage and monitor your team and projects all in one location. The web and app-based collaboration workspace allows teams to create message boards, to-do lists, check-ins, schedules and more. It allows small businesses to establish a unified workflow for team members while also managing the timeline of projects.
The importance of an online digital marketing strategy continues to grow -- so too, however, does the number of businesses and tools that claim to give your company the edge. In this area, newer does not necessarily mean better. Hootsuite remains one of the most widely used social media management tools, helping brands develop a strong social media presence.
The platform focuses on the three important pillars of successful social media marketing: content, analytics, and communication. It is packed with numerous features that allow entrepreneurs to listen to their audience, turn feedback into actions, and engage with optimized content. It also offers collaboration and security features that can mobilize your social media team and integrate key processes with the rest of your tool set.
Today, startups do not need a team of professionals, tools and services to get started. Instead, leveraging available online tools can get your business started quickly.
What do you think? What other tools do you utilize in your startup and growing business? Please share your thoughts with others in the comments below.