Online business tools are vital to success in this hyperconnected age. If you’re a 20-year veteran of the workplace interested in starting a business; a small business entrepreneur looking to reshape the way you work and grow your business; or even a fresh-faced entrepreneur searching for the best way to work, there are a number of bases all businesses must cover.
Thankfully, there’s a large selection of online business tools and business courses to help you.
From its impact (and cost-effectiveness) as a communication medium and the opportunity for information gathering that it provides, to the way it innovates payment and enables collaboration, the internet has revolutionised the way people do business.
Whether you’re offering a product or service, the bottom line is that online business tools can make your business more productive and competitive – so we’ve curated a selection of them to help you do just that.
Online Business Tools For Use At Home
Where will your customers find you online? Here are 3 options:
Over 60 million users make this the most popular website builder. With thousands of themes and plugins to choose from, anyone can learn to build a beautiful website.
If you want to build an online shop with an ecommerce website builder, Shopify lets you customise your store, accept credit cards and seek support 24/7.
Another hugely popular website builder, Wix lets you choose the kind of website you’d like to create according to its purpose – right from the home page.
Online Business Tools To Streamline Operations
You need tools to manage all areas of your business – including communication, finance management, storage and distribution.
4) Gmail and GTalk
Gmail is a free, advertising-supported email service provided by Google, and is accompanied by GTalk – an instant messaging service compatible on all operating systems.
Their home page says it all: “Small Business Accounting Software Designed for You”. Features include invoicing, expenses, time tracking, payments and reporting.
6) Zoho Invoice
This software is specific to invoicing and helps you to create invoices, automatically send payment reminders, manage your expenses and run reports – all online.
Both these tools allow for file-hosting services such as cloud storage, file synchronisation, and client software. Both offer subscription services for accounts beyond small scale. Google Drive also allows for real-time document editing by multiple users.
A globally-recognised Customer Relations Management (CRM) system with services translated into a wide selection of different languages, used by over 80,000 people and boasting over 2 million subscribers.
Online Business Tools For Use In Sales and Marketing
“Anticipated, personal and relevant advertising always does better than unsolicited junk.”
An incredibly useful tool that allows you to create, publish and test responsive and focused landing pages without the need for IT support.
10) Google AdWords
AdWords offers Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, cost-per-thousand (CPM) advertising, and site-targeted advertising for text, banner, and rich-media ads, and includes local, national, and international distribution.
11) Facebook ads
Similar to PPC advertising, except instead of paying for sponsored links, you advertise to members within a social network whose profiles contain keywords you’ve identified.
12) LinkedIn Advertising
The power of this advertising lies in the fact that it is directed to a network of 433 million members (Q1 2016), a significant proportion of which are small business owners and business professionals.
Online Business Tools To Build A Community
In the age of the powerful consumer, how will you keep promises and maintain trust?
Email marketing is as essential in this space as a sound social media strategy. Bulk email software tools like MailChimp and GraphicMail help you to design email newsletters that can be shared on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results.
This allows you to provide relevant, valuable information to your readers in a friendly and visually appealing format that attracts more opt-ins that opt-outs.
Online Business Tools To Aid In Collaboration
As your team expands, how will you manage collaboration?
This online project management system allows you to create projects and tasks, inspire conversation, get only the notifications you need, and monitor your progress.
Another popular web-based project management tool offering to-do lists, milestone management, file sharing, time tracking and messaging.
Thinking about starting a business?
In just 9 weeks, the UCT Start and Manage a Small Business online short course will guide you from conceptualising a new business idea, to making your first sale and sustaining the growth of your enterprise.