This is a guest post by James Wignall, founder at Gotkard. He specializes in all things technology related, from helping small businesses, to empowering entrepreneurs.
Want to supercharge your online business’s growth in 2018?
Having the right toolset is one of the most important parts of being an online seller.
You may have the most profitable products in your market, but that won’t keep your business running smoothly, if you can’t manage your team or plan daily tasks effectively.
Boost your business productivity with these 7 great free and premium tools.
If your online business relies on team work, you need a little extra help to make sure everyone is on the same page. Trello allows you to break projects down into tasks and make it clear who’s responsible for what. You’ll have a crystal clear view of completed tasks and what’s still pending.
Your Trello board can be compiled with lists, including cards for each task. As you and your team collaborate, documents can be uploaded, comments and checklists created, due dates marked, and color-coded labels can track your tasks.
As you can invite collaborators to join an individual board, you can include freelance contributors as well as employees as needed. Team members can be notified of important milestones, from deadlines to completion.
Advanced functionality includes Power-Ups, which add modular features to Trello boards. This can expand your boards with applications enhancing your communication, file management, marketing and much more.
Free plan: Unlimited boards, cards, and teams. One Power-Up per board. File links and attachments up to 10MB.
Business class: $9.99 monthly fee per user. Unlimited Power-Ups. Files up to 250 MB in size. Enhanced control of board creation and management. Priority e-mail support.
Enterprise upgrade: Up to $20.83 monthly fee per user.
Team management and communications
With Asana, you can easily create to-do lists with individual tasks, projects, conversations, and dashboards, and then synchronize them all amongst all team members. You can turn conversations into tasks. Milestones can be established combining tasks with due by dates. Useful for connecting task activities with those assigned to completing them.
You can share files from cloud storage sites like Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive, as well as using files locally to your computer. Individual team member responsibilities can be tracked using a project calendar. Overall progress can be visually seen on a progress graph, so specific goals and any potential bottlenecks can be identified.
Free: Unlimited tasks, projects, and conversations. Maximum of 15 team members. Dashboards and search are limited to basic options.
Premium upgrade: Up to $9.99 monthly fee per user (with an annual pay plan). Unlimited team members and premium dashboards. Advanced, customizable search and tracking features. Add start dates. Designate teams and projects as private. Make tasks contingent on completion of other tasks. Priority support.
Enterprise upgrade: Pricing available on request. Advanced administrative controls, security features, and branding. Customized support. Data export and deletion. Control and block the integration of other apps. Added log-in security. Uptime guarantees. Multi-location backups.
Wunderlist allows you to manage tasks involved in the form of a personal to-do list. With the ability to establish due dates and reminders. Collaboration with friends, family, and colleagues can be enabled by using shared lists. Related lists can be organized in folders. Notes and comments can capture ideas, communicating shared objectives.
Browser extensions enable you to create to-do items both from your e-mails and also from information you can find online. The Business upgrade, supports task delegation, and a team Activity Center, making individual task completions visible to all members of your team.
Multi device support including: Mac and PC, iOS and Android, Kindle Fire. An online version also exists.
Free: Multi-device support. Creation and sharing of lists. File uploads up to 5 MB of storage. Unlimited comments. Delegation of up to 25 to-do items. Creation of up to 25 subtasks within each to-do goal. Choice of 20 backgrounds.
Pro: $4.99 per month. Adds unlimited assigning, file storage, and subtasks. Choose from 30 backgrounds.
Business: $4.99 per user per month. Adds centralized administration and billing, team management, and team-size flexibility
Slack handles team communication with a breeze. Public and private channels can be dedicated to specific subject matter discussions. It also has voice calls and video calls with screen sharing. This removes the need for any additional communication apps. One-to-one conversations can be enabled via Direct messages. Clients and contractors can be integrated into your communications through shared channels and guest accounts.
File sharing and uploading local documents or cloud based platforms like Dropbox and Google Drive, is also supported.
