Business Tools

Modern business and startups need a flexible working scheme and appropriate business tools to make it happen. Application and tools are basic components of the new working ecosystem along to various software agents and bots can automate many common business procedures!

Automation, coupled to outsourcing, a proper triage of your activities and correct prioritisation (depended to your goals and values) are the main ingredients to develop a successful business practice everywhere in the world!

What Data Indicate

In 2014, 23% of the American labor force worked from home indicating a shift in labor habits and beliefs to impact a lot the future of todays business. Already today, there is a rising wave of the demand for nomad work, indicating a new working environment, not locally situated, but spanned all over the globe!

Sites as the remote|OK, the Working Nomads, the Upwork (former oDesk) and the Fiverr provide many working opportunities for people all over the world, want to work from their house or start a business or a new life by themselves!

In any case entrepreneurship has started to gaining a huge momentum, while new financial tools, investors and angels and approaches (like crowdfunding and some platforms promote this approach as the Kickstarter and IndieGoGo) provide today the necessary resources for the development of new ventures.

The business today is not what used to be, and startups are developing new working trends and dynamics, leaving behind the large corporations and the companies of the previous century. The new business environment has different demands and different requirement by the employees and the major (or minor) players.

What Business Tools You Will Need

Today, is not a big deal to work from everywhere you like. Modern technology, new business operations and flexible working scheme have allied to provide an international working environment to fit many working personalities and styles.

The common denominator to this environment is the tools can bridge the distance and time gaps and provide a (near) unified working experience. These business tools help the interaction of people from different places and in different time zones.

Such business tools can assist people in working towards common goals and objectives and includes a variety of technologies aiming at permitting the seamless collaboration of people from different time and space zones.

These business tools range from conference calls and conventional phone calls to synchronous & asynchronous sessions. to audio and video conference, to IRC and instant messaging collaboration, to whiteboards and smart boards, to wikis, to collaborate spaces, documents, and applications, to virtual meetings and Chat Rooms, etc. The existing technologies are limitless and the business tools offered (in affordable prices or free) are the same!

The usage of such business tools is encouraged today for acquiring access to resources and knowledge either very expensive in the past or out-of business reach (in the normal day-to-day business)

If you want to embrace (and employ) a new working scheme you would find many tools can help you reach your objectives!

Top Business Tools To Choose From

Today there are many tools you can choose to use, according to your work and the limitation the employer you have may impose on you on the business tools you need to use! Most of them are free or employ a freemium policy, in order to gain attendance and users! You can check them and select the most appropriate for your business!

Accounting & Financial Software

  • FreshBooks. Freshbooks is a cloud accounting applications with many capability as far as your money management concerns! It is customized for small business and it ideal for the development and growth of your personal business!
  • Mint. Mint is an integrated software for the management of your money! It can monitor and manage your cash flow, budget and bills from one place. Ideal for money management!

Automation

  • Automate your Dropbox. Wappwolf provides an automation solution for files in online storage platforms, as Dropbox, the Box and the Google Drive. It provides many action can help you make you life easier with your online files.
  • CloudWork. Cloudwork is another automation tool an with emphasis in syncing data between various business web applications.
  • IFTTT. IFTTT has developed as an essential (and missing at the time) component for the interconnection and automation of web applications. It permits you to develop connections and automatic workflows among various web application (like posting images, store them in specific online folders, post in social media after announcing one, and many more other!).
  • Zappier. Zappier is another, excellent, automation software you can use for automating various repetitive tasks related to web applications and data!

Collaboration Tools

  • Google Docs. Google Docs is a suite of tools which provides access to office applications and online storage.
  • Microsoft Office Online. Microsoft Office Online is a cloud-based collaboration platform, providing access, collaboration and share of various office documents.
  • SocialCast. SocialCast is a company social platform that connects people of a company to the resources needed for their collaboration.
  • Yammer. Yammer is a collaborative tool can be used to bridge together a remote group of people working on the same (or different!) projects! Among other things it provides private & secure network, collaboration & group tools (chat, private or public groups, etc.), knowledge sharing and dissemination, document collaboration, organized inbox and many more collaboration features.

