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5 Smart Tools We Love - And You Will Too


One way to make your small business punch above its weight is by using brilliant online tools to help boost productivity and take some of the elbow-grease out of the day to day stuff. Here are five of the best that help us out all the time -

Xero

First up - our hero, Xero. Xero is life-changing accountancy software. It might not wear lycra and a cape, (we secretly hope it might!) but its super powers are definitely on a par with Batman.

The benefits of using Xero as a small business are huge! Xero makes it easy to collaborate with your accountant, get a real-time view of your cash-flow, and reduce your manual data entry work.

You can read more about Xero on their blog here.

Breeze

If you want a breath of fresh air for your project management system, bring on Breeze. We particularly love its minimalist layout, which not only makes it easy on the eye, but also very easy to see at a glance who is working on what, log work and assign tasks and projects to different members of the team. It means that collaborating with colleagues who work remotely is really straightforward.

Based on the Kanban philosophy, the layout means that you have the pleasure of moving things from left to right, from the 'to do', to the 'doing'; to the 'done' column. Immensely satisfying!

Stripe

Ah, Stripe. We do so love everything stripey. (Socks, tights, shorts...) and this brilliant tool means that you can take credit card payments online easily, safely and inexpensively.

One of the main reasons that we switched to using Stripe was that you can make - and accept - payments in any currency. Stripe automatically handles currency conversions for you, so that you can instantly charge customers in their local currencies, far better than the alternative of imposing your own currency on all of your users and making them pay you in a currency they are unfamiliar with.

We don't only use Stripe for ourselves - it's a tool we encourage all of our users to integrate. For YouCanBook.me users - on all of our plans - this means that you can take payments by debit or credit cards for your bookings when the appointments are made, without having to direct your customers out of the booking page.

Intercom.io

Intercom has revolutionised the way that we manage our customer service. Switching to Intercom was part of a process we went through at the beginning of the year in order to make sure that our users feel AWESOME when they are using YouCanBook.me.

We use intercom to manage conversations with our users - so we now talk to them through in-app messages, as well as emails.

This is hugely empowering for both us and our users - we can talk them through solutions while they are logged in to the tool, and there is no need for them to switch between an email from the Product Support Team and what they are doing in their YouCanBook.me account.

Intercom is also great for providing really useful customer insight data and the ability to group and categorise users by tagging them - allowing you to target messaging and communications.

Getting your customer messaging correct is important for any business. As Des Traynor, co-founder of intercom writes,

"Every message a company sends is an attempt to get the recipient to either feel something, know something, do something or say something. At its core, messaging is all about increasing engagement."

Download intercom's new e-book about using messaging to increase customer engagement here.

WhenIsGood

Not that we like to blow our own trumpet or anything, but whenever we need to schedule a meeting, away-day or a team lunch (it's fun here!) we use our very own WhenIsGood. It does what it says on the virtual tin. When is good for you? Let the clever magic of software tell you the best time to plan an event, and avoid an availability-email marathon. And it's not just us that think so - 250,000 people other than us used it to schedule stuff in the last year. That's a lot of lunch planning.

This video explains how WhenIsGood.net works pretty well.

Which online tools are your (not so) secret weapons? Let us know in the comments below - we'd love to know!

Summary

Here are 5 Top Tools that Make Our Working Day Easier:

  • Xero
  • Breeze
  • Stripe
  • Intercom.io
  • WhenIsGood

This article was written by Alice Smith. Alice is one of Product Support Advisors, she is a serial blogger, a total word-geek and has a weird passion for scrapbooking. You can read other blogs by Alice Smith here.