You have a great idea and you're ready to put it into action.
Maybe it's a new app you want to develop, or maybe it's the coffee shop you've always wanted to open. Regardless, at the heart of every small business is a set of apps that let you manage, market, and grow your company, making it easier than ever to run a successful small business.
In this article, we'll show you eight essential apps for modern small businesses. Each of these apps covers a different aspect of starting a small business, from managing social media to creating a web store.
Let's dive right in!
Create and manage your social media presence: Social Report
First things first: every small business needs a way to manage their social media and review sites.
Our favorite solution is Social Report.
Social Report is the most full-featured social media management tool on the market. It has excellent smart scheduling tools, in-depth analytics and reporting, and even a social inbox that shows all of your brand's @mentions and social media messages in one easy-to-digest inbox.
But best of all, the tool has support for virtually all social networks and even a handful of web services like Shopify and WordPress. If you're starting a brick-and-mortar company, you'll be happy to know that Social Report lets you schedule content to Google My Business and Yelp directly from the app.
Sell your products online: Shopify
If you want to sell products online, you need a beautiful and secure online store. Luckily, Shopify makes it easier than ever to do this with its web store builder.
Using its builder, you can create a custom online store with its easy drag-and-drop editor. Shopify even has a suite of free templates you can use to jumpstart your web store, so you can get online in minutes.
Once you have a store setup, just upload your products to the website and start promoting! Shopify will take care of the payment processing, security, hosting, and web analytics for you.
See your website's performance: Google Analytics
Without a doubt, your business needs a website. And with that, you need a way to view your website's performance. One of the best (and free!) ways to do this is with Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool from Google. Once added to your website, you can view all active sessions, trends, and even detailed statistics and demographic information about your users. You can even create different campaigns in Social Report that track newsletters, paid ads, and more.
Better yet, you can integrate Google Analytics with Social Report. You can view all website stats in Social Report, and even overlay it on top of your social media analytics in our Cross Channel reporting features.
Start email marketing: MailChimp
MailChimp is an email marketing platform that lets you create and send marketing emails from one place. It has a drag-and-drop email editor you can use to create beautiful marketing emails and newsletters without typing a line of code.
Even cooler, MailChimp handles sending emails too. You can integrate MailChimp with your signup form so new leads are automatically be added to your email list. Then, you can schedule your emails and even target specific emails to specific leads.
Manage your team: Trello
You need to keep yourself and your team members organized—especially in the early stages of your company. With that in mind, you need a task management app like Trello.
Trello is a kanban style task management tool for the web. Traditionally, kanban task management is when you write tasks on sticky notes and physically move them through task stages that are labeled on a whiteboard. For example, you may have "weekly Instagram posts" be a task and "edit images", "write captions", and "schedule posts" be your task stages.
Trello brings this process to the cloud by swapping the whiteboard and sticky notes for a digital board and "cards". Create a Trello board for your social media team and use it to track your progress in creating weekly social media posts, blog posts, or whatever else you need to work on during the week.
Be your own graphic designer: Canva
If you’re looking to add visual flair to your blog posts or create a new logo, look no further than Canva.
There is a paid pro version, but the website’s free version already provides hundreds of professionally designed layouts, photos, illustrations, and font types. You can create engaging social media images with no previous graphic design skills or expensive Photoshop license needed.
You can export your image to an Instagram-ready size, so it's ready to post ASAP to promote your products. The tool also support image sizing for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more so you can easily cross-post your images across all of your social channels.
Automate your company: IFTTT
IFTTT—or, If This Then That—is a cloud based automation platform. You can use it to link any two web services together in what the app calls a "trigger". Some interesting examples of triggers include automatically uploading new product images to your website from Google Drive, or tweeting the contents of a new row in a Google Sheets spreadsheet.
Use IFTTT to automate boring social media tasks. This will save you time and money, and ensure that all of your rudimentary small business tasks are actually completed. Think of it like your free digital personal assistant.
Keep on growing
And there you have it: the Social Report guide to starting a small business in 2018. Armed with the right apps, you can run your company smoothly and accelerate growth faster than ever before. What apps does your small business rely on? Let us know on Twitter.