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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

Nine best apps for businesses

Running a small business is more complex than it's ever been. Entrepreneurs have never had so many different ways to grow their business, or so many things to manage.

Thankfully, there are plenty of great tools to help. From social media to video calling, discover the best apps and platforms for your small business or start up.

1. QuickBooks

If you have little or no accounting experience, the QuickBooks app could help. QuickBooks is accounting software that helps you track all your business' finances. That's everything from sales, expenses, profit and loss reports to invoices.

QuickBooks works by integrating data from other apps to give you real time insights. You can connect QuickBooks to your online banking, credit cards, smartphone receipts, PayPal accounts, etc. and the app will keep track of every update.

From helping with your company's taxes to your payroll, downloading QuickBooks could save you eight hours per week in administrative tasks.

Prices:

  • £12 per month for a Simple Start account
  • £20 per month for an Essentials account
  • £30 per month for a Plus account

Alternatives:

  • Xero
  • Sage
  • Bonsai

2. Trello

Small teams can often lose track of projects due to other business commitments. A good workflow or project management app like Trello can help solve this issue. Trello lets you divide and assign tasks to individual team members, or simply keep track of your own work, using a board and card system.

For example, say your team is baking a cake. With Trello, you can create a board called "Chocolate cake". You can then add separate cards for the "Shopping", "Whisking", "Baking" and "Icing" stages. Whenever a team member completes a task, assign the project to the next employee and Trello will notify them with an update.

Additionally, you can set deadlines and reminders for every stage of the project, meaning that you're never left in the dark again. Once a project is complete, move it to the "Done" column and start the next task or project.

Sign up for a free Trello account and benefit from:

  • 10 boards per team
  • Unlimited cards
  • Unlimited lists
  • 10MB per file attachment

Prices:

  • £10 per month for Trello Business Class
  • £13 per month for Trello Enterprise

Alternatives:

  • JIRA
  • Monday
  • Asana

3. Deliveroo for Business

When you register your company with Deliveroo for Business, you can take advantage of stress-free monthly billing as well as your own dedicated account manager.

Even if your team is working remotely, Deliveroo for Business' Group Ordering feature takes the hassle out of coordinating everybody's dishes. Simply share your order link and let your colleagues add their meals whenever they want. 

From those deadline-looming late-nights to hosting important meetings, Deliveroo is the perfect app for boosting team morale and productivity.

Upgrade your business account to Deliveroo Plus account for £11.49 per month and get free delivery on orders over £10, saving up to £5 per order. Finally, get exclusive notifications whenever there's a tasty restaurant promotion on offer.   

Alternative:

  • Uber for Business

4. Zoom

The coronavirus outbreak has meant our reliance on video calling apps has skyrocketed. From checking-in on loved ones to working from home, apps like Zoom have brought us closer at a time we need to stay apart.

For businesses, the evolution of video chat apps means you can collaborate in real time with developers in Bali or translators in Tokyo. Simply send your contacts an invite link via email and use the same link to dial in to the video call.

For start-ups, the aptly-named Zoom Free account gives you unlimited video calls. The only caveat is that there's a 40-minute cap on all video calls and a 100-participant limit.

Another advantage of Zoom is its cloud recording feature (paid subscriptions only). Cloud recording makes video recordings of your important meetings, so you never have to take minutes or miss out on key insights again.

Prices:

  • Zoom Basic is free
  • £11.99 for Zoom Pro
  • £15.99 for Zoom Business and Zoom Enterprise

Alternatives:

  • Google Meets
  • Skype
  • WhatsApp

5. Slack

Slack is an instant messaging system that can integrate with lots of other workplace tools. It's perfect for quick and discreet conversations without having to interrupt your colleagues or team's workflow.

There are two conversation methods in Slack, channels (group chats) and direct message (person-to-person discussions).

The app also makes it easy to drag, drop and share images, PDFs and other files right in the chat. Slack automatically indexes and archives any message, notification or file, and there's no limit to how many users your business can add.

Prices:

  • £5.25 per month for a Standard account
  • £9.75 for a Plus account
  • Enterprise Gold (price on enquiry)

Alternatives:

  • Google Hangouts
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Ryver

6. iZettle

iZettle is a point-of-sale app that you can use to process credit and debit card payments. All you need is an external card reader (iZettle also sells its own version) and a wi-fi connection to take payments for your goods.

If you need to take payments from the comfort of your office, the iZettle app is compatible with several popular online selling platforms. Simply create your ecommerce store and integrate iZettle as your online payment option.

iZettle is free to download. However, their card reader costs around £29 and there's a 1.75% transaction fee applied to each sale. The fee rises to 2.5% if you're using the app on your online shop.

7. Dropbox

Dropbox is a free file sharing app that lets you store and share files in its cloud. The app allows you to save files on one device and then access them on other devices while you're away from your desk.

Every file you 'drop' in Dropbox automatically syncs with all connected devices, making it ideal for sharing documents with remote contractors.

Dropbox allows team members to collaborate and edit files directly in the app without the confusion of emailing different versions. All team members automatically receive an update whenever there's a new edit.

Prices:

  • £12 per month for a Standard account
  • £18 per month for an Advanced account

Alternatives:

  • Sync
  • Google Drive
  • OneDrive

8. LinkedIn

Unlike other popular social networks, LinkedIn doesn't come with the usual fanfare. However, for businesses of all sizes, LinkedIn may be the most important social network to join.

LinkedIn is a professional networking site, designed to help individuals and businesses make connections, promote their services and share their experiences.

Whether you're releasing a new product or expanding to a new region, share your news on LinkedIn. Use a free account to try out the service, create a network, join groups and track the work of similar companies and individuals in your market.

In return, a LinkedIn account makes your company more visible to people searching for goods and services offered by your company. And according to LinkedIn themselves, 80% of business to business leads come via their platform.

Prices:

  • a basic LinkedIn account is free
  • around £22 per month for Premium Career
  • around £44 per month for Premium Business
  • around £58 per month for Sales Navigator Pro
  • around £88 per month for Recruiter Lite

Alternatives:

  • AngelList
  • The Dots
  • Goodwall

9. Azimo Business

With fair exchange rates and fees starting as low as £0.99, Azimo Business can help keep your business costs down when you send payments overseas. In fact, companies that use Azimo Business to send money abroad can save up to 90% compared to PayPal and high street banks.

Get your first five transfers fee-free and save even more when you pay freelancers and suppliers overseas. Even better, you'll get your first transfer at a special exchange rate.

Download the Azimo app on iOS or Android and save up to £1,000 every year on international business payments.

Copyright 2021. Article made possible by site supporter Azimo.

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