We’re pretty lucky, right? We live in a world where there’s a company, somewhere in the world offering pretty much any service that we might possibly ever need, from accounting and finance to sales and marketing, there are tools out there to suit every business, but which ones are the best? And what are the online tools every business needs in 2021?
We’ve put together this list of the best online tools every business needs, so, let’s take a look…
Before we go any further, we need to say, building your own website really isn’t the answer, we strongly recommend putting some money aside and hiring a web developer, you won’t regret it! If you wanted to talk about having a website built, check out our services here. Saying that sometimes you just don’t have the budget to get a website professionally built, in which case, we recommend Wix.com. They make it really easy to put together a nice looking website, fairly quickly and without too much stress. Wix is especially good for beginners with no experience as you can start with a template and all you need to do is customise the text and images, simple as that! If you do choose Wix, we would recommend going for at least the combo plan, starting at £6/month.
Mailchimp is awesome, you can build up a mail list and send email marketing all for free! The free plan allows up to 200 subscribers which are perfect for smaller companies and startups but even if you need to scale, their bigger plans aren’t exactly going to leave a huge hole in the bank. The paid plans start at £9.99 for up to 50,000 subscribers and up to £299 for 200,000+ subscribers. The real beauty of Mailchimp is simplicity, it takes a matter of minutes to set up and publish a new champaign. To top it all off the analytics are pretty nifty too, allowing you to see how many people have opened your emails etc.
Firstly, for those unsure, what is CRM? It stands for Customer Relationship Manager/Management, basically, it stores details about your customers and helps you stay on top of leads. Hubspot is one of the most well-known CRM solutions, and for good reason, it offers everything a smaller business will need all for free! You can create new customer and companies and store loads of information on their profiles, including notes about the companies, logging calls and tracking email. Hubspot has a really handy drag and drop pipeline, so you know exactly what stage of the sales pipeline a customer is at. If you manage a team Hubspot allows you to add team members and set that team member tasks.
It is worth noting a very robust alternative, for those looking for a CRM with a bit more substance, Salesforce. Salesforce is probably the biggest playing in the market and its services are truly amazing. The only reason we didn’t choose Salesforce is the £60/month/user price tag!
Stripe makes taking payment online a breeze! Okay, so their fee is a bit higher than the others but the integration is so simple that we are willing to forget about that. Stripe has become one of the worlds leading payment gateways and as a result, is compatible with most services. If you run an e-commerce website, you can’t go far wrong with Stripe. If you were to choose Stripe you’d be in pretty good company, Deliveroo and Booking.com are just a couple of examples all relying on Stripe.
At Noviom Labs, we’ve only just started using Slack, and our first impressions, love it! For those that don’t know, Slack is basically like Whatapp but is focused around teams. Slack allows you to communicate on any device and supports uploading most file types. Especially in the year, we’ve all just had, it’s a pretty clear business need a robust solution for remote working. Slack integrates with loads of other services too like Zoom, Mailchimp and Google Drive so you can do almost everything you need to without leaving the Slack interface. It’s also worth noting that Slack was recently purchased by Salesforce for $26Billion…BILLION! It’ll certainly be interesting what plans Salesforce have for it.
So Gsuite is basically the paid version of Gmail, with one big difference, you get to use your custom domain. for example firstname.lastname@example.org instead of email@example.com. Gsuite only starts at £4.60/month/user and trust us, it’s well worth it! According to godaddy.com, 33% of consumers doubt the trustworthiness of a business that uses a generic email like @gmail.com, and if you are an e-commerce site, more concerning is that 23% of consumers are concerned about handing over credit card information. That could be having a huge impact on your conversion rate.
Gsuite makes managing your account so simple and adding users is done in just a couple of clicks, making Gsuite the perfect email platform for growing businesses.
FreeAgent is a cloud-based account software specifically designed for smaller businesses, with the aim of making your accounting as simply and time-efficient as possible. Manage everything from Invoicing, Payroll, Expenses and tax returns all from within the easy to navigate dashboard. FreeAgent allows you to set up recurring invoices and sends them automatically to your customers, saving you hours of invoicing time every month. One really cool feature is the ability to upload photos of receipt, which if you’re like me and loose receipt all the time, is a lifesaver!
Whether you are working from home, the office or abroad, you can access your files and folders from anywhere, including your phone, that’s the beauty of using cloud storage. All you need to get started with Google Drive is a Google account, paid or free! Uploading files couldn’t be easier, just drag and drop and Drive does the rest for you. Google Drive is brilliant for small teams who like to collaborate on documents, at the same time, just share the document with whoever you want to and see them working in real-time. If you opt to use your free Gmail account you’ll get a very generous 15GB of storage, with the paid Gsuite plan doubling that with 30GB. All in all, you can’t really go wrong with Google Drive.
Woocommerce is the most popular e-commerce solution available on WordPress, which in turn, makes it one of the most popular e-commerce platforms around. According to BuiltWith, over 3.8 million websites are using Woocommerce, that’s around 0.2% of all websites! The reality for some if that Woocommerce might be a bit too involved, it is, after all, a WordPress plugin, so the learning curve may be a bit steep for some, saying that, there lies the beauty of Woocommerce. The fact that it is a plugin, means there are plenty of extensions that make Woocommerce so versatile. Woocommerce would easily be our first choice e-commerce platform, but for complete beginners, you may want to choose Shopify, another awesome platform!
Grammarly is an absolute lifesaver, it’s basically like having your teacher read through all your work and tell you how to improve the writing. Grammarly comes as an extension for Google Chrome, Firefox, and even Microsoft Edge and it checks for spelling and grammar mistakes as you write. If you’ve used word documents such as Microsoft word, you’ll be familiar with the red squiggly line under mistakes, its basically like having that on your entire computer. You can also set certain criteria, like formal or informal for example. If you’re not using Grammarly, try it out, it’s free and it’ll save you more times than you realise!