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Great Low Cost Tools to Help Grow Your Business

Puryear IT’s latest webinar took a look at a ton of exciting and inexpensive programs, applications, and websites designed to help businesses boost productivity and efficiency, and make the most of the time and resources available to them. These tools fall into eight different categories, broken down as follows.

Accounting – As a business owner, having a good grasp of where your money is going is crucial. Accounting Coach is a free website that allows users to learn or refresh basic skills in accounting and bookkeeping and has an excellent rating in regards to its ease of use and simple to follow the material. The site offers high-quality videos and interactive tutorials. Expensify provides easy to use expense tracking and reporting. The site has automated the process to allow for approval and payment of submissions to be done automatically, even going so far as to include a type of smart scan technology that will pull certain pieces of information from receipts and plug them into your expense report.

Simplification – Your business becomes much easier to manage when you and your team can stay organized. Desk.com provides a central location for all of your customer support issues and inquiries. Desk.com allows you to generate tickets to manage support requests and offers the ability to track this activity on an ongoing basis to ensure your team is handling customer needs in a reasonable timeframe and pick out patterns in customer issues. Slack is a program designed to help tackle inbox clutter by giving your team a place to communicate with each other about all things work-related. Accessible only to authorized users, your employees can send private messages, or discuss projects in group chats. Slack allows you to share files within the program, and stores everything said and sent so that you can easily use the program’s search function to find old conversations that contain relevant information or attachments.

Marketing – Using your marketing dollars wisely is the easiest way to get the most out of your efforts. HitWise uses a panel of more than 8 million people and 20 million websites to gather insight about target audiences. This information can help your business decide where and how to invest in your marketing efforts. ONTRAPORT allows you to consolidate all of your business’ marketing materials in one central location, tracking and organizing all marketing-related tasks. You can use ONTRAPORT to build email and landing page templates, and the program can integrate with your existing WordPress site, and even your company Facebook page to allow you to make use of pre-existing materials. ONTRAPORT will track hit rates and analytics, storing this information in a central location to let you see how your time, money, and effort is spent. Improvely allows you to track the effectiveness of your business’ online marketing campaigns. This program generates reports that show you how users responded to your campaign, and where you can make improvements in your next marketing endeavor.

Feedback – Gathering and promoting good comments and client testimonials is the best way to find out how happy your customers are, how well your marketing efforts are working, and how well your business is doing. GetFeedback allows you to create sleek, mobile-friendly user surveys to gather feedback from your clients. The program will automatically generate a graph from the data collected. Customer Heartbeat is a website that uses clear, easy-to-complete surveys that garner a whopping 60% response rate to help track the satisfaction of your clients over time.

Reputation – Managing your online reputation is crucial to the success of your business. Make a point of addressing negative comments, and following up on customer feedback. Oktopost allows you to track all of your business’ social media activity, managing all aspects of these accounts including content curation and marketing. Hootsuite takes this a step further by allowing you to track all of your social media communications, letting you respond faster to all types of feedback. For a slightly higher price tag than Oktopost, Hootsuite allows you to get a read on how users feel about your brand, filtering results by location, language, and gender.

Improvement – Improving your team’s skill set and level of engagement is a surefire way to keep your business moving forward. Tap My Back is a motivational tool that uses peer-to-peer recognition. Based on tasks highlighted by team leaders, employees can offer praise to team members, celebrating successes and boosting morale. Lynda.com is a division of LinkedIn and offers high-end training videos and modules for a wide variety of topics related to business and technology. Lynda.com is subscription-based, allowing you only to pay for access when you need it, for however long you need it.

Efficiency – Focusing your time on high-value tasks by learning to delegate to others can help boost efficiency and productivity. Try hiring a virtual assistant to help you accomplish tasks, using sites like Upwork, TaskArmy, and People Per Hour, which allow you to post a job ad and interview candidates for the position. Zirtual, TaskBullet, and Virtual Assist USA are slightly more expensive services that will handle the hiring process for you. Using online project management tools is an easy way to help you and your staff work more efficiently. Harvest is a more task-based website, while Trello is more project-based. Both sites allow your team to collaborate and communicate.

Save Money – Cutting costs wherever possible is always a smart plan. When looking into new products or services, take advantage of free trial memberships, and ask about demos. Save on travel expenses using sites like Hopper, which will notify you of upcoming deals to help you plan business trips. Skyscanner is perfect for international flights, in particular, helping you to find great deals. Real estate is a significant expense, helping to drive the rise in remote and work from home employment options. Virtual whiteboard program Mural is a perfect tool to help improve virtual workspaces, allowing employees to post sticky notes, share images, create charts, and collaborate in all of the ways employees would in a shared office space.

Want to find out more about the ways technology can help improve the way your business works? Contact us at info@puryear-it.com or (225) 706-8414. We’re the trusted IT experts for businesses in Baton Rouge.

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