Month: December 2019

Top 5 Free Tools for Small Businesses

What free tools do you use to help your business?

Starting out as a small business is tough, there are a lot of different things you want to do, but majority of the time they come with a cost.

So, we have put together a list of our clients’ Top 5 Favourite Free Tools that they use to help their business.

1. MileIQ

At Hour Hands we help busy people by taking care of their to-do list so often we’re out and about in the car – running errands, delivering items or attending client meetings. Keeping accurate mileage records is vital for billing clients and our bookkeeping, so we’re big fans of MileIQ. It’s a handy app that creates an automatic, accurate record of miles driven, so we have all the information we need at the touch of a button.

Obviously, we all drive for personal reasons as well, so the app cleverly allows us to designate which journeys are business and which are personal by swiping left or right. We can even personalise it by specifying our work hours, location, etc and it will automatically classify drives based on our schedules! Parking and tolls can also be logged. We use it on all types of devices and can download detailed reports from the desktop dashboard, although there’s a weekly report that provides much of the information we need.

Basically, it’s a really clever and simple idea that’s easy to use and saves us time and money – we highly recommend it!

Suggested By: HourHands – Virtual Assistant Services.

2. Google PageSpeed Insights

Google PageSpeed Insights is one of the best tools out there if you have a website.

Not only is it FREE but it gives you a great insight into how your website is performing and useful tips on how to make improvements.

It lets you know how your website is performing on both mobile and a laptop and is useful for both Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – Google has made speed a ranking factor, and also for user experience, after all as users we don’t like to be kept waiting!

The insights can help you to identify what is slowing your website down and will list the main culprits. This will include all images that have not been resized and minified correctly.

There are also detailed explanations on how to improve your speed. These can be quite technical so it may mean contacting your website host or web developer. It also gives recommendations on WordPress plugins that can help you to improve your website speed.

The key thing is nobody likes a slow website so the more improvements you can make, to make sure the user can see your content, the more likely these visitors will turn into customers!

Suggested By: Gold Nugget Designs – WordPress Website Design

3. Kapwing 

My favourite free tool right now is the subtitling function of an online video editor called Kapwing. Kapwing is an awesome platform that has some great editing capabilities, however, I only really use it for the subtitles, as I already have an editing system. 

Once you get the hang of it, it’s super easy to use. You simply upload your video and then choose the Auto Caption feature. It then takes a minute or so (depending on the length of your video) to put captions to it. As with any auto-captioning system, it absolutely WILL make mistakes, so you must ALWAYS go through and check the subtitles. The clearer the audio, the fewer mistakes it makes.

Facebook and YouTube also have auto captioning features, but the difference with Kapwing, is that the subtitles will be imprinted onto your video, so you just need to do it once, and they will be seen everywhere that you post it, including your website!

Subtitles are so important on videos these days, as statistics say that up to 85% of them are watched on mute. So, if you want to make the most of your filming, they are essential!

Suggested By: Nutty Amber Videos – Corporate Video Production

4. Trello 

At Uskuri Theobald Architects there are 3 of us who run the company, Leoni, Oguz, and Ryan. As business owners, we have to wear all the different hats and we are often pulled in different directions; which can become so overwhelming.

We decided to start using Trello which has helped organise all our tasks. Trello is essentially an online platform that you can create interactive lists. It’s a really quick and simple way to assign tasks and keep track of everything between the team.

We keep track of everything on there from potential job enquires, office admin tasks down to more detailed lists of each project which keeps track of project progress. We can all view each of the lists, comment on items within the lists, assign tasks to certain team members, attach documents if needed, we can make checklists within the lists and set deadlines on the lists if required.

That’s the beauty of Trello, you can use it in a really simplistic way for straight forward tasks, or you can really delve down the Trello rabbit hole and use it as a complex and full office management tool.

Suggested By: Uskuri Theobald Architects – Architectural Services

5. Buffer

We hear so many people say ‘I know I need to do it but I don’t have the time’… So our favourite tool that we use every day and recommend to our clients too is simple, easy to use and will help you cut down on wasting time!

Buffer is a free social media scheduling tool that means you can Plan, collaborate, and publish content. Buffer has been in the scheduling space for a while and a respectable platform that allow you to manage your social media content easily.

Buffer’s free plan includes the ability to manage three social profiles, schedule up to ten posts, utilise their browser extensions and mobile apps (iOS and android) feature, create and schedule content using their image creator and GIF/video uploader, and shorten and track links.

Social media is a great way to build your brand and grow your business, but posting every now and then isn’t going to get the awareness of your brand that you want, so posting must be consistent!

Put aside an hour or two a week where you can focus solely on your social media and scheduling your posts.

Suggested by: Amber Mountain Marketing – Marketing Agency

As these tools all have a free plan, it means you can trial and test what works best for you and your business.

Let us know what Free tool you love the most!

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”…to continue your marketing!

Christmas is coming, and everyone is starting to wind down.  It’s the one time of the year when everyone takes a step back and tries to chill.  It’s not very often you get to stay in your pjs, eat chocolate and watch TV all day, so let’s do it!  But that doesn’t mean you should slow down your business marketing!

Now is the perfect time to target your customers, it’s the time of the year when people think about what they want from 2020  We all set ourselves new goals don’t we? ‘I’m going to get fitter’, ‘I’m going to build my business’, ‘I’m going to do up the house’, ‘I’m going to outsource more’ etc.

We all have a business that can help people with their new year’s resolutions, so we need to be there at the forefront of their minds at the time they are thinking about it. 

Here are some ideas on how you can make this happen: 

  • Write a blog
  • Schedule posts on social media to target your audience
  • Schedule a newsletter
  • Create a competition
  • Share interesting articles

With more time on their hands over the holidays, they are more likely to take the time to look at what you are offering and interact. Don’t take a break from Marketing when it matters the most.  Begin your year with a flurry of customers, start 2020 hitting the ground running.