<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=729674577191579&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

5 Cloud-based Tools Every Small Business Should Be Using Right Now

By Daisy HesseyComments

5 Cloud-based Tools Every Small Business Should Be Using Right Now

Part of my job is to make sure our team uses the best tools to allow them to do the best job possible for our clients. However, it feels with that every new day comes a new tool and it can be a struggle determining what you need. Subscriptions add up and so it’s important to know what tools your business should be using at a minimum.

Using the right tools allows you and your team to do what you do best, it reduces the donkey work and allows your focus to be on the tasks that really matter. We’ve compiled a list of 5 great cloud-based tools that every small business should be using right now.

1. Google Apps for Work

cloud-based tools

What is it?

Described on their website as ‘An all-in-one suite for communicating, storing and creating’, Google Apps is a suite of productivity and collaboration software tools in the cloud. It includes web applications such as Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive, and Google Calendar.

Why should I be using it?

Google Apps enables you and your employees to be productive from anywhere. With documents, spreadsheets etc. stored in the cloud, you can access and edit them on any device. You can collaborate in real-time with your team, with no need to ever save your work - this is done as and when you make a change - meaning the end of lost/corrupt files.

From an admin perspective, Google Apps for Work is really simple to set up and manage, with plenty of helpful resources on the website.

Google Apps is cost-efficient and scalable, so the price only increases as your business grows.

Any downsides?

Some of the Google apps lack in features compared to their Microsoft Counterparts. Google Docs is not as feature rich as Microsoft Office package, but in all honesty, it’s barely noticeable and the benefits of using this suite of apps outweigh any tangible downsides.

How much does it cost?

A Basic Google Apps account costs £3.30 per user per month.

Where do I sign-up?

You can sign up for a 30 Day free trial of Google Apps here.

2. iDoneThis

cloud-based tools

What is it?

iDoneThis is a web-based productivity app that emails you once a day to ask you, “What did you get done today?”. The intention is that you hit reply with the tasks you completed on that particular day. iDoneThis then makes your daily list of “dones” available inside the web app. You can go back 1 or 2 days, or even 1 or 2 months, and see exactly what you did on any given day.  

iDoneThis is best used for teams. Every member of the team is able to report his or her contribution to the team for the day, and is also able to view what other team members have accomplished. A digest is sent out each day detailing each of the tasks every member of a particular team accomplished during the previous day.

New Call-to-action

Why should I be using it?

Here at SupaReal, we’ve found ourselves asking ‘What did we do before iDoneThis?’. The tool allows you to be kept in the know about what your entire team is working on and and what they have accomplished. It’s difficult keeping track of what everyone is (or is not) getting done. Especially as your business grows. The app helps track your own progress, as well as everyone else’s. So you’ll never been in the dark again.

iDoneThis is super, super easy to use. If you can successfully send an email, then congratulations, you’ve just learned how to use iDoneThis!

Any downsides?

The iDoneThis web-app isn’t too pretty. The design is basic and feels very bootstrap. It is effective in it’s purpose. But sometimes feels like it lacks in features such as linking to documents etc.

How much does it cost?

The Standard plan costs $12.50 per user per month, though this is reduced to $9 per user per month if you sign up for an annual subscription.

Where do I sign-up?

You can sign up for a 14 Day free trial of iDoneThis here.

3. Sidekick

cloud-based tools

What is it?

As we covered in an earlier blog post, Sidekick is an online app, accompanied by powerful plugins for Google Chrome, Gmail, and Microsoft Outlook that pull together a plethora of information on the companies whose websites you visit, and the prospects you communicate with.

At a glance sales teams can see all of their prospects’ online activity (recent social posts, pages on your website they’ve visited, emails they’ve opened). Teams can also reach new leads, communicate with them in a more meaningful way, to ultimately close deals!

Why should I be using it?

Sidekick allows you and your team to be in control by knowing who opens your emails, when, how many times and from where.

You are able to get contact profiles right in your inbox and Sidekick allows you to schedule emails to be sent out at a future time/date.

Any downsides?

In my opinion, the only downside of Sidekick is how incredibly addictive it is.

How much does it cost?

Sidekick offers a free account to all users, with 200 email open/click notifications per month. The Sidekick for Business account costs $50 per month, per user for unlimited email notifications, plus a number of premium sales features.

Where do I sign-up?

You can sign up for a Sidekick account here.

4. Canva for Work

cloud-based tools

What is it?

Canva is an online graphic design platform developed to empower non-graphic designers to create beautiful documents and designs. Inside the app are heaps of design tools, templates and elements to help you get started. Premium assets are available for a small fee (usually $1 per asset used). Canva for Work is a little more premium than the basic version and allows you to set up a brand kit consisting of your logo, fonts and colour pallette.

Why should I be using it?

In short, because it’s awesome! Many small businesses will find themselves having requirements for design without the need or cash to employ someone to do this. Canva is perfect for those small jobs you wish you could do in house.

The interface is really simple and works on a drag and drop basis. It allows you to create great visual content  quickly and easily, with users needing little design skills. The app is jam packed with icons, graphics and fonts - as well as lots of stock imagery on offer that’s far cheaper than some of the bigger sites. Canva recently introduced a feature called ‘Magic resize’ which takes a graphic and resizes it based on where you intend to use it - perfect for social media.

Any downsides?

In all honesty, for the minimal time, effort and cost involved it’s difficult to complain.

How much does it cost?

The basic version of Canva is free. However, if you want your brand kit available as well as the ability to set up templates then you’ll need to upgrade to a Canva For Work account which costs $12.95 per month, per user account (or if you can pay annually the price reduces to $9.95 USD per month per user)

Where do I sign-up?

You can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Canva for Work here

5. Xero

cloud-based tools

What is it?

Xero is online accounting software for small and medium sized businesses. Xero allows you to easily manage invoicing, bank reconciliation, bookkeeping, payroll and much more.

Why should I be using it?

 The Xero web app has a clean and easy to use interface that allows your business to operate more efficiently. The smart reports are the most impressive part of this tool - with the ability to create beautiful looking management reports in just a couple of minutes.

Xero makes it simple for employees to log any business expenses, and also for employers to keep track of them!

Any downsides?

Setting Xero up initially can be a little difficult, though there are plenty of resources on the website to help.

How much does it cost?

The Standard plan currently costs £10 per month.

Where do I sign-up?

You can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Xero here.

Now it's your turn...

These oh-so proficient tools not only bare the potential to save you a ton of time and grief. But also contribute in ways that can boost your accomplishments and enhance collaboration with colleagues. Like limbs, you won’t be able to remember life without them.

Now you’ve heard it from us, why not take them for a test-drive?

Smash out a team project with Google Apps and iDoneThis. Get in the know with Sidekick. Produce a graphic masterpiece in under 10 minutes with Canva. Or wind in your finances with Xero.

Let us know how you get on - we’d love to hear from you! And for more seriously SupaReal content stick your name down for our monthly newsletter below!

Enjoy :)

New Call-to-action