10 Virtual Tools Your Business Needs

This week we’re talking about technological tools that streamline processes, automate repetitive tasks, help you manage your to-do list without losing your mind and so much more.

Technology is advancing faster than ever before. If you’ve been in business for more than 20 years, you can probably still remember magically operating without a computer, cell phone, smartwatch, or tablet at your fingertips 24/7. And if you’re like most business owners over 40, you probably have a crystal clear memory of the dial-up sound you heard every time you connected to AOL.

Today, most professionals wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without their computer, er, phone in their pocket. And many will also bring their tablet and laptop along for the ride, too. Because, you never know when one battery will die and the idea of actually being disconnected for any amount of time is enough to throw even the most laid back person into a panic attack. Thanks to technology, in today’s world you can do just about anything from anywhere.

Here are 10 virtual tools you need to add to your toolbox as you continue to grow your company:

  1. iCloud: If you are an Apple user and you’re not using iCloud, you are missing out on one of the most powerful tools Apple has created. You can sync files and jump between devices as needed. You can collaborate with coworkers or contractors and see document changes and updates in real-time. iCloud also has a web-based version that is easily accessed from any device with an internet connection, making it easy to work from anywhere.
  2. Google Apps: For non-Apple users, Google Apps is the next best thing. Google has a seemingly endless list of apps, including Google Drive (which allows you to easily share and collaborate on documents), Google Voice (which makes it easy to have a separate, unique, and local phone number for your business), and Google Calendar (which gives you the ability to sync your calendar across multiple devices and share calendars with team members).
  3. Acuity Scheduling: Acuity allows you to keep track of your schedule, and makes it easy to schedule new appointments. You can set your availability, create multiple types of appointments or meetings, send a link to your clients, and allow them to schedule at their convenience. Acuity also integrates directly with Google Calendar and iCal to make adding new appointments to your calendar as easy as possible.
  4. Asana: Asana is a project management program that makes it simple to coordinate work between multiple coworkers and even multiple teams of people. You can customize who has access to what and when, set goals, to-dos and deadlines, and even share files and chat all within the program itself.
  5. ConstantContact: ConstantContact is a customer relationship management software. Using this web-based software, you can easily import your existing list, create events and custom email campaigns, dictate exactly who gets which email and when, embed opt-in forms on your website, and even track how people are ending up on your list so you can make more informed marketing decisions.
  6. Webinar Ninja: Webinar Ninja is a free virtual meeting and webinar program. You can create webinars, collect registrations, customize the emails that go out to your registrants, and host evergreen webinars so you can reuse the same content over and over.
  7. PayPal: This one is kind of self-explanatory. The protection that PayPal offers its users and the ease of use makes this a no-brainer. You should be using PayPal, period. You can send invoices and collect payments from literally anywhere, even your cell phone, as well as set up auto-draft for your regular clients. If you do online sales, you can also connect Paypal to your e-commerce program to make collecting online payments a breeze.
  8. Carbonite: Carbonite is a cloud-based backup system that will give you confidence and security knowing that if anything happened to your computer, your files are safe. You can store every file on every computer, external hard drive, and physical server in a safe, secure, web-based dashboard that you can access from anywhere, at any time.
  9. Dropbox: Dropbox is a simple file sharing program that makes it crazy simple to share multiple files at once, including larger files that are unable to send through email.
  10. Quickbooks: Quickbooks has the ability to help you track every aspect of your finances and it makes it a piece of cake. Connect your bank accounts and credit cards and easily see weekly, monthly or annual reports so you can analyze your income and spending over time. The ability to categorize all of your income and expenses according to their default categories or custom categories will make taxes a piece of cake as well!

This is by no means exhaustive and it’s clear that technology is going to continue advancing exponentially. There’s no telling what’s next but for now, these are the tools you should absolutely consider integrating into your operations. Did we miss something? What’s your favorite tool to keep your business running on the go? Let us know in the comments!

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