Small business owners are some of the most hard-working people in the world. Not only do they have to market their products and keep customers happy, but they are often in charge of managing all the little details behind the scenes. The good news for my fellow entrepreneurs is that there are numerous tools available on the internet that can help get things done and keep a business running smoothly.
We put up a blog post back in March that listed five of the best apps for small business owners. Today, I’d like to add to that post with a list of five more apps every small business owner should have. These apps are all cheap and effective.
Box.com is an online storage, file syncing and collaboration tool that I consider a must-have for every small business. The most useful feature of Box is its ability to sync your most important files across multiple computers and mobile devices. This eliminates the need to e-mail documents to yourself whenever you want to take them with you on your laptop or smartphone.
Additionally, Box.com can be used to back up important files. Every document that you save in your local Box folder is automatically backed up to the cloud for safekeeping. You can also invite collaborators to your shared folders for easy online collaboration.
Box.com offers a free plan with 2 GB of storage space. You do not need to give them your payment information; just sign up and download the software. Many people are able to get by with the free plan for a long time. If you decide to upgrade, paid plans are all reasonably priced.
Aweber is an online newsletter management system. In short, Aweber.com helps you create a database of customer e-mails and send regular newsletters to your subscribers. This tool is useful for both web-based and brick-and-mortar businesses. Newsletters help you keep in touch with customers, build trust and upsell new services.
A subscription to Aweber costs $19 a month for up to 500 subscribers. After that, you can upgrade for an extra $10 a month for larger e-mail lists. Although small business owners may be reluctant to take on additional payments, I am fully convinced that Aweber pays for itself if used to its full potential.
A Virtual Office
A virtual office allows you to take advantage of a legitimate office space without spending money on expensive real estate. Virtual offices provide working space, conference rooms, internet access, a business mailing address, phone assistants and the opportunity to work alongside other small business owners.
The prices for virtual offices vary greatly depending on your needs. You can get a virtual phone line for a few dollars a month or spend a couple hundred a month for your own office space. Just run a Google search for virtual offices in your city to learn more.
The greatest benefit of a virtual office is that it lends additional credibility to your business. You can set up a professional mailing address, meet with clients in an office setting and host conferences in large meeting rooms. This is a must-have for the small business on a budget.
LibreOffice is similar to Microsoft Office except it is completely free. LibreOffice is 100% free to download and use. It supports Microsoft Office file extensions and comes with a word processor, spreadsheet tool, presentation tool, Photoshop-style image editor, database tool and an equation editor.
If you’re in dire need of an office suite similar to Microsoft Office but don’t have the funds to make the purchase, LibreOffice is the answer. You can learn more and download it at LibreOffice.org.
Monitter is an awesome tool if your small business has a presence on Twitter. This free tool allows you to monitor specific keywords on Twitter related to your business. You can look for generic terms related to your business or for your business name specifically.
Best of all, Monitter.com can narrow down searches to a geographic location. This comes in handy if your business has a common name and you don’t want to see Twitter results from other companies located around the world. You can try it out at Monitter.com.
About the Author: Wes Burns is an internet marketer and online entrepreneur. He is currently working on an online file storage site that provides reviews, tech news and tips for the online storage industry.