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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

5 Online Tools For Businesses

As a small business owner, a large business owner, a CEO, or an entry level employee, we all know that efficiency is key to any job description. From NPO's to corporate juggernauts, if you aren't being prudent with your time, you are wasting money.

That being said, here are 5 online tools that will - without a doubt - make your work life easier, save you time, and relieve stress.

1. Google Business Apps

As it turns out, even Google has an eye out for the little guys. Google Business Apps is a great set of tools for small to medium sized companies, organizations and groups. Using cloud sharing capability, Google offers Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides to facilitate the communication and data sharing among individuals. The calendar is a great tool for integrating everyone's schedule; at one glance, determine a meeting time that works for everyone without the hassle of cc'ing e-mails. Google Docs is ideal for documents with numerous authors. Update and share changes and edits in an instant. Google Apps for Business also provides recorded webinars for visual learners. These webinars include anything from Google Aps "How-To's" to security news.
Google

2. UserTesting.com

If anyone knows that websites take time and effort, it's us.  Even once a business launches a brand new website, it's crucial that they update the site and stay in tune with current online trends.  This can take a considerable amount of marketing and research team hours not to mention a hefty budget. Enter, UserTesting.com.  For a modest price, this reasonably priced tool allows you to see how real viewers interact with your website.  Complete with audio as well as written feedback, a business can take the problems and obstacles encountered by real site visitors and implement a succinct solution. This puts an end to the guessing game as well as the waiting game involved in analyzing site traffic which can both quickly deplete funds. We recommend using this tool along side Google Analytics.
Lgo-user_testing

3. Evernote Business

Evernote first existed as a strictly personal online tool for capturing, saving, sharing, and accessing information. However, when they realized that much of their customer-base used Evernote at work, they created a service specifically targeted at business needs. Evernote Business is built upon the proposition that successful business are built on the knowledge of every team member. Their service facilitates the collection, discovery and sharing of ideas for a more productive workplace. Split into business libraries and business notebooks, this tool is actually really freaking cool. The business libraries give you access to company-wide documents and projects. Business notebooks allow for increased organization. You can add your notebooks to the business library if you would like your information accessible to your coworkers, or keep them private if you.... uh.... are scripting a proposal on why you should get a raise over Tom in the cube over from yours? Follow the link, and view the video to see all the possibilities available with Evernote Business.

4. Remember the Milk

Aside from the clever name, Remember the Milk is a great tool for task-management. If your desk looks anything like mine, it is currently housing anywhere from 20-35 post-it notes.  This haphazard, not to mention totally old-school way of organizing to-do lists and task prioritization is becoming obsolete. As a self-proclaimed "to-do list that is everywhere you are", this tool has developed applications to integrate with Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, Android, iPhone, iPad, Siri, e-mail, Twitter and more. Capabilities include managing tasks, organizing lists, planners, and search functionality.  The best part of this tool is the fact that it is completely integrated. That means you can add, update, and modify your content from any device throughout your day-to-day tasks.

 5. Zendesk

Zendesk is an online cloud-based tool to facilitate customer service excellence. If your company or organization deals with people in any way (if it doesn't.... please enlighten me), than Zendesk can help you organize and improve the process in which you respond to requests, complaints, and general comments from your customers. Zendesk allows your entire team to access incoming and outgoing communication with the public, and it has ticketing, assigning, and monitoring functionality to help your entire team track (and collaborate about) every component of the two-way communication.  Many companies utilize Zendesk with their online forms.  The days of multiple replies and conflicting responses are over. Aside from this practical cloud tool, Zendesk also does a pretty good job with communicating with their own customers (we should hope so!). There is support including real Zendesk employees on phone lines, prominent case studies and white papers, and even weekly informational webinars on customer service.






There you have it. I hope at least one of these tools is exactly what you have been looking for! Do you have any other favorite online tools or time-savers that I didn't mention? Please comment; I would love to hear your experiences with these kind of tools. Have you found that free services lack full integration or are you equally impressed with free services as you are paid subscriptions?

Carla Rosemarino
Internet Marketing Analyst
@BlueArcherPGH

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