11 tools to help reshape how you do business online today
** UPDATE: now with discount code goodness **
There are so many awesome online tools today to help any business get up and running and work towards that great adage:
Work smarter, not harder
Web 2.0 (and whatever that means), data portability, shared networks and features like Facebook Connect make it so easy these days to have you managing your business time better. There are some really amazing tools out there that we all know and love the likes of Mint.com and BlinkSale.com that we know of. But there are also a ton of lesser well known yet equally as good (if not better) solutions out there too.
Business Card & Contact Management
Soocial is a brilliant online service for managing and cleaning up your various address books. It works with the address book on your computer, GMail (+ other web mail), iPhone and other mobile devices. It has many nifty features, one of my favourites is the clean up of duplicate records – brilliant.
Cloud Contacts is one of those web services that is so simple, it’s brilliant. (It’s also one of those … ‘slap your forehead & say doh, why didn’t I think of that’ type services). Built around the often tedious task of data entry from business cards, Cloud Contacts is a service that will digitize the content of business cards you collect. Once digitized, the information can then be imported into Outlook, SalesForce, linkedIn and many many more tools. Fantastic service for those who collect lots of business cards.
UPDATE: use the word ‘studiowhiz‘ when ordering to get a discount (limited to 10 sales to hurry)
Invoices & Billing Management
Chargify does what it’s name suggests, charges your clients – with it’s simple interface Chargify takes the pain out of recurring billing, credit card processing and all aspects of debt management. Two of the great features of Chargify are it’s ability to help you learn from billing and client history to improve your customer experience and the API which allows you to build it into your own system – very cool!
Curdbee is not as fully featured as Chargify, but it does have a free option & when it comes to a simple billing system, Curdbee does all you need it too. From branded invoices to Paypal & Google Checkout integration and much more.
Project Planning & Management
Mockflow is a brilliant time saving, real-time, collaborative interface development tool. You can wireframe up concept layouts in any browser while chatting to your team. Anyone can use this to help work out the best placements for elements. Pages can be grouped, and joined, so at a later stage you can link through your wireframes and see the correct user flow.
Slickplan is a more traditional site plan planning tool, that gives you a good set of tools to build a quick site overview document. While not a drag’n'drop type tool, Slickplan is free and very quick to use to throw together flow documents.
ProWorkflow (built by some Kiwi folks) helps you manage you projects, time, and resources in one very simple web interface. ProWorkflow is that and more, it has built in invoice management, team management, task management, contacts, reports and so much more. It’s not the cheapest solution, but it’s darn solid and the CEO is on Twitter so you can bug him when you need help. With various widgets, iPhone apps and connectors to Quicken and more, you’ll find almost all you need in ProWorkflow.
Business Intelligence & Surveys
GoodData is a new but very powerful system that recently launched, that does nothing more than mine your data. It doesn’t collect data, rather it works with your existing data sources to find trends, patterns and more allowing you to better understand the data you have in your business. With integration to all sorts of tools including Salesforce, GoodData is awesome for really getting behind the numbers to the understandings you need.
Survs is my favourite survey tool of all time. It couldn’t get any simpler really, and yet the power & flexibility of Survs is amazing. It doesn’t do anything other than survey’s but hey, that’s all they claim to do. Run complex surveys or simple ones, multipage, single page, branded (or not), time based, integrated into your site or stand alone. Within seconds you’ll have your survey running and collecting data. It really is brilliant!
Getting things done & having fun
Getitdone is a getting it done tool with a difference – delegate tasks to your team (provided they are on getitdone). Organise your tasks into projects, schedule them for future dates & update your tasks direct from email. Beautiful and simple – oh and of course it has an iPhone app coming soon too.
Sketchfu is one of those really useful but great fun apps that generally are used for fun. When you need a quick app to sketch out a idea but don’t want to use Photoshop or something complicated, Sketchfu makes it simple. Draw it, share it .. and my gosh, some people can really use it to draw amazing things! I’ve used it a number of times for whipping out quick ideas to send to people for feedback before progressing to full mockups.