There has never been a better time to launch a new business in Scotland than right now. Thanks to technology, we truly are the most connected generation of all time. In addition to this, there is now more support than ever before for new and existing businesses, both offline and online.
This blog will talk about 3 online tools that will accelerate your business by helping you to work smarter, whether you’re a startup business or have been going for a few years.
We love Google. They have several products that make life easier, particularly if you’re an entrepreneur, and in this blog we’re going to focus on Google Analytics.
If you’re a business owner and you’re not using Google Analytics (or some other online service to measure traffic to your website) you’re really MISSING OUT! There used to be a saying about advertising in the last century, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half” but thanks to online tools like Google Analytics, this is no longer true.
At a basic level, Google Analytics allows you to determine how much traffic your website is getting. This in itself is fairly useful, however, by analysing this information along with your current marketing efforts, you can establish which channels are driving the most traffic to your website and, therefore, re-adjust the time and money you spend promoting your business accordingly.
Does the majority of your traffic come from search engines, like Google? Do most people arrive at your business’s website from your facebook page? Is there a spike in visitors to your website as a result of your latest blog post?
Google Analytics allows you to answer all of these questions and more and in doing so, takes the guess work out of your marketing. So stop spending your time and money on marketing activities that aren’t helping your business, by investing time to review the traffic to your business website each week and tweaking your marketing strategy accordingly.
Due to the nature of our work, Team Acorn can be out on the road a lot but we still need to be able to access all of our files, documents and pictures. In the past, we used to email documents to each other and to ourselves, so that we could access them regardless of where we were, however, thanks to Dropbox, we no longer have to do that anymore.
Simply install Dropbox to your PC, laptop, smartphone and/or tablet, and you can access your files wherever you are – great for remote working, if you want to edit a document on the fly or if you need to double-check some information without having to go back to your PC in the office. You can also login toDropbox without downloading it to a particular device via your web browser.
Finally, it’s important to back-up your business’s files regularly and storing them on the Cloud with Dropboxis a good way to do this. To get Dropbox for your business, follow this link: www.dropbox.com
Much like Google Analytics, Bit.ly allow you to measure your marketing efforts. This online tool is known as a URL shortening service which means that it takes a long, ugly web address (URL) such as our last blog post: http://www.acornenterprise.co.uk/blog/acorn-business-bootcamp-north-east-fife-in-partnership-with-the-university-of-st-andrews/ and shortens it to this http://bit.ly/acornstabootcampblog.
This not only looks better, it’s also more likely that people will enter the latter into their web browser, than the former, to read our blog post (assuming that this link appears offline). Furthermore, Bit.ly also allows you to customise your URL, as we have done in this example, which allows you to entice people to click your link by putting in your brand name or piquing their curiosity.
Vanity aside, Bit.ly also allows you to track the number of clicks your link gets and from which sources: social media, the P.S. in your email signature or perhaps a link you’ve used specifically in your latest newspaper advertisement.
Again, the beauty of this free online tool for small business owners is that it allows you to measure your marketing efforts. This wasn’t possible a few years ago and much of it was guesswork to a certain extent; now you can really start to determine if the hours you spend on social media are bringing in a return or if the money you spent advertising your business in a trade magazine is worth it.
Your Favourite Online Tools for Small Business Owners?
The common thread between all 3 of these awesome online tools for entrepreneurs is that they allow you to work smarter – whether avoiding duplication, leveraging your time or measuring your marketing efforts. On top of that, they’re also all FREE!
Of course, there are more than 3 online tools for small business owners and we’ll talk about them in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we’d love you to share your favourite online services in the comments section below this post.