Two Awesome Tools for Small Businesses and Startups

It’s not easy to start a successful business.

After all, business owners must manage many different things and wear different hats in operating their business. From developing products and services to hiring to payroll, owners have a lot on their plates!

You can anticipate many of the issues by writing a strong business plan for your business. But even if you anticipate issues, you still need to find a way to run your business efficiently.

Fortunately, entrepreneurs and business owners can use some terrific mobile and web tools to run their businesses more efficiently. At crowdspring, we rely on many mobile and online tools to help us be more efficient and reduce costs.

Managing Social Media Posts – Buffer

Buffer-product

 

One of the most time-consuming tasks for an entrepreneur or small business owner is managing social media accounts.

With numerous platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and more, it’s a hassle to continuously update content and monitor customers and competitors.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of dedicating someone’s time to only social media accounts. While this may work for large companies, small businesses and startups typically don’t have the resources to do this.

One of my favorite social media tools – and one I’ve used for more than a year – is Buffer.

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I have used Buffer to manage everything from my personal social media accounts to business accounts, and it has saved me a lot of time.

Buffer allows users to schedule social media posts ahead of time across several popular platforms. With pricing tiers starting at $0/month (that’s not a misprint – they offer a free plan), Buffer provides different tools to help businesses manage their online presence.

Buffer is also highly accessible – there are a browser extension, website, and iOS/Android apps. Significantly, Buffer can help you find images to use in your posts and can also suggest helpful content that you can share. By using Buffer (or a similar tool), small business owners and entrepreneurs only have to devote a fraction of their time to gathering content and scheduling their posts. This frees up additional time for other employees to focus on other tasks.

Buffer also offers one other significant benefit that you won’t get if you manually manage your social media accounts. Buffer provides daily and weekly reports on reach, clicks, time optimization, and other metrics. This helps you to identify the types of content you should be publishing and/or sharing, as well as the best times to publish and share.

By leveraging Buffer, you can tailor your company’s social media marketing to your target audience.

Managing Customer Service – Zendesk

Zendesk-product

Successful entrepreneurs and business owners know that customer service is essential to their business.

But customer service is often time-consuming and tedious, especially if you try to use your email account to handle customer service.

Customer service tickets, phone calls, and FAQs can take up large amounts of time and effort, often causing companies to hire more customer service people and spend more time on customer service than they can afford. And when customer service teams receive emails and phone calls at all hours of the day, it can be tough to keep up with all of the questions if they don’t have an effective way to organizing – no matter how large their team.

We’ve used ZenDesk since its launch in 2007 and have continued to be impressed with the product and its evolution. We use it on the desktop and our mobile tablets, and smartphones. We integrate live chat, phone support, ticket management, and other important features to support our customers. Pricing starts as low as $5 per customer service agent per month – and it’s well worth the cost. It’s one reason why customers give us a 98 percent satisfaction rating (a perfect 100% over the past three weeks!).

Running your businesses just became a little bit easier, right?

We are so lucky to live in a time where technology is expanding rapidly and helping to make our lives easier. By taking advantage of tools such as those I discussed above, we can increase our productivity and narrow our focus on the parts of our businesses that can’t be automated. These tools allow us to prioritize in a way that can dramatically improve our efficiency and allow our companies to succeed.

It’s when we work smarter, not harder that we get the results that we want.

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