5 Great Online Tools to Streamline Your Business

Online tools business should be using

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In today’s challenging environment, small business owners seeking to expand must walk a narrow line to achieve and maintain profitability.

With each step forward they need to find new ways to leverage their time and resources. Fortunately, there are now a number of online tools which can readily be put to use without having to buy expensive software.

Here’s a look at five promising and practical tools you can use to help streamline your business:

1. Grasshopper Virtual Phone System

As your business expands you need a phone system that can grow, adapt, and stay affordable. The beauty of Grasshopper is that it gives you the features you need without having to buy expensive hardware. In fact, you use your existing equipment and manage everything online. From setting up multiple extensions to customizing voicemail greetings that reflect the time of day, you are always in control of the phone experience your customers and clients will receive. Grasshopper can even transcribe your voicemail and e-mail it back to you.

2. Outright (Finance Manager)

With all the demands of a growing business the ability to automate needed tasks becomes more and more essential. Outright, a convenient cloud-based service, allows you to automate all of your accounting tasks by centralizing and organizing them in a user-friendly format. With Outright there’ll be no more wading through a sea of data to try to get an accurate picture of how your business is really doing. Outright’s finance managing software gathers relevant data, then reduces it down to easily understood charts and graphs that give you an accurate and visual picture of what’s really happening with revenues and expenses. And since Outright’s software is designed to automatically categorize and organize all business transactions—in keeping with accepted IRS guidelines—you can rest easy, knowing that your tax records are both current and accurate. As an added benefit, Outright can also give you accurate projections for future taxes your business may end up owing the IRS.

3. SpeakWrite (Voice-to-Document Service)

With a growing business everything seems to accelerate, especially the flow of ideas through that entrepreneurial brain of yours. Naturally, not all of those ideas are going to be brilliant, but having a way to capture them instantly on your phone and transcribe them into written words is. That’s where SpeakWrite comes in. And best of all it’s a breeze to operate. When you have an idea just pull out your phone and let SpeakWrite take the dictation, automatically forwarding your voice message to a secure system. Once in the system, your message is routed to trained professional typists who will type up your submission according to criteria which you establish in advance. Once completed, your document will be delivered to your designated email account in the form of a word processing attachment to be edited, printed and otherwise manipulated, as if you had created it on your own computer. Although the service is not free, SpeakWrite charges a flat fee of 1.25 pennies per word. When you consider what your time is worth and that SpeakWrite gives you a virtual staff at any time, day or night, the cost of the service is a bargain.

4. Doodle (Polling/Scheduling)

Face it. Although business meetings are a necessary and often effective means of communicating and getting things done, scheduling all those meetings can take up a ton of time. Thanks to Doodle, a cloud-based scheduling service utilizing tools such as My Doodle and Meet Me, you can schedule meetings in a prompt professional way by posting your calendar, along with dates and times of availability for others to consult and coordinate with at their convenience. Then, using Calendar Connect, you can sync Doodle with your Google or Outlook Calendar. Another service, Doodle Mobile, allows you to effectively schedule even last minute meetings on the run.

5. Mindmeister (Mindmapping Tool)

One of the truly daunting challenges that accompany business growth is being able to effectively manage those elements of your business that are essential to success. Mindmeister gives you the ability to visually organize complex things in a way that makes them easier to understand, delegate, and accomplish. Whether you’re setting up complex marketing campaigns, formulating to-do lists, mapping out websites or attempting to team- manage client accounts, Mindmeister gives you the tools to do it all in a streamlined cost-effective manner. At a cost of only $9 per month, and with benefits that are giving Google docs, Google wave, Basecamp, Manymoon and other tools a run for their money, you won’t mind using Mindmeister.

About the Author: Carla Sanchez is a freelance writer for Omniture, a leader at cms website software and marketing automation.

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Comments

  1. I think as technology has advanced in the past couple years, more options have opened up for small to medium sized businesses when it comes to outsourcing to save money. Colocation, or outsourcing your data hosting servers, etc. is a more viable option for small/medium sized businesses because of the payment options that are available. Until you have the resources to have your own in house servers and employees trained to handle them, colocation is a great option.

