No one said growing a business would be easy, however, you can definitely use the latest technology to increase productivity, reduce costs, boost efficiency and make more sales. These tech-based services can help you whether you are in Tech, Finance, Investing, IT or pretty much any other sector. So without further ado, here are my top picks.

Trello

If you’re a fan of sticky notes, then it is likely you’ll love this service. I like to think of this service as sticky notes on steroids. Trello allows you to gather all of your ‘to do’s’ and 1001 thoughts in one place. More excitingly, it provides the have the added assurance that you won’t lose important or sensitive notes as you can happen when scrawling on paper.

Even if you don’t use it to manage your projects, I’ve found it to be an excellent place to conduct and store my mind dumps. Why not give it a go.

Additionally, Trello allows you to create multiple lists to house the cards containing your tasks. Its easy drag and drop system enables you to organise them into an order of your choosing. Got a deadline? No problem. Trello’s due date and checklist features will ensure you stay on top of your work. Feel free to colour code your cards for maximum organisation.

If you handle multiple projects on regular basis this tool will be a lifesaver. Create individual boards for each project and attribute their assignments to lists so that you have one centralised point to check your progress. Trello’s productivity benefits don’t stop there. Trello also facilitates seamless collaborations, allowing you to add a member to a task, comment on cards and write notes for all to see.

If you thought this SaaS couldn’t get any better. It does. Its mobile app is highly flexible with most of the feature previously mention, meaning you can stay on track on the go! For tasks you know you‘ll be repeating in the future, instead of opting for total rewrite why not drop it in Trello’s archive. How’s that for efficiency!

Asana 

Considered the cream of the crop in the affordable project management solutions space, Asana is a busy professional dream come true and a  strong contender againistTrello.

Its name stems from yoga and relates to comfortable ‘firm but relaxed position’. It’s no coincidence that the founders chose this name as Asana will bring clarity, focus, and direction to your projects, allowing you to multitask without the fear of missing something.

You can add your client’s as well as your own company’s projects by name and store their individual tasks and timelines. Stay in sync with your team by giving access to specific projects based on who is working on them or take some work off your plate by assigning tasks to your colleagues (a very handy feature when you are handing over before a vacation). More importantly, you ‘ll know whether everyone is on the same page for a project by utilising the comments feature to offer suggestions or feedback.

What’s more, you’ll get that feel good feeling when you sign off work by marking assignments as ‘done’ but just in case, you can rely  Asana’s deadline feature which highlights overdue tasks by changing its colour and hard to miss alerts on the dashboard and sideboard as well as email reminders.

The gamechanger come in the form of a newly released timeline feature that allows you to break projects down from start to finish to see how tasks and due dates are linked. This enables you to spot discrepancies, wisely allocate time and distribute the workload. Additionally, you can turn CSV spreadsheet files into timelines which will prove very useful for the busy bees among us.

P.s. if you aren’t already sold it is Free for up to 15 users. Sign up already!

Hubspot 

Simply put, Hubspot provides customisable CRM, Sales and Marketing software to engage your audience, build your client base and boost sales. Equipped with useful tools such as contact insights and alerts for email follow-ups as well as email scheduling, email tracking, and email open notifications. Hubspot also offers a free Google Chrome Extension, it is well worth a try and will help you get started on kicking some inbound marketing butt!

If you choose to go for the pro options, you can scale up or down anytime, according to your business’ needs, such flexibility is a definite plus.

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LastPass

Most of us have (1) many passwords and (2) way too many variations of those passwords to even dream of getting it right within three-attempts limit often imposed on sites. Step in LastPass, a service that has made the need to recite multiple passwords a thing of the past. As a result, Lastpass has grown rapidly in popularity since its inception in 2008.

The crux of LastPass is that you all your passwords and the links to their applicable sites in the LastPass vault that has high-level encryption security and a two-step authentication process to gain entry. The vault is so secure that even LastPass doesn’t know your master password. They can send you a hint though, should you forget your master password (*gives you the side eye*. Just kidding – no judgment).

LastPass can also act as your online wallet as their service also allows to keep your payments cards in the vault making online shopping, erasing the endless fumbling for cards when shopping online.

Once you’ve set up an account, download the free Google Chrome extension. From here on out, you’ll be able to add the login details of any website you visit by clicking the ‘button’ that will appear in a pop-up the top right-hand corner.

The cherry on the LastPass top is that can share access to sites of your choosing with friends or colleagues by adding them to your vault. This means you longer have to give anyone your password to share things like subscriptions. When your friend or team member no longer needs access, simply remove them from the vault. Job done.

Freshbooks  

We all know how it is. You’ve been meaning to log your expenses, chase that overdue invoice and anticipating your company’s monthly electricity bill yet for some reason you never quite get round to giving it the attention it needs.

