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9 Useful Tools For Businesses That You May Not Have Heard Of

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Useful Tools For Businesses

There are countless digital tools that can help businesses achieve more than ever before. It can often be hard to know which options are the best for your business, so it is important to do your research and find out what’s out there. Some tools are universally helpful for companies of any type, while others are more niche in nature. 

Following business and industry-specific publications can be a great way to keep your ear to the ground for new tools to implement. You could also attend conferences, trade shows and conventions to learn more about the latest innovations in your field. 

Job Application Trackers

Managing the recruitment process can be challenging for small business owners who haven’t got their own HR or hiring manager. Finding ways to streamline the process so that it doesn’t cut too heavily into your regular duties as a business leader is critical. Fortunately, there are job application trackers that can make simple work of the recruitment process, allowing you to publish job roles, track applications and communicate with applicants all through one centralized system. 

Social Media Listening Tools

Social media listening allows you to understand how successful your brand recognition, social media campaigns or business reach has been by tracking information on social media. It can be invaluable for gauging your success and helping you identify market trends that could be beneficial for your business. A social media listening tool takes a lot of the guesswork and analysis of data off your hands, providing you with solid, workable information. 

Course Creation Software

Educating your team is a crucial duty for any business leader, and there are many training topics you might need to cover. While much training can be done via third parties, particularly for qualifications and industry best practices, there are times you’ll need to create your own bespoke courses for your employees. Having course creation software can be a massive help in building courses that offer real value to your employees. 

Task Management Software

Task management software allows you to collate, order and prioritize different tasks throughout the day. As a successful business owner, you’ll likely already know about task management, but you’ll also know that your management style can always be improved. Task management software can help you stay organized and visualize your work for the day ahead. It can also be invaluable for junior members of staff.

Fuzz Testing

Fuzz testing tools can help you identify errors or issues in your coding. This could be for your business website or a mobile app. Errors in code can cause a range of issues, from downtime to customer dissatisfaction. Testing code used to be a lengthy process, but thanks to AI developments, it can be effectively automated in a process called fuzz testing. Always choose a business like ForAllSecure with expensive experience in fuzz testing, so you can ensure you get the best. 

Portable Scanning

Being able to scan documents on the go can be a real lifesaver in many business settings. Traditional scanners are bulky and limited to office use, and there is a risk in carrying around essential documents until you can get them to a scanner. The solution to this problem comes with portable scanning apps, which let you use your smartphone to scan important documents on the go. These scans are as clear and readable as any scanner could produce. 

Spelling And Grammar Software

We all have different skills, and spelling and grammar is not everyone’s strong point. Getting these essential skills right is vital in business, as you want to present yourself as well as you can. There is software you can use when drafting important correspondence that will flag up mistakes in spelling and grammar, ensuring you always put your best foot forward. 

Chatbots

Customer care is so vital for businesses, but it can be challenging to devote all the time you need to customers when you don’t have a large team. Using chatbots can be a great way to help customers get the answers they need without taking up too much of your customer service team’s time on simple queries. 

You can program a chatbot to respond with certain answers based on the questions they receive from customers. This can be particularly helpful for common queries like when items will be delivered, returns policies and delivery prices. 

Digital Signing Tools

Much of business is done online nowadays, so if you need a signature for an important document, you may not be close enough to get a physical copy. There are plenty of fantastic digital signature options to help you overcome this hurdle, allowing all relevant parties to sign a copy digitally that is then copied and sent to all. This can be helpful when hiring remote workers, signing deals overseas or taking on new suppliers.

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Online Tools and Softwares

8 Freemium Team Management Tools and Software to Try

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8 Freemium Team Management Tools and Software to Try

Managing a team is no easy feat. The fact that managers are paid more than their staff speaks of the weight of their responsibility. Even in a small business where the owner typically assumes the role of the manager, the process is just as challenging. After all, you are dealing with people with different temperaments and habits, no matter how few. That is why you need all the help you can get.

Thankfully, there are team management tools and software at your disposal. And they are free to use, too. Here are the top choices for you to explore.

1. Infinity

This team management tool boasts flexibility. So, if that’s one of your top considerations, consider Infinity. Here, flexibility manifests in the tool’s customizability. It can adapt to what your team needs for a given project. Furthermore, it supports app integration via Zapier. That way, you can have all your favorite apps within the same workspace.

Infinity makes collaboration easy via folders, boards, and items, as well. All of these, you can scale up or down to your liking. There are also 20 attributes you can use to further organize your to-dos. Workload navigation becomes stress-free thanks to Infinity.

2. Airtable

This cloud collaboration tool allows you to set a roadmap for the rest of your team. It’s perfect for planning and organizing projects. Within the Airtable workspace, you can sort and filter tasks according to their importance and your preference. That makes workload navigation easy, regardless of the number of to-dos you have on your plate.