Content Creation Tools

  • Animoto. Animoto is a photo slideshow and video maker.
  • Canva. Canva is an online graphics and illustration application can cover all your needs in quality images and graphics.
  • Camtasia. Camtasia provides you all the necessary tools you need to record on-screen activity, edit your content, and share in high-quality to viewers anywhere.
  • FotoJet. FotoJet is an excellent photo collage and image processing image for all your image requirements.
  • Haiku Deck. Haiku Deck is an online presentation software.
  • Infogr.am. Infogr.am is a charts & infographics developing online application.
  • Jing. Jing is a free screenshot and screencast software.
  • LICEcap. LICEcap is a simple animated screen captures software!
  • PicMonkey. Picmonkey is an excellent free online image processing software, for all your picture and image requirements!
  • Pixlr. Pixlr Editor is also a robust browser photo editor, for all your image and photo editing requirements. It provides full control over your images, including layers and effects.
  • PowToon. PowToon is a free animation video and presentation business software.
  • Prezi. Prezi is an excellent online presentation software can cover many of your requirements in relation to business presentations!
  • Skitch. Skitch is a screen image capture tools which supports annotation, shapes and sketches.
  • Slides. Slides is an online business presentation software!
  • Visual.ly. Visual.ly is a platform can help you develops infographics, videos, and interactive experiences for brands and companies to use in content marketing and ad campaigns.

CRM & Marketing

  • Act-On. Act-On is an integrated marketing & sales platform can handle dynamically all the aspects of your marketing operations. It helps you to organize and manage all your marketing activities, across your available on-line channels and automates your repetitive tasks, it integrate all the available information for your clients in a place and align them to your marketing efforts, it is an excellent email management platform for organizing and managing all your email marketing efforts etc.
  • AWeber. AWeber is an email marketing tools with many features for the grow of your business and the management for your marketing processes. It provides email automation, integration many platforms and tools to maintain your customer engagement with your products/services.
  • Drip. Drip is a lightweight management automation system with many features for e-mail automation and client conversion!
  • HubSpot CRM. Hubspot is a well known inbound marketing platform with many features for the business. HubSpot CRM is a lightweight CRM that can offer many client related services to a freelancer or a small company. It offers tools to permit you to connect with your prospects and leads, a centralized database of contacts, companies, tasks, interactions and deals, seamless interconnection with existing tools and platforms.
  • InfusionSoft. InfusionSoft is an excellent small business CRM software with many features and tools for every business operation. InfusionSoft is focused on sales and marketing trying to manage all the aspects of a small company’s marketing efforts.
  • MailChimp. MailChimp is an e-mail automation software, targeting to bind you with the segment of the market matters most to your business. Provides email automation features and monitors all the engagement of the users with your brand.
  • Ontraport. Ontraport is a business, all in one, automation software. With Ontraport you can seamlessly manage all the aspects of your publishing, marketing, selling and organizing operations in a single platform!

e-Mail Tools & Resources

  • ActiveInbox. ActiveInbox is an organization and productivity system for your GMail Inbox.
  • BatchedInbox. BatchedInbox is a wonderful, handy, application aiming at make you focus on what is important on your Gmail mailbox, by permitting you to control the delivery of your emails at the times you specify.
  • Boomerang for Gmail. Boomerang for Gmail permits you to schedule the time you want to send an email.
  • Followup.cc. Followup.cc is another service providing email tracking and reminders for Business People.
  • FollowUpThen. FollowUpThen is a free and easy email reminder.
  • Hiver. Hiver is a tasks and customer support system in you Gmail!
  • Inbox by Gmail. Inbox by Gmail is a Chrome extension help you organize your inbox!
  • Inbox Pause. Inbox Pause is an application that helps you to stop the flow of emails in your Gmail and make your messages re-appear when you have the time to manage them!
  • ProductiveInbox. ProductiveInbox is another productivity tools can help you organize your Gmail mailbox. ProductiveInbox can help you manage your tasks, archive old messages, and communicate seamlessly with the persons they matter for you and your business.
  • Rapportive. Rapportive shows you more information about your contacts inside your inbox by using the information your contacts have fill in their LinkedIn profile.
  • SaneBox. SaneBox is an excellent productivity tools for clearing up your inbox and focus on what needs to be done!
  • Sidekick. Sidekick by HubSpot is a free service for your Gmail that provides you contact insights, email tracking, and email scheduling.
  • Snooze Your Email for Gmail™. Snooze Your Email for Gmail™ is another Chrome extension can help you snooze the unimportant mails and process them on your own time!
  • Streak. Streak is a lightweight CRM system insight your Gmail mailbox.
  • Todoist. Todoist is one of best to-do list and task list app for Google Gmail.
  • unroll.me. unroll.me is an excellent application can help you clear up your inbox and unsubscribe for mails you no longer want to receive.

