Without stating the obvious, the internet has enabled developers to build some fantastic business management software that can be used to improve the marketing and productivity of your business. I’d be interested to hear which business management services you’ve had experience with, but I’m going to cover a list of 5 that we use and love!
I had to start on a marketing focused one didn’t I? SproutSocial is the best social media management tool currently out there (in my opinion). It allows you to manage multiple accounts all in one place, offering the best reporting I’ve seen on an any SMM (social media management) platform. The best part of it though, is its simplicity to use and its clean/modern design. If you take social media seriously in your overall marketing strategy, I’d highly recommend at least trying Sprout’s 30 day trial. It offers a really nice hub to manage all accounts, research trending topics and check out successful you’ve been.
When we started our business, just under 2 years ago, our accountants (360 Accountants – great guys!) pointed us in the direction of an online book keeping service, Xero. Basically, for a small monthly charge you can send invoices and track your sales/expenses via a live feed to your bank account. It provides you with ready made invoice templates that you can add your logo to, and you can even upload pictures of your offline receipts to link them up with your accounts. The best part for us, is being able to check our balance, outstanding invoices and overdue bills all in one place. Overall, Xero gives you a powerful to manage your money online and makes the whole process infinitely less stressful.
3. Campaign Monitor
It’s a tough call between CM and Mailchimp for the crown of the best current email marketing package, but for us Campaign Monitor just wins. This online tool allows you to upload an list of email addresses to send regular branded communications via email to this list. This can be used as a sales tool if you’re selling products, or an E-Newsletter if you’re in the services industry. Similar to Sprout, you can create multiple accounts and manage them in one place. The reporting with CM is easy to use, and gives you crucial stats to help improve your email marketing campaigns moving forward. For example you can see how many people opened your email, when it was opened and which recipients clicked a link.
Email is still the most mainstream way of communicating in business, both externally and internally. At Superfly, we’ve tried a few different email clients but none have impressed more than the rather delightful Mailbird! Not strictly an ‘online service’ (as in, you can’t access Mailbird via your browser), but still well worth a mention in this list. It’s essentially the best looking email client we’ve ever worked with. It also integrates with all your other favourite apps including Facebook, Google Drive and Google Calendar. Best of all, it’s free to download and use. A premium purchase gives you more functionality and the use of more accounts, but even that is less than £30.
Asana is definitely my favourite business management tool available on the web at the moment. It enables you to manage your workload/clients into ‘projects’ and then you can create tasks, assigning users and deadlines to each specific tasks. Combine this simple idea with Google Calendar integration, brilliant iPhone and Android apps, colour coding your projects, notification/reminders, team calendar view etc. The list is endless! If you’re currently using another program to manage your workload, I’d highly recommend you check out Asana. It’s free as well!
I hope there’s at least one in there that you can go away and take a look at in more detail. These are all services that we have used or are currently using at Superfly, and they have helped us deliver a better service for our clients!