As per a survey by the US Small Business Administration, there are 30.7 million small businesses in the US, which account for 99.9% of all US businesses.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive dislocation among small businesses. It has led them to increase their online activities, use technology, artificial intelligence, improve customer satisfaction, internet security, and adapt to the new reality.
Now, over 51% of small businesses have increased the interactions with their clients over the internet. Therefore, using the best tools for your small business will further help you thrive.
Here is a list of five tools that your small business should use.
1- Project Management Tool: Trello
Project management tools help manage resources, assign tasks, keep track of the project deadline, and deliver projects successfully.
One of the top-ranked project planning and management tools is Trello. It offers a free, flexible, and visual way to manage projects.
Trello utilizes Kanban-style boards. Within boards, there are cards. These cards represent tasks that contain lists to track the progress of a project or to categorize things.
It has a minimalistic interface that works well for keeping complex projects in focus. It lets you create custom boards and lists with cards that can include images, files, links, checklists, or due dates.
It is perfect for businesses of all sizes that also have team members and employees working together on multi-part projects.
Trello offers unlimited personal boards, cards, and lists, 10MB per file attachment, 10 team boards, and one power-up per board in its free plan.
2- Virtual Private Network Software: NordVPN
The Cyber Readiness Report by Hiscox shows that around 47% of small businesses reported at least one security incident in the previous year which is likely to increase in 2022 and ahead.
Therefore, start-ups and small businesses concerned about security must implement personal virtual private network (VPN) services.
VPN services hide online activity from hackers and limit the users who can access network content.
One of the most trusted VPN service providers is NordVPN with 5,249 servers across 60 countries worldwide. It also includes multiple types of specialty servers, which a user can choose as per their needs.
Not only it has the biggest server park, but also promises excellent stability and consistency in speed.
CyberSec is an essential feature of NordVPN. It protects you against malware, phishing attempts, intrusive ads, and other similar threats.
Another promising feature of NordVPN is its security, which is capable of protecting the data in a system from any external elements. It uses an Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with 256-bit keys, often used by the NSA (National Security Agency) to secure any classified and top-secret information.
3- Website Accessibility Tool: accessiBe
As per the World Bank, around 15% of the world’s population experience some form of disability.
accessiBe is the AI-powered, automatic solution provider that makes websites fully WCAG and ADA compliant. It fully protects your business from lawsuits and fines. It turns inaccessible websites into WCAG and ADA compliant websites.
accessiBe also provides a Litigation Support Package to prove your ADA website compliance and guides you through the process.
accessiBe is fully customizable. It easily matches your website’s design. You can also select your preferred color pallets, positions, icons, sizing, and placement of the accessibility button.
It is affordable as it charges USD 49/month with a free 7-day trial for around-the-clock protection. This plan is for websites under 1,000 pages. For websites with over 1,000 pages, prices can be between USD 99 and USD 149 a month.
4- Team Communication Tool: Slack
For smooth communication and sharing of ideas, brainstorming, and day-to-day chit chat, Slack is one of the best tools.
It allows teammates to create channels that represent a project, team, or a particular client.
Slack offers great features, such as audio and video calling. It allows easy integration with other business tools such as MailChimp and Google Drive.
Also, it makes it easy to upload and share files such as Word docs, PDF files, JPEGs, MOVs, and files from Google Drive.
Due to its affordable plans, it has quickly become the go-to messaging platform for startups and small businesses.
It is also useful for businesses that do not have a single office as it enables team members to communicate on any desktop or mobile device.
Slack offers search up to 10,000 messages, up to 10 third-party app integrations, one-to-one video and voice calls, and 5GB storage per workspace in its free plan.
5- Email Marketing Tool: MailChimp
One of the top-ranked email marketing tools is Mailchimp. It provides features, such as behavioral targeting, A/B testing, custom templates, and advanced segmentation.
Mailchimp is a full-fledged marketing platform that offers landing pages, websites, and postcards.
Its postcard service enables users to design and send beautiful postcards to loyal customers, prospects, or anybody interested in their business.
Also, its drag-and-drop templates let users create professional, branded emails with no design skills.
Mailchimp’s built-in analytics tool keeps track of open rates and clicks. It allows users to automatically send out targeted emails based on user behaviors. Examples can be a welcome message for new signups or a related product recommendation for a recent buyer.
It offers start-ups and small businesses high-level email marketing with both free and affordable paid plans.
MailChimp allows users to send up to 12,000 emails per month, set up multi-user accounts, and get email and chat support for the first 30 days in its free plan.
Setting up a small business is a difficult and expensive endeavor. It involves carefully reviewing all critical decisions that can impact your business. Also, small businesses must work smarter to stay competitive while there is continuous growth in online ordering, mobile payments, contactless transactions, etc. It means employing tools that support all the processes from the very first touchpoint to the final delivery.
Therefore, the above five tools help small businesses cover a wide range of functions, right from making a business plan, creating visuals, marketing plans to tracking your traffic and business growth.