8 Affordable (Or Free) Tools That Boost Small Business Efficiency

Does your business operate like a well-oiled machine? The software and services you use to manage your business should communicate with each other, creating a seamless experience for your team. The good news is that today’s software and web services tend to play together quite nicely. There are many tools that can streamline your workflow, improve communication, collect data, and develop customer relationships. If you’re working in many systems and it’s putting a damper on your efficiency, it might be time to look at how your company’s tools and services can work together. Here are some of my favorites to check out:

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1. Google Analytics

This free Google tool can give you the data you need to take your company into the big leagues. Information is the most important factor in business growth. No matter what your goals are, you’ll be able to plan a path to success with the right intel at your fingertips. Whether you want to expand your customer base, monitor activity on your website, or gauge mobile traffic, Google Analytics can help you to make it happen. If you’re new to the tool, KISSmetrics put out an awesome guide for getting started. 

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2. Rapportive

If you’re using Google for email as well as its other business tools, then check out Rapportive. This Gmail plugin links up social profiles with your contact cards. It adds a new, customer-centric layer to your email, which can help you to build that all-important relationship. From links to their Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles to notes about their location, interests and business needs, Rapportive lets you access a full suite of vital information

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3. MailChimp

Email marketing is one of the most important tools for growing business. With MailChimp, you can make sure that the look of your emails matches the content. Design newsletters with unique layouts to best present your company. Besides presenting a cohesive brand, you can also conduct A/B testing and run reports on how your emails perform. Learn more about what’s working for your company and what’s not so that you can continue to grow.

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4. Yesware

Need help with your sales-related data. Yesware tracks who opens your emails and offers a full suite of analytics. It also lets you create templates for messages. More control over your email means better communication with your customers and more sales.

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5. Quote Roller

The proposals you send out are a direct reflection of your business. Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. Quote Roller is a tool for creating, sending and tracking awesome looking proposals. It’s no longer 1995 where quotes are text documents faxed to a potential client. The world has evolved, and it is time that proposals are elegant, dynamic and efficiently produced.

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6. Zapier

Zapier connects the web apps you use to easily move your data and automate tedious tasks. For example, want to backup your Evernote notes to your Dropbox? You can with Zapier. Instead of spending time and money creating complicated integration systems, you can use Zapier to automate the services you and your team are already using on a daily basis.

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7. Dropbox

It’s all about the cloud. Dropbox acts as both a file sharing service and a remote backup system for your information. It’s a secure approach for collaborating within your team and for getting documents, contracts, images and other files to your clients. Dropbox also helps to take your business mobile by bringing your information wherever you go. The free accounts have storage for up to 16 GB if you refer other users to the tool.

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8. Base

What kind of list would this be if we didn’t shamelessly plug our own product? In addition to powerful features for overseeing your customer relationships and improving the efficiency of your sales team, Base integrates with other business tools, including the ones mentioned here. Combine your CRM account with Google tools, MailChimp, Yesware, Dropbox, and many social media networks.

What other tools do you use to manage your efficiency?

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