Learning Tools & Platforms

  • BrainScape. BrainScape is an adaptive web & mobile learning for students, teachers, and businesses.
  • Courmos. Courmos is an open education platform can help you distribute your knowledge and acquire new skills and competencies.
  • CourseSites. CourseSites by Blackboard is a free learning management systems you can use it to teach and distribute online courses!
  • Educents. Educents is a marketplace for educational products, lesson plans, homeschool curriculum, online classes etc.
  • SkillShare. SkillShare is a learning community for creators. Anyone can take an online class, watch video lessons, create projects, and even teach a class themselves.
  • Teachable. Teachable provides 10000+ course creators everything they need to build engaging and profitable online courses.
  • Teachery. Teachery is a cloud-based platform for the development and selling of online courses.
  • Udemy. Udemy is an online education marketplace with limitless variety in many subjects.

Online Storage Tools

  • Box. Box is an excellent file online file storage solution with many features!
  • Dropbox DropBox is a versatile tool for storing & sharing online documents.
  • Google Drive. Google Drive is an online storage solution fully integrated with the other Google solutions (like the Google Docs).

Organization & Productivity Tools

  • Any.do. Any.do is an excellent task management application for the new age!
  • Centrallo. Centrallo is a list-based productivity tool, that helps the people to organize, to centralize and to prioritize their life.
  • Evernote. Evernote is one centralize place for having all your notes, pictures, reading material, etc. whenever you want them and with the devices you use. It provides many features and facilities for collecting, discussing and present information along with many more features for the organization of information.
  • Gtdagenda. Gtdagenda is an online project and task management application, based on David Allen’s Getting Things Done time management method.
  • Google Keep. Google Keep is the the note-taking application of Google. It has a searchable repository logic and supports plain text and HTML notes, photo notes and lists.
  • Pocket. Pocket is an excellent application for helping you not to loose important thing and read them at your own time! IT also helps you to find and share important news and stories around the web!
  • Simpleology. Simpleology is an application that would help you do better the things you want to do and achieve! It aims at making you life more simple and easier. It is web-based and user oriented, providing a clean and simple interface to boost your productivity!
  • Todoist. Todoist is a to-do list and task management software for the productive management of activities and projects.
  • WorkFlowy. WorkFlowy is a simple online application for taking notes. It allows you to take notes, to build you to-dos list, to write and develop ideas, etc. You can use it as a simple electronic tool for taking notes or as a more sophisticated productivity tools, for collecting, tracking, monitoring, processing, etc your tasks.
  • Wunderlist. Wunderlist is an activity management software can help you be more productive in your personal and business life!
  • XMind. XMind is an excellent tool for mind mapping. XMind can be used effectively for mind mapping, planning, brainstorming, project management, flow-charting, blogging, social media, marketing, preparation of meetings or presentations, draw of organization charts, monthly or weekly plan, task and activities management, etc.

Payment Processors

  • Gamroad. Gumroad is a platform that enables creators to sell products directly to consumers. It is an excellent tool for developing your infoproducts across the web!
  • PayPal. PayPal is a cloud worldwide online payments system can help you pay and be payed for various services and products.
  • Stripe. Stripe is a cloud payment process system able to manage transaction either at personal or business level!