Well, fret no more. Freshbooks is a must have aide for getting on top of your businesses’ finances. It was specifically made for small businesses makes accounting and invoicing straightforward, allowing to log your incomings and outgoings with ease, saving you your most important asset, time!

This software is especially useful when tax season rears its ugly head with its easy to understand income and expenses reports. Speaking of time, Freshbooks allows you to document hours AND minutes to ensure you don’t miss out on any income.

Take advantage of Freshbooks’ invoicing capabilities to create professional looking, easy to understand invoices for your clients that will strengthen your brand’s image. Another plus is that invoicing clients through Freshbook’s platform can save you hundreds of pounds in Paypal fees. Sweet! After all, every penny counts!

Keep your eye on the ball by running detailed reports on metrics such as Profit and Loss on Freshbooks’ clever dashboard to gauge whether you are on target and gain a clearer understanding of your business finances, opportunities and potential threats.

As if that wasn’t enough, Freshbooks’ software boasts project management features allowing you to invite team members and contractors to a project as well as record team conversations, files and notes in one place for smoother communication and collaborations.

To seal the deal, it also comes with a handy mobile app so you can keep track of your business on the go. Sorted.

Bonsai

Bonsai was made especially for freelancers and small businesses like yours to ensure you get the legal protection need regardless of your size. Bonsai provides fully-customisable legal contract templates with the option for e-signing. This a quick and efficient way to adequately protect your business with legal cover without needing to contract lawyers.

Bonsai also allows its users to generate invoices so you can request payment and signatures seamlessly.

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Zoom

Zoom is an online conferencing system so convenient you’ll never need to leave your office for meetings again (unless you really want to of course). A strong competitor of Skype, and depending on who you speak to one of the best online conferencing systems on the market. Zoom is praised for its reliable connectivity, crystal-clear videos, and crisp sound quality. So whether you are holding a video conference, webinar or meeting zoom is a service you can trust. Pro plans start from £11.99 per month.

Zapier

Build customisable workflows and automations by integrating the apps and software you already use such as Gmail and Dropbox to warm up leads, automate administrative tasks and much more. Zapier hosts over 1000 apps and services that can be easily linked to a sequence. This releases you and your team from manually handling tasks such as data collection from ads, lead generation, and even post-sale care. For instance, you can use Zapier to send automated SMS’ to clients when they take an action on your site such as making a purchase. You can also connect your Facebook Ads to Mailchimp to harvest the prospects personal details and copy this information into a Word document which is integrated with Dropbox to be stored for viewing and safekeeping.

The significance of this service cannot be exaggerated. The correct integration combinations will drastically increase your business’ productivity and can help you streamline processes (already a huge selling point for us operations geeks), act on leads quicker and secure those all important sales!

Skype

A household name used far and wide by people wishing to stay in touch with friends and family. However, Skype is also a great business tool. Its instant messaging and screen sharing functions make it easy to connect with colleagues and clients alike.

Purchase a telephone number and select a plan to present your business in a professional manner when you host client calls. Plans run in 1, 3 and 12-month packages with the option to purchase international calling plans.

Skype also offers business solutions under its dedicated Skype for Business service. Skype for Business has impressive has features such as an online interactive whiteboard to allow colleagues to work together from various locations, PowerPoint presentation facilities that can be annotated and a link sharing for easy access to Skype meetings.

Slack

Ugh, email. Lots of it. A necessary evil for businesses far and wide. Or is it? Well, slack claims to reduce your email by 48.6%. Impressive right? Slack makes communication between team members easier and more centralised. With its real-time message updates and document sharing capabilities, you find it hard to slack with this instant messaging service in your life (sorry, I just couldn’t resist the pun).

Its specs include a chat-like board for you to keep your thoughts, useful links, and general info. Slack allows your team to avoid information overwhelm by housing multiple chats and relevant their participants according to the projects they are involved in as well as handy ‘offline’ profile setting for when you need to concentrate. A mobile app is also available so you can chat on the go.

Slack offers a free trial with no time limit for small teams wishing to test the waters. Give it a try but be warned you may not want to use anything else once you do…

Leadpages

When you are driving traffic through ads and social media you need somewhere to send them to. Pointing them towards your homepage often isn’t targeted enough to get the conversion you desire. This is where landing page services such as Leadpages come in.

Create custom landing pages tailored to your target customer, test funnels and A/B test your page creations to uncover the highest converting combinations. Learn from a helpful community and on-hand support staff who really want to see you succeed.

As you probably noticed there are tons of useful apps out there to help you boost efficiency within your business and grow your brand. The key is to add services into your arsenal of tools slowly to avoid overwhelm and test them out using free trials where available so you can make the best choice for your business.

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