Palo Alto Software recently released a list of the best tools available for small businesses in the year 2013. This list focused on prominent technologies being used throughout the past year, rather than those that were simply introduced in 2013. Some of these tools are brand-new, some saw significant updates in 2013, and others are older but still very relevant. Here are some of the best tools from 2013 that can help improve your business.
Best Operations Tools: Trello tops this list, as it is very effective for managing and organizing projects, making it easy to prioritize and track tasks based on their stage of completion. HipChat is a great communications tool that can really help streamline operations and foster collaborations, both one on one and in a larger group. Finally, LivePlan Scoreboard provides small business owners with a dashboard for all their financial information. This enables them to easily keep track of how their business is evolving and growing year on year.
Best Marketing Tools: 99designs Logo Design is a fabulous tool that can actually save business owners in overhead expenses by letting them create their own logo without having to hire a designer. Another great publishing platform is Medium, which provides a great outreach tool, particularly for small businesses who focus on blogging. Pinterest’s Article Pins is another great marketing tool that really saw a surge this year, providing a visual way to incorporate great content. HARO offers a great avenue for small businesses to get news coverage. And finally, Squarespace is an image driven, interactive website cited by Palo Alto as the “most promising platform out there.”
Best Sales Tools: In today’s small business world, mobility is increasingly important. Square enables small business owners to accept credit and debit card payments on their iPhone, iPad, and Android device, with a pay per transaction fee setup. In terms of customer relationship management tools, Zoho is a great option. It helps business owners and sales team be more efficient when it comes to tracking prospects and partners.
Best Security Tools: Security continues to be a major issue in the small business world. For businesses that use a lot of online resources and have to manage secure passwords, LastPass is a great tool. LastPass will securely store all passwords you use on the web to keep your business secure while enabling you to navigate the web much faster and more efficiently.
Vedder, Andrea. “The Best Small Business Tools of 2013.” Up and Running Blog. 12/19/13.