Tips to make technology work for you!
Running a small business and making a living is a challenge for most people in the tourism industry when they have such a wide range of responsibilities in their small businesses. Often the focus to balance the books is on increasing revenue. Whilst obviously this is the main goal, in this blog we look at the free and “nearly free tools” you can use to make your business more efficient including tools for better customer services, customer relationship management (CRM), better online content and accounting software.
We’ve listed them in logical groups to make it easier for you.If you know of any others please feel free to add them in the comments below.
Improved customer service
The tools will improve one the things that matter to consumers, communication. How you sell your business can be enhanced by using these tools.
Zopim (now Zendesk Chat)
Zopim gives you free live chat on your website. You can introduce a new method of assisting potential customers, don’t worry, it’s very flexible, you can switch to your mobile or switch to “leave a message”. You can even have sound alerts so you don’t need to be monitoring the PC whilst the chat is on!
Mailchimp is an easy to use online email marketing solution to manage contacts, send emails and track results. A great way to communicate with your past guests and encourage repeat visitation. It has the ability to make your emails look professional with limited skills.
Increasing your online content
The more quality and time content on your online presence the better, this tools shortcut the creation of content.
We all know that having engaging content on your website is one of the keys to effective SEO, but what about video? Why not convert video content into the written word and publish on your website? Speakertext has limited free access but also has a very cheap and quick turnaround paid service. So next time you see a video opportunity turn it into readable and searchable text on your website.
Ever received a presentation you’d like to quickly convert into text (with permission of course) Online OCR is a tool saves you time by converting images, PDFs etc. to text. You can use this tool to replicate content on your website, just make sure you credit the owner.
Blogs have become increasingly popular as a means for companies to communicate with their customers and Wordpress is great for blogging. Blogs are typically news posts that tend to be more informal than the typical corporate blurb you find on most websites. They are valuable and increase your likelihood of being found online.
Creating efficiencies and safe storage
Working smartly and saving time by sharing resource is a great way to improve efficiencies.
Google Docs is a free Web-based application in which documents and spreadsheets can be created, edited and stored online. Files can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection and a full-featured Web browser. Google Docs is a part of a comprehensive package of online applications offered by and associated with Google.
Evernote brings your work together in one place. Evernote is the place to collect, write meaningful words and store in one area.
Dropbox is a service that keeps your files safe, synced, and easy to share. Bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and never lose a file again.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Effective communication can increase the chances of repeat business and referrals.
Batchbook is a small business CRM solution. You can build meaningful relationships with customers with our easy to use tool. It has a 30 day free trail and then a monthly service fee. You can use it to manage your contact details, your To-Do List, advanced searching, list building and reporting.
Streak connects securely to Google Apps. Use work, personal, and Gmail accounts.
If graphic design is not your forte, use these tools to improve your online image.
Fotojet is a robust online tool for graphic design, photo editing and photo collage that allows you to edit photos and create collages and designs easily in a few seconds like a pro even you have no technical skills
Canva is an online graphic design platform and offers free access to lots of design tools and options.
Free graphic design tool, editing your photos is easy with PicMonkey! Add filters, frames, text, and effects with this free online photo editing tool!
A quick way to resize images for windows. If you want to send images by email and reduce the file size, this video shows you how. Remember to check the purpose of the image before using this method, as the resolution may be too low for print etc.
Royalty free images,video, text and music
Creative Commons is a free image bank that businesses can use for commercial purposes. It is a non-profit organisation where you can find images, video, text and music.
Hootsuite manages multiple social media accounts in one place; it has a 30 day free trial. If you are using more than one platform and wanting to automate the process take a look a Hootsuite.
Skype is a free video chat facility and is a great way to communicate; it could save you time travelling to meetings. Some of you potiential customers may use Skype, you could use this tool as a way to get to know your customer and up sell.
1Password and/or LastPass
1Password and/ or LastPass allows you to store all your passwords in one secure place, all you have to do is remember the password to 1 password and all your logins and passwords are securely stored. It also generates unique passwords.
Wave is a free and easy accounting software that manages invoices, credit card payments, accounting & payroll
Zoho is everything you need to boost sales, step up productivity and manage all day-to-day activities.
Tightly integrated. Ready for mobile.
Trello is a collaboration tool that organises your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who are working on what, and where something is in a process.