Another upside of Airtable is its built-in applications. These include a webpage designer, a scheduler, and an email marketing tool. Moreover, task automation is also possible. Schedule meetings, send requests, approve projects, and process invoices via the software’s automation function.

3. Asana

Asana is a no-nonsense team management tool. With it, you can create and assign tasks and monitor deadlines. In between, you can share images and links necessary for the completion of a project.

Depending on the complexity of a project, you have the option to adjust the interface. Use the list view for simple to-dos. For complicated projects that entail the participation of multiple team members, you can employ the Gantt charts or Kanban boards. As for tracking tasks, you have list, board, or calendar views.

Asana also allows app integration. That means you can use other software essentials within the Asana workspace.

4.ClickUp

This management tool suits teams of all sizes. Whether yours is a large organization or a small startup, you can benefit from ClickUp’s powerful features. These include project planning, task scheduling, task management, and resource allocation, among others.

With ClickUp, collaboration is made easy. You can write and assign comments on posted tasks for asynchronous communication.  If those prove insufficient, there’s real-time chat.

On the ClickUp workspace, you can filter, sort, and reorder tasks. Those who have multiple simultaneous projects will benefit from the tool’s easy search feature. Reporting features make post-project analysis more convenient.

5. Slack

This is perhaps one of the most popular team collaboration apps out there—and that’s for obvious reasons. Slack is reliable. It doesn’t hurt that it’s user-friendly, too.

Slack is a chat software that zeroes in on team communication. It has pre-set and random channels you can use to create groups, much like group chats. The app is also customizable should you need it to better suit your organization’s culture.

Slack offers both free service and paid plans. The former is enough for simpler team dynamics. Use it to collaborate with your group via direct messaging and push notifications, among other functions.

6. Basecamp

Basecamp’s key features include brainstorming, collaboration, document management, and calendar management. Those are basically everything you need to efficiently manage a team. On top of those, the tool also boasts helpful features such as customizable templates and live chats.

On Basecamp, you can pitch ideas via the message board. Meanwhile, other team members can comment. Once an idea gets the green light, everyone on the message board gets an update on its progress.

Another striking feature is the schedule manager, which allows automation of events subscriptions and meeting setup.

7. Avaza

It’s easy to confuse Avaza for the more popular Asana. But while it’s less renowned, it definitely has its own merits.

On Avaza, you can create tasks, assign projects, set deadlines, and establish priorities. These core functions are enough to ensure that all your team members are on the same page. If not, they get notifications.

As for viewing tasks, you can choose from simple lists to Gantt charts. These options make way for versatility, catering to a project’s complexity.

Avaza supports invoicing and integrates with Xero and QuickBooks. You can use the tool for free if you have no more than five people on your team.

8. Wrike

This is an award-winning team management tool. It features dashboards, workflows, request forms, and reports. All are customizable. On top of those, you also have resource management and reporting tools you can use to gain advanced insights into the progress of projects.

The Wrike interface is flexible. You can keep it simple with a list view. Or you can opt for Gantt charts or Kanban boards. Whichever template you choose, the home screen is easy to navigate.

Lastly, Wrike boasts 400+ prebuilt integrations, including Google, Dropbox, and Salesforce.


Wrapping Up

Whether managing a remote team an in-house staff, the challenges are more or less the same. From missed deadlines to misunderstood instructions, these roadblocks can slow down your business and make team management more challenging for you.

So, avoid them as much as you can. Be on top of every project by keeping sure that all team members are on the same page.

To help you out, use a team management tool or software that best suits your work style. Take into account your team’s preferred work style, as well. That way, you’re championing a truly collaborative workspace, which is something your team members will surely appreciate.

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Online Tools and Softwares

26 Best Work From Home Tools and Tools for Online Collaboration

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26 Best Work From Home Tools and Tools for Online Collaboration

As I am writing this post, the world is grappling with the demon called coronavirus. The crisis has given us the lesson of our lives;  how fragile our systems are. Millions of people have lost their jobs and chances are, the road to economic recovery will be a long and treacherous one.

The only segment of our society that has remained somewhat immune to the effects of this global crisis is the one that deals with the online ecosystem. Yes, several software companies have felt the heat of the crisis but the silver lining seems to be the fact that far fewer jobs have been lost where there is a possibility for people to work from home and where they have access to tools for online collaboration.

