Building a business is expensive. From upfront investments to staffing costs, the expenses can start to rack up as a business grows. The debt can be daunting, and cash flow often poses a challenge. This doesn’t mean that the effort won’t pay off – but it does mean that finding economical ways to transform your business along the way is key. You may not have the budget to build a top-tier marketing team full of specialized experts or a massive sales team bolstered by a premium CRM tool and call center, but there are numerous tools that can help you along the way at a minimal cost.
Streak is an extension for Gmail that serves as a CRM to track leads and customers. In addition, Streak can be used to streamline other processes such as hiring or product development. Once you download Streak, you can set up Boxes in which to store all emails and information connected to a certain project. The Fields in these boxes allow you to search and categorize your data easily. By creating communal Boxes across the company, you can ensure that all information and notes about a prospect or customer are visible to all employees. These Boxes can then arranged into a Pipeline where each stage represents a different step in the process that you’re tracking (for example, the customer decision journey). According to a 2012 study by the McKinsey Global Institute, employees spend around 28% of their time at work on email. This is a huge chunk of time that could be spent doing more active work. By implementing Streak, you can help your entire team use email more efficiently and effectively – leaving more time to do the work that they were hired to do. Streak’s ability to serve as a CRM is also game-changing. It is impossible to remember every client without a CRM to track, store and manage the data, and you are literally letting money walk away if you lose track of a prospect or reach out in the wrong way. Streak ensures that your entire team knows exactly where each prospect or customer is in the funnel and how and when he or she should be approached again.
- Key Features: • Group emails from customers • Help your whole team keep track of status, notes, and details of prospects • Schedule email • Streamline internal processes such as hiring or product development
- Pricing: • Free Plan (Unlimited Private Boxes, 50 Shared Boxes, 200 Tracked Emails/Month, Email Power Tools): 0$/user/month • Starter Plan (All Features in Free Plan, Unlimited Shared Boxes, Unlimited Email Tracking): $19/user/month • Corporate Plan (All Features in Starter Plan, Tasks + Call Logs + Meeting Notes, Linked Boxes + Saved Views, Formula Columns, Email Filters, Advanced Reporting, Advanced Permissions, Premium Email Support): $39/user/month • Enterprise Plan (All Features in Corporate Plan, Custom Permissions, Premium Phone Support): $119/user/month
Google Drive Is a file storage and synchronization service available to anyone with a Google account. Users can store files in the cloud, share files, and work together on shared documents. Through its three offerings (Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides), users can collaborate on a variety of content, analysis, and presentations. Although you are probably familiar with Google Drive, the tool is far more valuable than simply as a storage tool. It enables your team to sync business files across all devices, ensuring that everyone can access necessary files at all times. By storing in the cloud, you also minimize the risk of losing valuable files and data (although you must be careful not to put any confidential documents on Google Drive). Perhaps most importantly, Google Drive streamlines collaboration in the workplace. Not only can it be used to share files, but it can be used to create files that are editable by all parties working on a project. This avoids time wasted merging documents and allows for instantaneous collaboration and enhanced business workflow.
- Key Features: • Store files safely in the cloud • Share files • Collaborate on shared documents
- Pricing: • 15 GB of storage: Free • 100 GB of storage: $1.99/month • 1 TB of storage: $9.99/month • 10 TB of storage: $99.99/month • 20 TB of storage: $199.99/month • 30 TB of storage: $299.99/month • Google Drive for Work (Unlimited storage): $10/user/month
99designs lets you crowdsource a design for projects ranging from a logo to a website to packaging design. Users fill out a simple form giving details of what is needed and how much they are willing to pay. Designers submit initial designs, and the user can then give feedback and ultimately pick and pay for their favorite design after 7 days. It is an easy, quick, and painless way to take your branding to the next level and start standing out in the marketplace. Whether it is a logo, website, marketing collateral, t-shirt, or packaging design that you need, 99designs lets you get your ideal design at a fraction of the price of paying an in-house designer. It also comes with a 100% money-back guarantee and full copyright ownership of the final design. If you meet a designer you love, you can even work one-on-one with them to develop an entire portfolio of beautifully branded collateral. Design is more important than ever today. Consumers have nearly infinite options in the marketplace, and it is often designed that makes one company stand out over a competitor. For example, 94% of people cite poor design as a reason not to trust a website.2 In this climate, the design should be viewed as an investment rather than a cost – and it should infiltrate your entire process. You need to develop a brand identity that will simultaneously stand out and stick, and readily identifiable and attractive design is one of the best places to start.
- Key Features: • Logo design • Marketing collateral design • Website design • Packaging design • Company swag design
- Pricing: • Logos: $299 (Approx. 30 designs) to $1,100 (Approx. 60 premium designs handpicked by a dedicated project manager) • Business Card: $199 (Approx. 25 designs) to $999 (Approx. 40 premium designs handpicked by a dedicated project manager) • Postcard, Flyer, and Print: $199 (Approx. 30 designs) to $999 (Approx. 40 premium designs handpicked by a dedicated project manager) • Landing Page Design: $299 (Approx. 15 designs) to $1,199 (Approx. 25 premium designs handpicked by a dedicated project manager)