Project Management Tools

  • Asana. Asana is a task management system for Teams. It is a collaboration platform for cooperation between teams in projects and tasks.
  • Basecamp. Basecamp is a project management and collaboration tools for companies and teams.
  • Trello. Trello is a collaboration platform providing cooperation on projects.
  • Workboard. Workboard is a collaboration application designed for team work and provides many unique features, can support individual and group work! At the same time is a goal achievement enabling application, helping on the effective alignation and coordination of shared goals, activities, feedback and reports.
  • Wrike. Wrike is a cloud-based project management software that gives you full visibility and control over your tasks and activities.

Social Media Tools

  • Buffer. Buffer makes it super easy to share any page you’re reading to your social media. Excellent tool with man capabilities.
  • Cloze. Cloze is an application for prioritizing your interactions, to track people and messages of interest and discover unseen relationships.
  • Commun.it. Commun.it is an way to drive traffic, grow followers/likes and save time on social media.
  • Cyfe. Cyfe is an all-in-one dashboard for monitoring social media, analytics, marketing, sales, support, infrastructure, etc.
  • HootSuite. HootSuite is an integrated social media management platform with many features for handling your social networks. It provides an integrated dashboard, from which you can handle more than 90% of your everyday communication and interaction with your social networks

Time Management Tools

  • Calendly. Calendly is a handy application for scheduling meetings, events and appointments without problems.
  • GrooveOtter. GrooveOtter is a versatile timer and time tracking software can help you focus on what is important for you and your business.
  • RescueTime. RescueTime is a personal time analytics service that shows you how you spend your time and provides tools to help you be more productive.
  • Sunrise Calendar. Sunrise Calendar is a free calendar app made for Google Calendar, iCloud and Exchange. You can use it to manage your time more efficiently!
  • Time Doctor. Time Doctor is  an excellent time management software to keep you productive and to track each activity you are working on during the day. Very good for individual or team usage!
  • Toggl. Toggl is a free time tracking software and application can help you to monitor your time and check the time “leaks” and fix them!

Virtual Conference, Webinars & Communication Tools

  • Blackboard Collaborate. Blackboard Collaborate is an online collaboration platform providing web conferencing, virtual meeting, mobile collaboration, Instant messaging and voice authoring capabilities.
  • Cisco WebEx Web Meetings. Cisco WebEx Web Meetings provides web conferencing capabilities along with file and presentation sharing with voice, HD video and Meeting Spaces
  • meetup. meetup is an excellent software for the management of all your virtual meetups across the world!
  • Join.me. Join.me is a virtual meeting and screen-sharing software you can use for immediate collaboration with people all over the world
  • Google Hangouts. Google Hangouts is an integrated communication platform by Goolge, with many instant messaging, video chat, SMS and VOIP features!
  • Saba meeting. Saba meeting provides Web conference capabilities, collaboration and virtual meetings.
  • Skype. Skype provides video, audio calls capabilities, instant messaging and file sharing
  • Slack. Slack is a communication and messaging platform for teams with a lot features like channels, document sharing, etc.
  • HipChat. HipChat is a communication systems for groups providing private and team chat facilities, file sharing and integration with many popular applications.
  • EasyWebminar. EasyWebminar is a synchronous online events platform can help you develop live events and webinars for various business purposes.
  • Webminar Ninja. Webminar Ninja is a cloud based platform for the development, monitoring, and delivery of webinars.

What do you think? Do you have any other tools can help people make his/her job more easily? Please send me a note!

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About Takis Athanassiou

Takis Athanassiou is an IT Consultant, Blogger, Trainer & Writer, active in the areas of leadership, business consulting, e-Learning and social media. He aims at the development of people, business and assets! He frequent writes at his personal blog and at Leadership Initiative @Businnes! You can add him in Google+ and follow him on Twitter.

10 Responses to “Top Business Tools for Entrepreneurs, Freelancers and Small Business!”

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  2. Audra Harisson

    Great read thanks for sharing! These tools are a great help especially for freelancers and online businesses. Time tracking tools are also important as it helps you and your employees keep track of your time and productivity. By using web-based time tracking tool from sites like https://www.clockspot.com/ you can micro manage your projects and be more effective with completing your tasks.

    Reply

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