10 Free Productivity-Boosting Digital Tools for Small Businesses
Efficiency is directly related to productivity, so improving one variable will have a positive effect on the other. Then add to the mix the inherent portability of digital apps and platforms, and you’ve just helped maximize your business productivity. Here is a list of ten free and most useful digital tools that can help business owners save both time and money.
Hands-down, Zoho has the best free offering of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software for small businesses. If you employ less than 10 people, most especially if your business operation occurs in a collaborative telecommuting environment, then you might want to consider using Zoho CRM. You can always upgrade to a paid version once your company grows to include more employees. Among the high-performing features of Zoho CRM are workflow automation, reporting and analytics tools, contact management, and effective lead gathering that can be further harnessed into sales. In contact management, for example, Zoho CRM is integrated with Facebook and Twitter, which enables everyone in your company to see the social media updates of your clients right from your company’s virtual dashboard. Other seamless third-party integrations include the suite of Google Apps. Android and iOS app versions of Zoho CRM are also available for your smartphone and tablet.
Composing and replying to important text messages should not be disruptive. You might want to deal with SMS text messaging obligations right on your desktop. MightyText is the one indispensable tool for this. If you are using Google Chrome as your browser, simply install the free MightyText browser extension, which you can safely pick up from the Chrome Web Store. Log in to your Gmail account to divert the SMS text messages from your Android smartphone and then respond to them on your computer.
Using a free mobile app that enables you to manage your inventory in real time, you can streamline this vital aspect of your retail business. Instant Inventory, an Android app you might want to install on your smartphone and tablet, can be downloaded safely and for free from the Google Play Store. With the Instant Inventory app at your disposal, you have a real-time tracker that lets you input sales and purchase orders, scan barcodes, as well as take snapshots of products and then input the respective product quantity, unit price, and location along with the snapshot. An auto-fill function conveniently extracts supplier-related fields from your phone contacts list, while an in-app capability lets you email or send an SMS to suppliers each time you want to refill your inventory. Integrations with Dropbox and Box cloud accounts make it quick and easy for you to store and backup important data, which can be imported and exported either as MS Excel files or as .csv files. Most importantly, the Instant Inventory app comes with reporting tools, which enables you to extract, assess, and extrapolate anytime.
This free software, which comes with both web-based and mobile app versions, can be your go-to digital tool for all your graphic design needs. With Canva’s intuitive drag-and-drop functionality, you can easily create logos, business cards, and presentations that look as if they were done up by professionals. You can also leverage Canva’s rich features to create powerful infographics, which are the bread and butter of many viral online marketing campaigns from blogs to social networking sites.
CrankWheel Screen Sharing
This must-have browser extension for Google Chrome users is freely downloadable from the Chrome Web Store. Business users will find this ingenious tool quite handy in instances when there is a need to perform a live walk-though to help a customer or train another colleague. The person at the receiving end of the screen-sharing arrangement does not need to install anything. The shared screen is also instantly viewable by way of a web-enabled mobile device.
Like CrankWheel Screen Sharing, WeTransfer is another free and innovative tool that enables you to rapidly deliver excellent customer service or just to ease up things a bit on the day-to-day business operation side. WeTransfer lets you share large files with file sizes that reach 2GB. Android and iOS app versions are available, so you can use WeTransfer on your handheld devices.
With Expensify on your Android or iOS device, you can be on the go even as you keep your real-time business expenses in order. You don’t even have to manually enter data because Expensify is outfitted with a SmartScan OCR feature that enables you to take a photo of a receipt and leave the app to make sense of the digitized information, including matching it with your credit card. This means you can quickly generate updated expense reports anytime. You can also use Expensify as a time or mileage tracker.
Invoice 2go simplifies all your real-time invoicing needs. Invoices and estimates from customers and employees are readily synced across your Android and iOS devices as well as your desktop. Invoice 2go offers eight professional templates to choose from as well as customizable interfaces for your business logo, branding colors, and images featuring your company’s various distinctions and certifications.
Transform your mobile device into a scanner and then sync the resulting scanned file either as a JPEG or a PDF to your desktop computer, smartphone, and tablet. CamScanner lets you scan anything, from hastily scrawled whiteboard notes to business cards.
A great organizing tool, Pocket enables you to stop wasting time looking for web content you have yet to read for ongoing research, for example. Pocket is your one-stop library of bookmarked website links. You can even add a description to the link, which can serve as a note to yourself about why you have saved the link to Pocket. If you use Google Chrome as your Web browser, just add the free Pocket extension from the Chrome Web Store. Or, you can download and install its Android or iOS versions.
Other free productivity-boosting digital tools for businesses include HootSuite for managing all your various social networking accounts and Polaris Office for editing files across multiple platforms (like iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows) and cloud accounts (such as Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and many others). Don’t forget to consider RescueTime, too. An excellent time tracker, RescueTime keeps you away from distractions and helps ensure that you meet your daily productivity goal.