Five Tools You Need For Your Online Business

It is become easier than ever to get started with your own online business, or to take your existing online business to the next level. The wealth of tools and utilities available on the internet is truly astounding, and you can easily leverage these solutions to help you better manage and grow your business, regardless of its size.

Zoho Social

It goes without saying that social media has become a positively integral part of running any online business. It can also be a remarkably confusing, overwhelming, and time-consuming endeavor, because it can feel impossible to keep up with timely updates and strategic engagement. This is especially true when you’ve got multiple accounts across multiple platforms.

With Zoho Social, you get an incredibly powerful social media management tool that can handle every aspect of what your business (or businesses!) is doing on the social web. This includes the ability to manage multiple social networks—conveniently bundling up the accounts that correspond to each brand. This approach makes more sense than just having a long list of accounts stretched across multiple platforms.

Controlled from a single dashboard, you gain the ability to schedule unlimited posts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and beyond. You can also monitor keywords, utilize the prediction engine for smart scheduling, collaborate with team members, measure and improve performance, and generate reports on just about every metric and stat imaginable.

Monthly pricing ranges from free to $125, depending on the number of team members and brands you manage. Of course, higher plans also unlock a number of features that the less expensive plans lack, like a publishing calendar and custom analytics reports.

Slack

You’ve got freelance writers in New York, Vancouver, and Melbourne. You’ve got app and web developers in London, Singapore, and Moscow. You’ve got a support team, a sales and marketing team, a social media team . . . the list goes on and on. Everyone is working remotely from locations all around the world in different time zones and on different platforms. And yet you all need to find an effective way to work together, somehow.

Perhaps one of the best team collaboration tools on the internet today is Slack. Relying on email threads is a recipe for disaster, and while sharing Google Docs can be useful, it’s an incomplete way to communicate. Slack does a tremendous job of allowing you to segment conversations based on “channels,” as well as direct messages with specific individuals.

Let’s say Sally is part of the North America team, and also a part of the content creation team, so she can follow those two channels. And freelance writer Jeff is based in Vienna, and is interested in content creation, but not in North America (for the purposes of the company). Slack makes that easy. The goal, according to Slack, is to create “alignment and shared understanding across your team, making you more productive, less stressed, and just a little bit happier.” It’s communication made simple.

The cost of Slack for Teams ranges from free to $12.50 per user per month. If you need to administer multiple interconnected Slack work spaces across your company, you will need to contact Slack directly to inquire about Slack Enterprise Grid,

OneDrive for Business

Google Drive, Dropbox, and other similar cloud storage solutions certainly have their merits and benefits. They oftentimes also have a business-oriented solution that comes with additional features. But if you’re looking for a de facto standard that will work with companies and organizations around the world, OneDrive for Business from Microsoft is a solid choice.

It’s not just about being able to share files, resources, and assets through the cloud with other members of your team. Yes, it’s true that you can easily store and access your files from just about anywhere. One big key is that Microsoft Office files (like those Word documents, PowerPoint decks, and Excel spreadsheets you’d create with Office 365) can then be easily shared too, including the ability to collaborate with people both within and outside of your business. Any edits that you make offline will be uploaded automatically when you get back online. All of your company data remains safely protected via advanced encryption and security features.

The accessibility is also a huge bonus. You can have your traditional desktop experience with native software, but you can just as easily work within the browser-based interface or via the mobile apps for Android and iOS. The goal is that you can work how you want, when you want, where you want.

OneDrive for Business plans start as low as $5 per user per month and go up to $12.50 per user per month (when paid annually) to include Office 365, plus a number of other Microsoft services like SharePoint and Skype for Business.

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Intuit QuickBooks Online

Perhaps one of the most confusing and most frustrating aspects of running a business is keeping solid tabs on your numbers. Not every entrepreneur or small business owner has been properly trained in accounting! To make the process a little more accessible, you may want to consider Intuit QuickBooks Online, a tool that is no less powerful than more traditional accounting software.

As with other online tools, QuickBooks Online has a main dashboard where you can view the most important aspects of your business at a glance. This includes tracking your profit and loss data, expenses, sales, invoices, and bank accounts. And then when you’re ready to dig deeper, you can dive into the nitty-gritty details with ease.

This isn’t just about accounting, either, because there is a built-in invoicing tool complete with custom reminders, tracking, and direct deposits. This means you can get to your money more quickly. On the flip side, expense management is also easy, connecting your accounts and sorting transactions automatically. Come tax time (or any time), you can share access with your accountant too.

You can choose to have a 30-day free trial (and pay full price after that), or you can opt for 50% off your first three months. Regular monthly pricing ranges from $15 to $50, depending on the features that you need.

Leadpages

Unless you’re already an expert web designer and developer who already has an incredible knack of the nuances of internet marketing, you probably shouldn’t be trying to create your own landing pages from scratch. Trying using an online tool like Leadpages instead. Leadpages features an easy to understand drag-and-drop interface that just about anyone can use.

Landing pages can literally be built in a matter of minutes with multiple features, including countdowns, social share buttons, custom images and color schemes, forms, video integration, and more. These pages can then be shared on the web, in emails, and via social media to generate leads (and sales!) for your business. Start from over 160 mobile responsive templates that you can customize for almost any industry.

But it’s not just about creating the landing pages; Leadpages includes built-in payments, as well as A/B split testing for optimization, complete with simple analytics that you can use to further improve your conversion rate. From one-click signups to lead capture pop-ups to mobile opt-in codes, this is a complete package.

Save 39% when you opt for annual billing. Pricing then ranges from $25 to $199 a month; the $48/month professional plan is the most popular.

Take advantage of online tools

We all know the complications and stressors involved with running a business online. It’s come to the point where there are simply way too many options and data overload. The days of running a business through just manual outreach and labor are over.

With that being said, the market understands how to make the process of running a business in the world today much easier. The tools and software solutions have been created, but they are only helpful if you actually put them into use. Consider your options with each of these tools and solutions, and see how they can help you bring your online business, brand, or venture to that next level.

RELATED: 3 Ways to Turn Your Expertise Into a Profitable Online Business

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