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Career Tips - Startup - June 24, 2021

6 Digital Tools Small Business Owners Must Master

Sometimes, being broke is a blessing to an entrepreneur trying to start a business or a small business owner already running one. That’s because desperation unleashes innovation and forces you to think of out-of-the-box ways to grow your business. Thankfully, digital tools have made the work easier.

With a tight budget and a hunger for success, a small business owner’s only option is to make the most of his meagre resources to achieve his business goals. And now that the success of any business is largely dependent on how water-tight their digital presence is, knowing the right digital tools to use is inevitable.

It’s one thing to know the right digital tools that can give you the best results, the know-how is a different ball game.

As Daymond John, the founder of FUBU, puts it in his book ‘The Power of Broke’, small business owners who don’t have big budgets do not have the luxury of hiring all the experts their business requires. They need to acquire multiple soft and hard skills and get some of the jobs done by themselves until the business outgrows the startup stage.

For example, you need graphic designs almost daily for your social media posts. Instead of paying a designer to do it, you could learn how to use Canva to create as many designs as possible. And designing with this free tool is as easy as making a cup of coffee.

Here are 7 digital tools you need to leverage for your business growth. Some of these tools are easy and free to use while others have both free and premium packages. However, one thing is for sure, the value you’d get from using them is unquantifiable.

1. Google My Business

According to 2020 data, 81% of people use search engines to look for products and businesses online. Why does this matter? If your business is registered on Google My Business, your brand will show up when people search on Google and Google Maps. It allows searchers to see your working hours, location, phone number and more. This is a great tool that will get your business more recognition and customers. Even better, the tool was recently improved to allow Posts, Virtual Tours, Messaging, and more. If Google My Business is optimized correctly, it can drive a lot of new customers to your business at no cost.

2. Social Media Scheduling Tools

We have established that Social media is vital to the success of any small business. That success cannot happen if the business is not active on social platforms. However, having a solid social media presence can be mentally stressful and time-consuming. There is a solution to that – Hootsuite. This tool will allow you to schedule your posts to go out on your desired dates and times. After scheduling the posts, you would not need to spend unnecessary hours on social media everyday, cracking your brain on what to post. You can schedule up to a month of posts in advance, all at a sitting. This allows you to focus on other important things.

Digital tools small business owners must master
Canva Interface. Image Credit: Canva.

As mentioned in the introduction, visual appeal is vital to how well or not well your social media posts perform. Canva is a great tool that can help you create professional-looking graphics. This tool offers a wide selection of templates, clip art, and fonts to help you customize your design.

3. Email marketing tools

Email marketing is the act of sending a promotional email message to a segment of people referred to as your ‘email subscribers’. They are people who have signed up to your email list and expressed interest in receiving emails from you. They’re usually people who are interested in your product or service. Businesses use email marketing to inform, drive sales and build an audience for their brand.

One of the most effective methods businesses are using to canvas clients nowadays is Email marketing. According to Smart Insights ranking, email marketing is the #1 choice for marketers, outranking Social media marketing, content marketing, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Some of the best tools for email marketing that we recommend are MailChimp and Get Response. These tools will help you ascertain who opened your emails, the links they clicked on, and who might be most interested in your future message or offer.

4. Tools for gaining and Retaining Clients

To gain more clients and keep the existing ones, you need Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms. They help you track potential, current, and previous customers from the first time they interacted with your business and all through your marketing and sales funnels. These platforms also help you discover hidden revenue. Hubspot, SalesForce, and Insightly are highly recommended CRM platforms. The advantages of using a CRM are enormous. It helps you make data-driven business decisions. You’ll be able to see how many new customers you’ve added in a certain period and view contacts by region or the type of product they bought.

5. Legally-binding e-Signature Tools

The signing of contracts and agreements are important exercises that will always happen in the life of a business. And with long-distance partnerships and collaborations now on the rise, you need tools such as HelloSign or DocuSign to append your document. They are easy to use> upload your document, drag the signature button to where you want it, add the right email address, and the tool will send it for your document for you!

6. Collaboration tools

File-sharing has never been more important and easier. Sharing systems like Google Drive and Dropbox are a perfect fit for this. These tools let many people work from the same version of a document instead of needless multiple emails. The tools also allow for team members working on a document to work in real-time or at different times.

To share large visual files such as photos, videos, and heavy graphics, WeTranfer is the best tool to use.

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