While there is so much to choose from in the online and IT world we thought it would help if we narrowed down our top selections as to what we thought offered the most value, flexibility, scale and ability to implement.
Communications and Business Tools
1. Office 365
Your company is only as good as its employees’ ability to work together to accomplish tasks. The business premium license at just over £10 a month has seen an increase in the last year however they do now offer 50mb Mailbox full access to their business applications on 5 devices and 1TB of cloud storage with Onedrive. Share and work anywhere online at anytime.
For many years, Voice over IP (VoIP) solutions were only built for large, national and international companies. But with tools such as RingCentral, you’ll be able to quickly and easily set up your VoIP tool and gain access to soft phone, device applications and whereabouts and systems features such as call routing, faxing, and voicemail. While including more advanced features such as call recording, a unified communications application, and dial-in conferencing at the lowest price levels for calls, and you’re still be able to take advantage of higher call quality and call center features not typically associated with your local telco.
3. ClickMeeting Video Conferencing
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use video conferencing tool, then ClickMeeting is among the best on the market. It offers a free 30-day trial, low-price plan options, and cool collaboration tools such as shared desktops, whiteboarding tools, and in-app private chat. No, you won’t be able to integrate the tool with every social network and you won’t get access to operator-assisted meetings, but it’s got enough to guarantee that your calls are crisp and clear.
4. MailChimp Email Marketing
MailChimp is the most popular and most capable email marketing service regardless of your price level or technological grits. It offers a rich, free plan; lots of third-party integration (much of which is available at the lowest price levels), and it’s got many email templates that help you fire off emails at a rapid clip. You can even take advantage of a decent amount of email analytics to let you know whether or not your messages are falling flat.
5. Elastic Mail
If you require a bit more flexibility than MailChimp allows, then check out Elastic Mail. More of a hybrid of Mailgun and Mailchip with no limit to its marketing database and allows you to send up to 150k mail for free each month. It would be silly not to try it out.
6. Shopify E-Commerce
Yes, Shopify£19.99 at Shopify is the king of all e-commerce platforms. But “best” doesn’t always translate to “best for everyone.” In Shopify’s case, you should be considering this online shopping cart for your web-based storefront regardless of your company’s size. That’s because it requires very little technological expertise to set up, you can try it for free for 30 days, and it provides an abundance of free templates and tools that will make your online business easier to oversee.
7. Sprout Social
Sprout Social is one of the best social media analytics tools available regardless of your company’s size. However, for SMBs, you’ll love that Sprout Social offers a free 30-day trial, multiple price tiers, and a clean design that makes sorting and discovering data easy.
If you’re more interested in managing your social campaigns than you are in measuring them, then try Hootsuite. This tool scales as you grow by letting you pay for extras (rather than bundling everything into one price package). Hootsuite offers the most comprehensive package of listening, publishing, and third-party integration options for businesses of all sizes.
9. Zoho CRM (and surveys, campaigns add-on’s also supported for great additions)
If you need to gauge how well your sales and product is doing with your clients or if you just want to know what people think of your new ad campaign, then you should look at Zoho CRM and Surveys. Also Zoho Survey is optimal for SMBs. It has one of the simplest user interfaces (UIs) to manage, offers superb reporting, and is available for about $19 per month. You can also use the free option, which does have some limits however.
Even if you’ve never used Slack, you’ve probably heard all about it. This chat-based communications tool is designed for teams of all sizes to communicate with one another throughout the workday. Slack lets users create chat rooms, private chats with small groups, and one-on-one private chats. You can use the tool to share files, have a laugh with animated GIFs, or connect to other tools via plug-and-play integrations, including Twitter and Zapier. We love it here, and my personal favourite tool in house.