Below, you can find an exhaustive list of

File-Sharing Tools

Design Tools

Documentation Tools

Communication Tools

Software Tools

Video Conferencing Tools

26 Best Work From Home Tools and Online Collaboration

File Sharing Tools

Google Drive

26 Best Work From Home Tools and Tools for Online Collaboration

This is perhaps the most popular tool on the internet for sharing files. Anyone who signs up on Google Drive gets 15 GB of free storage for various documents and any other digital file. Files are easy to arrange in files and folders and provide easy sharing options. You can also collaborate on any file and edit them as and when you need them.

Dropbox

dropbox

Irrespective of the device that you are using, Dropbox allows individuals to sync any document. Dropbox is free to use, however, its business version allows more space (1 terabyte) and more features, including  priority email support and more sharing limits.

Individuals can edit documents in real time and everyone will be able to see the real time version of the document.

Box

box

Box.com is meant for enterprises that need file sharing service.  Once you subscribe to the services of Box, businesses will get a file sharing service, collaboration services, a content management system and a centralized dashboard to manage your business .

Hightail

hightail

As a file-sharing platform, Hightail allows for creative collaboration among teams. For projects, you can specify the level of security you want and the kind of access everyone has. You can track changes and speed at which the project is moving forward  and you can also change the pace at which your team completes projects.

MediaFire

mediafire

While many of the other file sharing sites on the list have evolved to more complicated platforms, MediaFire markets itself as a simple file sharing and storage platform.  Media Fire focuses solely on bringing its users the best file sharing service possible.

This is perfect for the users who don’t want to pay for extra features.

OneDrive

onedrive

OneDrive, gives you 5 GB free usage and one can get another 50 GB for just $1.99 per month.

Though earlier versions of Windows do not have OneDrive installed by default, OneDrive is pre-installed on Windows 10. However, one can access OneDrive from previous versions of Windows too and can access and share files and photos on PC, Mac and operating systems like Android and iOS.

This tool allows you to collaborate on Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote from your device and the web.

Design Tools

Invision

invision

Having some of the big names in the industry as its clients, Invision enables its users to create intuitive designs. It also allow its users to gather feedback from colleagues and customers from within the app. You can also explore your team’s idea on a digital whiteboard.

Their aim is to help their clients deliver the best possible digital product. Brands like Airbnb, Amazon, HBO, Netflix, Slack, Starbucks and Uber use this platform to make their products.

Mural

mural

Mural makes digital collaboration very simple. Their tools help creating diagrams useful in agile methodologies really simple.It is just like a digital white board.  Just like Invision, Mural has some of the biggest names in the industry as its clients. IBM, Github, Zapier, Intuit are some of the biggies among others.

Through their platforms, users can put what they have in their minds on sticky notes. The sticky notes can further be aligned into lists, flowcharts, diagrams etc. so that the teams can be aligned.

Documentation Tools

Google Docs

google docs

Google Docs is probably the simplest and the most used tool for online collaboration of documents. It is feature rich, easy to use and powerful. Not just that Google Docs has cool features like allowing its users to create blog posts , spreadsheets, and presentations. Most importantly it is free. You can use these tools as much as you want without paying a penny.

Office Online

microsoft office online

This is Microsoft’s free version of its original Office suite of tools. You get the core of Office: Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Onenote.  When you combine it with Outlook.com, you essentially get the Office Home and Student suite.

There are certain limitations on the features that you get for free, however.  For instance, if you wish to add a references section such as a table of contents and add citations, you will need to upgrade to the paid version.

There are also some font and formatting limitations as well.  But, if you’re looking for basic documentation and editing tools, the free version will suit your needs just fine.

Etherpad

etherpad

From its website: “Etherpad is a highly customizable Open Source online editor providing collaborative editing in really real-time.”

You can write articles, press releases, and to-do lists, with colleagues and clients all working and editing the same document in real time.  And because it is open source, Etherpad is free to download.

Zoho

zoho

Zoho Projects provides you with a set of project collaboration tools which helps the team members involved in the project to come together, plan, collaborate and get work done faster.

It helps you create project workspaces that will enable you to collaborate with teams in various geographical locations.  You can give feedback, discuss projects in forums, and share a project calendar to increase productivity among team members.

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Communication

Yammer

yammer

Yammer is a private social network that helps employees collaborate across departments, locations and business apps.

Yammer is a social network that’s entirely focused on your business. In order to join your business’s Yammer network, your team member must have a working email address from your company’s domain.

In order to segregate relevant information to specific team members, you can create groups that will help reduce the noise in the Newsfeed.

Users can share posts with specific groups simply by utilizing the drop down menus below the Update box (which is similar to Facebook’s Status Box).

Slack

slack

One of the fastest growing startups today, Slack is the powerhouse messaging app used by remote teams.  Its powerful integrations, numerous bots, and the ecosystem being built on top of the platform have quickly transformed it into one of the most flexible communication tools on the market.

