Even with the many advantages brought by the advance of innovation, starting a business from scratch remains a daunting task! The internet has brought many opportunities, but anyone who does not know how to navigate the digital ocean well can easily drift and let the competition advance (and a lot) with high winds.
The good news is that through knowledge applied to the digital medium, it is possible to expand competitive and income margins, spending little and relatively simply. The internet displays a rapidly growing list of free tools that can reduce expenses and the chances of success for any business, even beginners.
The notion that innovation is only available to medium and large corporations has been falling apart in recent years. There are currently several resources accessible to any entrepreneur, but many, in fact, still do not know. For this reason, we have listed some useful and free solutions to help entrepreneurs who want to succeed with their business in an increasingly competitive and technological world:
1. WhatsApp for business
Purchased in 2014 by Facebook, WhatsApp has become the most used communication tool in Brazil. According to data from the Statista.com website, 98% of smartphone users in Brazil use the online messaging service.
For business owners, the tool can facilitate interaction with customers and employees, through the quick and simple exchange of messages through the app. However, some precautions need to be taken in order to avoid headaches.
For a successful use, it is necessary to have agility with WhatsApp. Consumer questions made by the app must be answered quickly and courteously, always considering the recipient of each message. The “mailing lists” feature is also a great idea for companies and it simplifies sending mass messages to the same pre-registered customer base.
Launched in 2018, WhatsApp Business – the business version of the service – expands the application’s possibilities for companies, but, on the other hand, adds costs. With it, it is possible to create a commercial profile for the business, organize with more specific data the clientele, as well as have access to a larger arsenal of automation services, such as automatic responses and self-service bots.
Accounting is a challenge for any size company. To make it easier, the Wave tool is a good choice. With it, if you are able to bill, control expenses and revenues and perform various other accounting efforts from a cell phone app or the computer with internet access.
For many small business owners, Wave is currently the best accounting software on the market. Not only for its quality, but also for having its main features freely available for companies with up to 9 employees registered on the platform.
Among its main features, the application provides direct connection to banking and payment systems, in addition to the generation of automatic accounting reports. It includes all the basic features that an accounting tool should have and, although not as powerful as the most expensive options on the market, its interface and dynamics of use are simple and very accessible.
As a limiting factor, the app requires internet connection to work and from a larger number of people registered in the same organization, the app requires a subscription plan to work.
With an increasingly demanding clientele and attentive to the experiences of other consumers, it is essential for any business to collect and analyze feedbacks and opinions from buyers or users of any business. In the past, however, only large companies were able to pay for research institutes for the elaboration of opinion polls. Trustpilot’s proposal is to make studies with customers of any organization horizontal.
In its free version, the service allows 50 invitations to be sent online to access instruments for collecting and evaluating products or services offered. In addition, the tool also allows the treatment and analysis of the collected data, making them useful information for decision making and improvement of various aspects of a brand. In addition, Trustpilot also operates as an online platform for evaluating various businesses, whether online or offline. Thus, a good deal stands out from the rest in surveys made by potential customers looking for the best companies in a particular sector or segment.
4. Google Apps
For those who wish to start or grow their business through the internet, some basic elements and services become essential, such as their own website, a registered domain, as well as a business email “firstname.lastname@example.org”, among many others. The internet is no longer a space for amateurs and a solid and professional image is needed as much as in the offline market.
Seeking to offer any type of company, basic and quality business services, Google created Google Apps, a set of apps created to help the management of a digital business from little or almost no initial investment.
Each app in the package works from the cloud and allows any type of computer or device with internet to access them. This ensures mobility for work teams, something increasingly important in times of remote work and connectivity.
5. Google Trends
Not being present within the Google Apps package, but still very important, the Google Trends service acts as a measure of interest for any clientele by demonstrating the increase or decrease in the search volume for a certain term on Google’s search sites.
With it, an entrepreneur is able to visualize and know exactly what words people are searching on Google, in addition to being able to compare search results between different subjects and keywords. In this way, it is possible to understand even more the behavior of a target audience, knowing better what they are looking for on the web.
Information is power and currently wins the race and any market that has and knows how to make better use of its own resources. However, in an increasingly busy routine, there is little time for an entrepreneur to study or at least stay informed about news or advances that occur.
Listening to podcasts is an excellent way to learn and keep up to date with the main information and opinions of different productive sectors. Because it is an accessible and attractive media today, there are several podcasts focused on the business world and aimed at small, medium and large entrepreneurs.
In addition, podcasts are increasingly gaining prominence as a valuable relationship tool and increasing the reach and credibility of a brand. There are still few examples of success in our market, but these exist and are in increasing numbers since last year. Platforms like Spotify, Deezer and Apple bring countless podcasts on the most different topics, all free. Furthermore, apps like Anchor, in addition to serving the same production menu as those already mentioned, still allow anyone to create their own podcasts with ease.
* Authorship: professor Davi Rocha