The full history of your communications and file assets are archived and fully searchable. You can quickly find file assets, messages, and notifications that have been indexed. Smart search recommendations identify any relevant content. Slack has direct integration with hundreds of the most popular apps, as well as an API.
Free: Searchable access to 10K of most-recent team messaging. Integration of up to 10 custom or third-party apps and services. Up to 5 GB of file storage. One-to-one voice calls and video conferences. Standard support.
Standard: $6.67 monthly fee per active user. Unlimited searchable messaging. Unlimited integration of custom or third-party apps and services. Integrate clients, vendors, and freelancers through external access to shared channels and to single- and multi-channel guests. Enhanced log-in access and security. Customizable policies for retention of files and messages. Creation of customized groups of team members. Add up to 15 team members to voice-only and video conferences with interactive screen sharing. Enhanced search functions. Up to 10 GB of file storage per team member. Priority support.
Plus: $12.50 monthly fee per active user. Addition sign-in and authentication options. Specialized message exporting. Add and remove users. Up to 20 GB of file storage per team member. Round-the-clock support and guaranteed uptime.
Hiring an unqualified candidate with a dubious background can expose your business to all sorts of risks. If you’re building a team of remote workers, then these needs become even more difficult to meet.
So, screening any potential candidates is a must. Goodhire verifies references, credentials, skills, and much more. It manages all these screening processes with turnarounds typically between one to three business days. From automated background checks to a more in-depth verification, Goodhire can customize your employee’s verification with add-ons, like drug screening and international checks. All checks are provided in respectful manner that treats all candidates fairly.
Basic: $29.99 per check, delivered in one business day. Data limited to Social Security Number trace, and a search of national criminal databases and sex offender lists.
Standard: $54.99 per check delivered in 1 – 3 business days. Adds a search of the domestic terror watch list and a 7 year search of county criminal courts.
Premium: $79.99 per check, delivered in 2 – 3 business days. Adds verification of education and employment.
Customer relationship management
This CRM tool pulls information directly from social media profiles to update customer data, by using artificial intelligence. This eliminated the need to key in the basic information about your contacts. It also pulls your teams’ data, including e-mail, interactions and calendars. Nimble syncs with many 3rd party applications. It also boasts a strong reporting and analytics suite.
The Nimble Prospector searches out information for any viable contacts, while browsing social media sites and websites, and transforms social interaction into relationships that you can leverage for profit. The Relationship Intelligence feature identifies any contacts that are most important to your business; thus, simplifying the task of monetizing your relationships with prospects. Nimble has a browser widget, mobile app, with Gmail and Outlook inboxes.
Nimble Contact: $9.00 monthly fee per user (with an annual pay plan; monthly per-user cost rises to $12.00 with monthly billing). Each user receives 1 GB of storage, three e-mail templates, and 5,000 contact records. Includes up to 5 user licenses and 10 monthly lookups per user.
Nimble Business: $19.00 monthly fee per user. Each user receives 2 GB of storage and 100 group messages per day, unlimited e-mail templates, 25,000 contact records (upgradable to unlimited records), and 1,000 custom data fields.
Help desk functions
Regardless of whether you manage your own help desk or outsource them, HelpScout makes it easy to integrate online help with other apps, and your documents. Workflows use logic to automate such actions like assigning help tasks to your team members. Reports show you the recent trends, performance, and customer satisfaction.
HelpScout integrates with popular live chat apps, logs voicemail messages from more than 50 services, and uses keyboard shortcuts to eliminate pointing device use and speed functionality. The Traffic Cop feature eliminates situations in which multiple team members respond to the same customer contact or inquiry.
Basic: $8.00 monthly fee per user. Supports up to 10 users with unlimited messages and storage, 1 mailbox.
Standard: $15.00 monthly fee per user. Supports unlimited users with 5 mailboxes, 1 help-documentation site with private connections.
Plus: $27.00 monthly fee per user. Supports unlimited users with unlimited mailboxes, 3 help-documentation sites with private connections. Integrates with multiple third-party apps.
Take advantage of these powerful tools to super charge your online business, manage your team, and achieve your goals.