At its core, Slack operates in channels.  A company can create channels to track and archive conversations around teams and projects in order to get things done. Slack’s search feature ensures that you will never “lose” a conversation about a project.

Skype

skype

One of the biggest reasons that Skype is the most popular communication tool is that it’s free.

Skype allows audio and video calls between multiple devices.  In other words, one person could be on a laptop and another can be on their phone.

And yes, if you’ve ever used Skype, you may have run into reliability issues.  But for the longest time, it was the best bang for your buck. (Now rivaled by Google Hangouts.  See below.)

Project Management Tools

Asana

asana

Asana is a cloud platform that enables all of your employees to log in no matter where they are, as long as they have a wifi connection. The dashboard consists of three panels in order to give you all of the data you need on a given project.

As a business owner, Asana will give you an overview to all projects currently going on in your organization. This is the information on the left hand side of the dashboard. Once you click on a particular project, the middle of the dashboard will allow you to zoom in on the tasks associated with the project. And finally, the right hand side of the dashboard will be even more granular. There you can see who is assigned to a particular task and when it is due.

Podio

podio

Podio is a powerful tool that helps entrepreneurs and managers operate their businesses effectively.

As a remote team of over 50 employees operating in over a dozen countries in all conceivable time zones, tools like Podio make it possible for for us to get everyone moving in the same direction.

All managers need to know what tasks employees are working on, how employees are spending their work day, and can be assured that employees are able to easily collaborate amongst themselves, no matter where they are located.

Trello

trello

Trello is a web-based tool that allows you to organize your projects using cards that are organized on a board. To conceptualize this, imagine writing tasks on Post It Notes and sticking them in columns on a wall. You can write on them, take them off of the wall, and move them around.

Each column represents a different part of the project. As you and your team make progress on a card, you move it across the board. This lets you see the status of everything you’re working on with just a quick glimpse at the board.

Basecamp

basecamp

Even though the guys running Basecamp didn’t invent the project management software category, they are probably one of the most loved software companies in the world.

With their simple, easy to use, powerful and very affordable software, it is perfect for small businesses. Its free offer and minimal learning curve mean you can get started without much of a hassle.

LiquidPlanner

liquidplanner

The project management tool designed to serve technology teams.  According to its website “Technology teams are continually being asked to do more work with either the same or fewer resources.”

LiquidPlanner is flexible enough to allow developers to use either Agile or Waterfall methodologies in order to accommodate the needs of all users to their platform.

Users can organize projects, collaborate seamlessly, and even track time to see how long projects take to complete.

WorkflowMax

workflowmax

WorkflowMax is the project management tool for mid-sized client service firms.  Think of WorkflowMax as a hub for various services such as accounting, billing, project management, lead management, creating quotes, and a whole host of other services required to run a client service business.

With WorkflowMax, you generate beautiful and robust reports that will allow you to make sure your projects, from start to finish, are delivered on time and under budget so that you can ensure each one of your clients is profitable for your business.

GanttPRO

GanttPRO

GanttPRO is a Web-based project planning tool based on Gantt charts.

Thanks to its intuitive UX/UI design, the software allows becoming an advanced user of it in 5-10 minutes. This Gantt chart software divides even large projects into clearly defined tasks with start and end dates along a timeline.

The tool allows users to create tasks and assign them to team members, create dependencies between tasks, track progress, and collaborate with project participants, get notifications, browse the whole history of a project, and simply be aware of all the processes in a plan.

Also, GanttPRO has a resource management feature. It provides with possibilities to work with resource workload what allows managers to track how everyone from his/her team is working: whether a resource underperforms or, vice versa, overloaded.

Software Tools

GitHub

github

At the time of this article, GitHub is the most popular software repository on the web.  According to a March 2015 Wired article, GitHub is one of the top 100 most popular websites in the world and hosted 9 million software projects.

GitHub wraps a version control system called a Git where developers can host their projects for free as well as exchange and talk “code” with other developers.

Bitbucket

bitbucket

Bitbucket is another large software repository platform and is brought to you by Atlassian, the same folks who own the JIRA and Hipchat brands.  Unlike Github, Bitbucket offers unlimited private repositories.

Where Github focuses on Opensource, Bitbucket is designed to help developers within enterprises to collaborate on projects.

Video Conferencing

12. Zoom

This longtime Skype alternative gives you the chance to easily have video calls, online demos or webinars with your virtual teams. Advanced features include selective screen sharing where some participants can see the presenter’s screen and others can’t.

If your remote teams use Microsoft Outlook, then this is a top selection: it’s easy to schedule video conferencing meetings from Outlook through the Zoom plugins.

It also has breakout rooms, meaning virtual teams can gather inside video calls without ever losing the main feed. This is very helpful to discuss remote work when running a large webinar or training session.

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