  2. Speakwrite is amazing! When you write as many blog articles as I do, sometimes typing can get seriously old. Im looking into grasshooper… im not familiar with it yet

  3. Google documents can be a great tool to as also apple service apps are great tools to streamline and speed up business entry

  4. Kurt Henninger says:

    You know, I like the idea of voice to document services. However, sometimes I just need to get things down on paper…and for me the software Dragon Naturally speaking works great as well.
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  5. These are good online tools for any web business. These tools are used by
    professionals for their web business usages.

  6. SpeakWrite & Grasshopper are my tow main business tools plus a good link plan is a must too

  7. Hallo,

    I got some questions for that web design things, because i´m a totally newcomer in this business and don´t have any ideas how to manage it. So could you help me with a good program for that programming ? Now I got that Dreamweaver CS 4 but i don´t know is it good ? What are you use or you can advice me ?

    • Hi Cable,

      There is no need to learn how to program unless you just want to because the site owner – especially in blogging – doesn’t need to do all that technical stuff themselves.

      If someone just wants to blog I encourage them to write on an existing blog instead of starting their own. Group blogs are more powerful and by working with one you like already you eliminate all the upkeep and the cost of installation.

      Those who want their own blogs can have another blogger install and set one up for not very much money. I encourage most small businesses and individuals to focus on creating content and NOT on learning how to install and maintain a blog.

      Businesses can also an hire experienced blogger to create their content so they can just focus on running their business but still get the benefits of having a blog.

      I also teach blogging one-on-one online for those who want to get started writing without having to learn everything the hard way.

      Dreamweaver was the program many Web designers started using and some still use it for graphic designs. Which programming languages someone wants to learn depends on what they want to do and specialize in. If you tell me what it is you want to accomplish I can provide additional guidance.

      Anyone who wants to find a group blog or have a blog installed or learn to blog is welcome to leave a comment here or contact me through the information on my contact tab under the name of this blog (at the top).
      growmap would love you to read ..Buddy Can You Spare a Dime to Help My Friends?My Profile

  8. thanks for sharing this list..i have 3/5

  9. Steamline in business is the basic necessity and Doodle is the best one to keep track of your business schedules

  10. Employing tools for your online business is necessary for you to maximize all the potentials of your business. We all know that online business today is getting tighter and every businessman aims to be on the top.
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  11. Harold Green says:

    I love Doodle! It makes scheduling meetings easy and other appointments.. Online business tools are critical for running a business online. Not only will they help you save time, but also help you make more money! This website also provides the knowledge and tools you need to start and run an online business.

  12. Thank you Miss Carla. My husband has been in development with web based usenet groups. I am getting my feet wet with limited experience myself and am contributing my efforts with blogging. The choices in the options of your article really captured my attention. Not only do they provide flexibility, they also provide the expertise of management we are looking for in commerce. From all the blogging I have done recently, this is the highlight of my work week. Bookmarked and thanks.

  13. I am going to have to check out that voice to document service. I have to wonder though if it will work as well as it says. I am usually a little leery about voice to anything…..always seem to be glitches I am not patient enough to work through.
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  14. Some use full tools listed here.But i think, the third tool “SpeakWrite (Voice-to-Document Service)” is a must.i personally feel it has vast use.Nice tools though

  15. Excellent write up. Some tools I also find helpful, granted that may be industry specific, are Salesforce, Hootsuite, Mailchimp and ping.fm. If in the internet industry, these are all great, inexpensive options to extend your outreach.

  16. Amit Singh says:

    Please share more online tool for steamline business.
    Thanks for nice article.
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  17. Really, things are getting easier and more confusing. I didn’t even know these tools exist not until I read all of those.

  18. Doodle is a great service, I actually did some work for those guys troubleshooting some problems they were having with their Exchange Plugins. Great bunch of guys they were. Great collection of Business tools you’ve provided too will certainly look into them.

  19. I can say from personally using SpeakWrite that this service is one of the better voice dictation services. The accuracy is above average and that’s basically what you’re paying for (accurate transcriptions).

