At BoostSuite, I work with over 6,000 small business owners every day, helping them use our software to optimize their websites to achieve more website traffic and leads. I hear the common complaints about “not having enough time/money/help/etc.” far too often. I feel their pain. After all, we’re a small business too!
These complaints always make me think, “What can I offer to these small business owners that will help them save time, save money, and stay organized?”
Today’s technological landscape offers tons of great software tools to make your life easier, but finding the right ones can be difficult, and keeping track of all the different tools you actually have can be cumbersome. It’s like having Batman’s tool belt: you have a specific tool for every unique situation, but the belt has gotten so big that you can’t even walk around, much less leap from building to building saving Gotham!
You need to simplify things. Small business owners and marketers are constantly on the go, so having access to mobile and browser applications is a must. Here’s a list of the top five free Google Chrome browser apps that I recommend to any small business owner looking to get and stay organized:
1. Gmail Offline
Having access to your email is key for small business owners on the go. But what if you open up your laptop and you don’t have access to wifi or a hotspot? Gmail Offline beta is built to support offline access, so you can read, respond and archive without network access. After your first start-up, Gmail Offline will automatically synchronize messages and queued actions anytime Chrome is running and an Internet connection is available. There is also a great Google Mail Checker widget that notifies you of any messages in your toolbar.
Let’s say you’re reading a great article on your favorite blog and you want to jot down some quick content curation notes. Instead of using a notepad or textedit document, try Evernote. This free, notepad-like service enables you to save and organize anything you’d like to remember without ever leaving the website. You can also take quick notes, add tasks and tag everything within categories. Social media integration makes the service seamless, and there is also a mobile app that will bring all your notes to your Android and iOS phone or tablet.
You’re probably already well-aware of this, but it’s certainly worth mentioning. :) Shoeboxed is the premier solution for small businesses and individuals to stay organized by digitizing your receipts, business cards and other documents. Shoeboxed makes tax return preparation, expense reporting, budgeting and bookkeeping a breeze and allows you to effortlessly send your organized data to great programs like QuickBooks, Outright, Xero, Evernote and more. Using their free Web Clipper for Chrome, you can clip images of receipts, business cards and bills directly from your browser and submit them to Shoeboxed for immediate processing.
As a small business owner, you must consistently be aware of your financial status. You need to set budgets and keep tabs on where your dollars are going. For financial management, Mint.com is a great app that allows you to track, budget and manage your money all in one place. You can manage a bank, credit, loan or retirement account, and the service automatically categorizes all of your transactions, so you know when and where you’re spending and saving.
You know that social media is a crucial relationship-building, engagement, and support tool for your small business, but how do you keep track of all your accounts at once? TweetDeck makes it easier for you to track the real-time conversations you care about. It brings more flexibility and insight to active social media users through a customizable layout that lets you keep up with the people and topics that matter most to you. And, you can join the conversation by tweeting, sharing photos and links to news stories, and more. Did I mention you can link multiple accounts? So you can manage your brand as well as your personal account, all from the same interface.
I’m partial to this as we use it for our own support needs. Desk.com is the social help desk that lets any business respond to customer service requests from Facebook, Twitter, email, live chat and phone — all in one place. Whether your customer service team is one person or 100 people, Desk.com ensures no customer will fall through the cracks.
Awesome Screenshot Capture & Annotate
If you need to take screenshots and highlight specific areas of the page easily, use this app. You can capture the whole browser page or any portion, annotate it with rectangles, circles, arrows, lines and text, blur sensitive info, all with one-click. I use this one too, and it’s a great supplement to the traditional Macbook screengrab (command+3 for whole screen, command+4 for selection).
What do you use?
Do you have any other free or paid Google Chrome browser apps that you would recommend to other organized small business owners? Let’s hear them!
About the Author
Ryan Kettler is Director of Communications for BoostSuite. Ryan is an internet marketing zealot, sports fanatic, devoted runner, avid golfer, beer connoisseur, and live music enthusiast. When he’s not helping BoostSuite customers he can be found running 5ks, sampling IPAs, and cheering on his North Carolina State Wolfpack.
BoostSuite is a web marketing optimization product for small business owners. Unlike current products that bewilder and discourage small business owners, BoostSuite allows novice web marketers to build more website traffic and convert more online visitors into customers and leads for their businesses. Try it for free for 2 weeks!