Top online tools to make running your business easier
At Bionic, we know running a business can be tough and time-consuming. But it doesn’t always have to be - the tech is out there to help increase productivity and make those day-to-day tasks a little bit easier to manage. And the best part is, most of them are free.
Communication with your team, note-taking, project management, social media scheduling and accounting can all be made simpler with easy-to-use apps, programs and online resources. And while the tech does some of the heavy lifting, you can get back to running your business or maybe enjoy some much-needed free time.
7 online tools to help you run your business
Check out Bionics' pick of the best free tools to aid your business and start enjoying a more efficient way of working.
1. The project management tool
Monday.com is a popular project management site that could be really beneficial to your business and increase your team’s productivity levels. It's easy to use and all members of your team can access it and make changes to project plans they’re working on.
The site itself provides a stellar service to over 100, 000 businesses worldwide and stresses that it’s not like ‘any other project management site’.
Monday.com also allows you to track ad campaigns, dig out bugs, and manage video content for your site. You can assign different tasks to other team members and keep track of the progress of each one. It’s free to use and you can try it out at https://monday.com
2. The note-taking tool
Evernote is another great tool to have in your business’s belt. It’s a tech-enhanced way to record ideas and is great for note-taking. Evernote ensures recording information from meetings is so much more efficient.
The app allows you to create notes as text, pictures, audio, or web content. This versatility is a huge plus point, especially if you or a member of your team works better through visuals rather than traditional note taking. This gives everyone the option to work in the way they feel most comfortable.
Evernote is free to use, but if you think you’ll use more than 60MB of note space per month, you may need to upgrade to the paid version. Check out Evernote.com to find out more.
3. The productivity tool
Trello is the ideal tool for keeping business plans and information in one place. It’s essentially an online calendar that you can individually or collaboratively by inviting your team to view and add to it.
You can create different boards for different projects and keep all your relevant information in one place, making it easier to keep on track and stay focused.
Trello’s free version offers enough for basic planning, but the full version comes with more features, such as arranging your to-do list by colour or add stickers. This helps to make it more obvious what needs doing and when.
Some other features of the paid Trello version include:
- Progress tracking – This allows you to add task items like ‘To-do’, ‘Doing’ and ‘Done’ so you can easily monitor the progress you make.
- People management – You can see which tasks your colleagues are currently working on and easily assign jobs and collaborate on projects.
- Notifications – You can get notifications that tell you when certain actions are added and completed by your colleagues.
You can try the free version at Trello.com
4. The storage and sharing tool
As you’d expect with anything developed by the search giant, Google Drive is one of the most popular ways to store information and has become invaluable to businesses across the globe.
One of the more user-friendly cloud storage systems, Google Drive is essentially an online filing cabinet where you can upload and share your documents with your team or colleagues.
It ensures all documents and projects are kept safe in the same place and it’s simple to go back in and edit via the system. It’s also free to use, which is a bonus but if you require more than the standard amount of storage, then you do need to pay a little extra.
There are several other Google tools aside from Google Drive that are handy for businesses though. If you’re used to using Microsoft Office tools, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides will all look familiar. And Google Drive offers an effective way to make, save and share documents with ease. You can create presentations and spreadsheets too, which is a useful option to have if you often have team meetings.
If the nature of your business requires you to share a lot of documents, perhaps with people in different locations or who are working remotely then Google Drive can help make this easier.
Find out more at Google
5. The social media tool
A tried-and-tested social media scheduling app, Hootsuite allows you to take control of your social media marketing strategy and line posts up for the weeks ahead.
Operating all your social accounts from the one place can free up a lot of time, especially if you dedicate a block of time at the start of each week or month to set up your social posts.
If you prefer to work more on the fly and need to come up with content ideas and post every day, using apps like Hootsuite make it easy to get all your posts scheduled in one go so you don’t have to worry about them throughout the day.
Hootsuite is also really easy to use and allows you to efficiently manage multiple social media accounts from one place. You can link your business Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and view all scheduled and live posts. It’s free to use, but there is a cap on how many accounts you can link. If you need to link more accounts then you may need to upgrade to the paid version.
Another great feature in Hootsuite is its keyword tracking, you can see what keywords are working well and attracting more traffic, which is handy moving forward with your social marketing plan.
Visit the Hootsuite website to sign up or enquire about how it can aid your business.
6. The organisation tool
Sidekick could be your new wingman if you have trouble keeping your browser organised. If your tabs are out of control, browser windows all over the place, and desktop apps don't integrate well with the rest of your work on the web, Sidekick can help.
The app can be easily added to your business e-mail accounts, regardless of whether you use Outlook, Gmail or Hotmail - all can be integrated with no hassle.
Sidekick offers a range of useful features, including:
- Email tracking – This option allows you to see when recipients open e-mails you’ve sent and also if they click any links inside the e-mails. This can be useful if you are wanting an insight into customer engagement or statistics on the content you are producing.
- Contact profiles – Sidekick can also pull information about a chosen e-mail address from around the web and can compile it into an easy-to-read profile. This profile can include information on a contact’s location, professional history and phone number.
To find out more, go to Sidekick.com
7. The accounting tool
BrightBook offers free accounting and bookkeeping software. It's simple to use and helps businesses manage revenue simply and effectively.
With BrightBook you can log bills and payments, create and send invoices and also manage the status of transactions.
It’s user-friendly and you don’t need any sort of accounting experience to use it. BrightBook was created to be a lifeline for business owners who didn’t know much about bookkeeping but needed to manage cash flow properly.
To see how BrightBook can help you, visit mybrightbook.com
Choose the right tools for your business
Being a Bionic business is about more than switching business energy or sorting your next business broadband deal with our tech-enabled experts. It’s about working smarter and using tech to increase productivity.
There are a lot of effective online tools out there designed with small businesses like yours in mind. Many of these tools are available for free or at least have options that allow you to try for a period to see if they can help your business. It’s a good idea to try out a few first and then choose the ones that work best, especially if you need to use the paid versions.
And don't forget that switching business essentials with Bionic is a quick and easy way to save time and money. Call 0800 077 3615 to talk to our experts about energy, insurance, connectivity or finance products.