  20. Website management is getting tougher these days, specially in the cases where one need to manage multiple of them. But such tools are really helping and making the task to be completed with ease.

  21. Awesome as Ed Dale says. Not heard of any of these tools. Really like the sound of Grasshopper (and that is not meant to be a pun). Especially this function: Grasshopper can even transcribe your voicemail and e-mail it back to you.
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  22. website design firm says:

    cloud based scheduling services offered by doodle is amazing and very handy. Thanks post content is useful

  23. Cristian Balau says:

    I need some tools for organizing my Internet Marketing business and I think Mindmeister may just do the trick, thanks for the article, it was very useful!
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  24. Mindmeister is very importand tool and if you know hwo to use it you can organize everthing in the best way. thanks for all this tips- they are very quality and helpful.
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  25. Another useful resource..I have being using Doodle from last few weeks.Am planning to go for Outright after reading you post.Thanks.

  26. I think these tips really works,I definitely use these suggestion in my work.

  27. Ryan Eisenhower says:

    Doodle looks like an interesting tool I can use, I’ll have to check it out. I’m a very organized person so it’s important for me to have everything scheduled properly :0
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  28. Los Angeles Wedding Photographer says:

    The Mindmeister looks interesting. I need to get my hands on those to keep me organized.

    Thanks for sharing this helpful list!

  29. I like Mindmeister and i think that it’s one of the best mind mapping tools available. I’ve been also advised to use Doodle by a friend, but i haven’t had the chance to take a closer look at it. Thanks for the great list
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  30. What you mentioned here are very good points in the sense that interaction with customers in a good way is the key for any business success.
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  31. I think we need all 5 tools to work efficiently or for maximum benefit. Outright (Finance Manager) for instance can be a great help because it automates all accounting tasks and one don’t have to struggle and strain the brain to procure accurate data.

  32. Martinez says:

    list tool you suggests is best tools online and i using Mindmeister it very good , thanks you for share .
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  33. Wedding dresses says:

    SpeakWrite is a great innovative towards voice to doc convert. Its good idea but not the great. The great way will be if somebody share a software which is able to convert the voice to doc word convert.

  34. We already know that small business has some difficulties to run smoothly for common people. We need to know finance and bla bla bla. We could hire someone to do it, but of course we have to spend money for them. With these tools, business become easily.
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  35. SpeakWrite can be useful for Ebook rewriting work too. I always keep looking for such services and utilize them at proper spot. If you have got unique idea but lack in writing then you can use such services to write a ebook for you at convincing rates .
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  36. Andrew Walker says:

    Hm.. Okay.. This is an interesting one. Thanks for sharing this. Very useful and informative indeed.
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  37. Without a doubt I’ll have to give Outright and Mindmeister a try.
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  38. I LOVE the concept of SpeakWright ! And, as always, you have provided a great list of tools. The attractive thing about all these tools is they can be used for any size business.

  39. Generic card program says:

    The five tools are excellent suggestion for maintaining Business online. I need Doodle essentially for scheduling all business meetings and plan proposals. Thanks for this collection.

  40. Some great stuff here. I really like the concept of SpeakWrite, and I have never heard of it before. I definately need to take a closer look at it. Im spending way too much time on writing everything down these days!

  41. thank you so much for providing these tools! that are indeed great help to all bloggers out there especially to those who are just beginners.. i really learned something from it
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  42. Thank you very much for these suggestions. As someone who at one time has three assistants, I’ve some time management and project management issues. I’m bookmarking all of these and more importantly, going to use them!
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  43. I have known so many tools for business, but i think they can be used somehow for all types of business in fact as they can be installed in some departments for example.

  44. It is a very nice and informative post.Thanks for sharing online business tools.These tools are helpful for many business owners.
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  45. SpeakWrite looks interesting. I know that writing articles is a very time consuming process.

    However, if you can dictate it to somebody else then I can see that speeding up the process considerably.

    Thanks for the recommendation…:)

    Mark
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  46. TrafficColeman says:

    We need those things that will make our everyday marketing run smooth. I will take a closer look at those software..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

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