6 Must-Have Tools for Small Business Efficiency

As a small-business owner, it’s a no-brainer that relying on purpose-specific tools rather than manual processes will help you regain time. For nearly every type of business function, there’s an app (or service) tailored to small organizations.

Let’s look at six tools that can increase your efficiency and save you more time.

Mail Chimp for Email Blasts

Contacting prospects using email can be an effective tactic in driving new leads. But overall, it tends to prompt bounce-back emails from invalid addresses, filling your inbox with distracting messages. Instead, smart marketers use a service – Mail Chimp is one of the most popular. Mail Chimp’s interface is super easy to navigate and use. It also provides you with reports that show the average number of recipients who opened your email and the average click rate (if you included a link in the email to your website, for example). These reports can help you determine if you need to tweak your subject line or content in the future. Mail Chimp’s basic plan is free while more in-depth plans start at $10/month.

Egnyte for File Sharing

Although computer hard drives offer a lot of storage space at affordable prices, keeping files on your computer requires frequent backups in case the drive crashes. Plus, you still need to resort to email or USB sticks to share files with co-workers. Why not keep files in the cloud instead? Egnyte is a secure file-sharing service, perfect for storing files and collaborating with others. The service is mobile-friendly and available 24/7, without the need for any manual backups.  Business-class service provides much stronger security and lets you control who can access which documents. And Egnyte is one of the few file-sharing applications that support compliant protection of customer information. With Egnyte, you control where your data resides. As a result, it is the solution of choice for thousands of customers in highly regulated industries.

Pocket for Article Saving

Throughout your workday, you might discover articles you want to read, but there are other pressing matters at hand. Instead of texting or emailing the URL to yourself as a reminder to read it later, just use Pocket to save the page – no bookmarking needed. Pocket is a free Web browser plug-in that works great for saving articles and videos, and it hooks into social media apps like Twitter.

WorkflowMax for Record Keeping

Professionals who need to keep close track of time spent on projects know the difficulty in keeping accurate records. WorkflowMax may be an excellent solution. This cloud-based app helps employees track time, but it also includes a large suite of other features like job costing, quoting and estimating. Pricing starts at $15/month per user.

Insightly for Customer Relationship Management

As a small business, it can be difficult to maintain current customers while bringing on new ones, but doing so is vital for growth. A customer relationship management (CRM) tool makes the task of managing leads and contacts much easier. The beauty of CRM is the detailed information tracked on individuals and companies such as contact information, significant dates, notes and emails. Insightly makes customer and prospect information readily available, giving you the opportunity to offer a more personalized experience via email or phone. Companies with one or two people can use Insightly for free, while paid plans, starting at $12/month, provide more features and support larger groups.

Skype for Business for Online Meetings

As more employees work remotely, you can improve the time employees spend in online meetings by selecting a high-quality service, like Skype for Business. This all-in-one solution from Microsoft offers Web, audio and video conferencing. Users can chat during meetings, hand control of a presentation to another participant, share files and links, and record meetings for playback later. The basic plan starts at $5/month per user, although some Internet providers offer Microsoft® Office 365 with their services at no additional expense.

Efficiency is key when it comes to your business’ success, and it can easily be improved with any of these tools. Most of the services offer a free trial, so why not sign up for one today and give it a try?

How can CenturyLink® Business Cloud Services help you improve efficiency?