Your business is growing: stay calm and grounded
Free digital tools to keep you from losing your head
Congratulations, your business is growing! Whilst it is an exciting feeling to know that your project is becoming successful, you may also start to get that sinking feeling that you have too much going on. Managing your activity on social networks, writing up your content, focusing on staying organized or taking care of your customers all at once is not an easy feat - especially when you are alone. With a business that is developing, you will need to find different ways to stay concentrated and focused on your next steps to avoid missing important opportunities. So how can you stay calm and grounded? Take a look at a few of these great online (and free) tools to optimize your success with ease.
Manage your social media activity
It comes as no surprise that social media has become an essential communication channel for companies to stay in touch with their clients and to develop their “personal branding”. Most of you may have started growing your activity on social media, or are already present there, but as your business grows, you will need to intensify your presence and your reactivity on social media. With all the different social networks out there, you may find it overwhelming if you have several accounts to go back and forth to share your content. You will need to learn to be efficient when it comes to social media, understand what articles to share and how to communicate differently depending on the network. The more followers you have on social media, the more you will need to share relevant, regular and high-quality content. In order to better manage your social media, here are a few free tools that are great to have under the belt:
- Hootsuite: This is a great tool that allows you to manage your different social accounts on one dashboard. Your newsfeed, messages, and posts are grouped in one area so that you are able to program your posts a few weeks ahead. It is ideal for organizing your social media presence.
- Buffer: Buffer is a user-friendly content management platform where you can plug in your different social accounts (including Instagram and Pinterest) to share your content at the time and date of your choice!
- Canva: Awesome tool for those that need a helping hand when it comes to graphic design. You can make beautiful visuals for your social media posts in different formats (banners, ads, infographics...) but also for print (posters, flyers…). It is a very easy-to-use tool without needing any technical expertise.
Build your online presence
Being present on social media is already an excellent thing, but it is important to keep in mind to not neglect one’s online presence apart from social media. Did you know that there are more than 3.5 billion searches taking place on Google each day? Other studies show that 89% of customers search the web for information before making a buying decision. It is thus essential to have an active website to showcase your activity and to show that you are still in business and successful. Here are a few tools to manage a great online presence:
- Heek: It is important to start from the very beginning, don’t you think? This website building tool allows you to build your website in a few minutes, without any web expertise needed. How? Just chat with their little robot who accompanies you from A to Z to make a beautiful and efficient website according to your profile with a large range of professionally created designs.
- Hotjar: Once you’ve got your website sorted, this tool allows you to see the “hot spots” where your internet visitors are clicking and browsing. The tool registers the activity on your website: clicks, scrolls, mouse movements and so forth. Very useful to know where things are blocking and if you need to improve certain areas of your pages to increase its performance.
- Google Analytics: Great tool to analyze your website’s performance, traffic and evolution. You will be able to see where your visitors come from, how your articles are doing, what they are searching for and also follow your SEO ranking.
Engage and retain your customers
With a growing business, taking care of your customers is an important strategic element to focus on. We live in a more competitive society where consumers are more demanding and have many different choices for them to choose from. It is therefore essential to build a trusting relation with your clients and potential ones in the long run. As your activity becomes more successful, you will need to be more reactive, comprehensive and innovative to ensure that you capture their attention. To help you gain customer loyalty, here are a few tools that are good to have:
- MailChimp: MailChimp is great for all things mailing. You can make beautiful emails, campaigns or newsletters which you can track and see how you are doing. Ideal to know what mails work and what don’t as well as keeping in touch with your customers.
- Meetup: If your product or service can be shown, why don’t you create events once in awhile to meet your clients? Meetup allows you to gather up people that are interested in what you offer and can also help you reach out to more people, introduce yourself and create long-term relationships.
- Paypal: Great tool if your product or service can be bought from around the world and if you have an international client base. It is a safe tool that is easy to use. It’s also the number one payment method used on eBay!
- Intercom: Although this tool is more fit for medium-sized companies, it is still interesting to have a look. Intercom helps you manage all of your customer interactions, whether that’s emails, chat, help desk and so forth, on one unique platform.
Grow your team
There will come a time where you won’t be able to manage everything on your own. As your business grows and you have more budget, it would be worthwhile to think about outsourcing some of your tasks to get a helping hand. For example, you can contact freelancers that can help you with your content, social media management, customer service or administrative tasks. Here are a few places to check out:
- Fiverr: This platform helps you find independents from all over the world and from different backgrounds that can help you do small tasks.
- UpWork: Similar to Fiverr, this platform connects you with independent workers around the world, but it is more used for bigger projects and tasks such as content writing, web development, graphic design. You will find a wide range of freelancers that can help you out for one mission or more if you are happy with their work.
- Slack: Used in many startups and small businesses, this is a great free collaboration tool that helps you connect with your different collaborators, teams, and partners in real-time. Just like instant messaging, interact, share your thoughts pictures, documents, and comments to one another.
Being organized and focused will help your developing business stay optimum especially as your tasks will become more and more important. You will need to be able to respond to the needs of your audience in a timely manner. If being organized is not your strong point, here are a few tools that will help you stay on top of your game:
- Calendly: Great tool to use when you need to book meetings with your clients or partners. All you need to do is create a list of available dates and times and share it with the person that you want to have an appointment with. That way you’ll be able to keep track of your meetings in your agenda.
- Evernote: Oldie but goodie - this tool allows you to organize your notes, messages, reminders, photos, and scribbles in order to not forget anything. It’s a great virtual reminder!
- Trello: For a growing business, this tool is great for professionals who need a visual helping aid for project management. Trello allows you to assign tasks, make to-do lists and know where you are at with your different missions.
- Forest: This is a fun app that is available on iOS and Android. You plant a grain each time you need to stay concentrated on a particular mission for a certain amount of time. The grain will then transform into a tree as long as you focus on the mission. If you leave the app, the tree dies!
Did you discover a new tool that you haven’t seen before? Do you have another tool that you use that you’d like to share? Reach out to me on Facebook or Twitter with your favourite!
NOTE: The Startup Pulse monthly email was suspended on 24th May, 2018. For the latest advice for startup founders, please follow Startup Pulse on Medium instead: Follow on Medium