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Best small business tools

As we move into a new year, I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite business tools of 2013.

Splash ID – I don’t know about you, but I am constantly being prompted for passwords. Whether it is for online banking, clothes shopping or just to be able to edit these blog posts – they all need a password. Best practise requires alpha numerics and frankly I’ve not got the sort of mind that remembers all the variants. So SplashID is a real winner. This paid-for app is a password protected storage for well, passwords. So happily I only need to remember one, then I have access to all the others. Phew

Eventbrite – an online way to promote and manage any events you are organising. It can take payments,  issues reminders and joining instructions, which means it takes much of the administrative burden of events away. If you are charging for your event, it takes a modest percentage of the fee, but if your event is free, then you don’t pay anything at all. It’s also a good way to see what events are on in your area/ related to your interests.

Dropbox – a fabulous method of storing files, photos and audio ‘in the cloud’ . It means you can access files from any devise (as long as you have an internet connection) and I use it to share photos with journalists and clients. That way they can download the image if they want, but it doesn’t clog up the email account.

Mention – this monitors any online media mention of a company or person – whether on social media networks or on the web, and it keeps a running total. It’s like Google alerts, but better. There are four plans, ranging from free, to $99/month.

Tweetdeck – I know this has been around ages, but the latest upgrade is fantastic. It enables you to post from multiple Twitter accounts, easily follow/ add to lists, and automatically URL shortens using bit.ly, build custom timelines. I know some people prefer Hootsuite, but Tweetdeck transformed my Twitter usage years ago, and although has lost some cross-platform functionality, still gets my vote.

TNEF’s Enough – As a Mac user, increasingly attached files from pc’s arrive as blank files called ‘win mail.dat’, which I’ve struggled to open.. until that is, I found TNEF. To be honest, I’ve no idea how it works – it just sits on my computer’s ‘dock’ and happily converts them into something readable. That’s all I need to know.

Evernote – Oh, my trusty Evernote. Seen something interesting online, and don’t want to lose it? Clip it to ‘Evernote’. It acts like a big, free, indexed filofax, for all that useful stuff you don’t have a home for. Tag your content, start new notebook, everything can be neatly filed away. And more importantly, found again. Those great online recipes? Stored in Evernote. My handwritten notes on ‘what to take on holiday’ – emailed to Evernote. Ideas for clients? Online press coverage? Youtube videos?  Competitor information? You can search for a word, even with handwritten notes, so no excuses. It’s like the memory you used to have

Pinterest – like Evernote, this is a great way to curate ideas, and to file away things of interest – where you can find them again. However, unlike Evernote (which is private) Pinterest boards can be made public, so everyone can see them, and ‘repin’ things you like.  For example, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations has a Pinterest board of members – including me  Hooray!

And finally, Clearbooks is an online accounts package, which is simple to use, and keeps a track of your income and expenses with minimum effort, and no spreadsheets. What’s not to like about that?

What are your favourite small business tools?



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