Essential business tools: 5 virtual tools that increase productivity and efficiency in business.

Utilising virtual tools is imperative for female entrepreneurs working remotely or with a virtual team. Starting or running a business means we have a lot to take care of. We either need to outsource, or, make use of some handy online tools to streamline our processes – saving both time and money. Luckily, we live in a digital world, and there are many tools we can rely upon to organise our projects and market our services.

We’ve grouped together five of our favourite virtual tools to help you become more efficient, productive, and successful. Take a look at our list below.

1. Asana

For entrepreneurs, Asana has become a highly trusted tool for managing organisational workflow. With inbuilt features like calendars, dashboards, task creation, projects, conversation tools, and much more, it’s an easy way to align both your individual and team efforts. Best of all it’s free for up to 15 users – and you can communicate with team members in one central location. Gone are the days of clunky emails back and forth. Asana allows you to see the progress of on-going tasks, so you’ll never have to worry again about remembering what’s on your to-do-list.

2. Slack

Whilst WhatsApp has proven an ideal solution for instant messaging, it’s more geared for personal rather than professional use – and should stay that way. Slack however is ideal for team working and collaborating on projects seamlessly and effectively. Its design interface allows you to create multiple groups for different projects and chat sessions both individually and within a group. The app also allows you to start a call with team members whenever a message isn’t quite right. It even supports useful features such as file sharing, and you can automatically sync all your devices and connect with other apps.

3. Canva

Whilst some projects might require the services of a graphic designer, Canva is an easy way to brand yourself without the need for such services. It offers a full suite of design tools for creating infographics and documents for social media posts, newsletters, brochures, and all sorts of promotional material. You can even create your logo and custom images for your website, with plenty of free stock photos built in. The basic version is free, but it might be worth an upgrade to the pro version to access even more templates and photographs, plus the ability to schedule your social media posts

4. Mailchimp

There are so many email tools out there but Mailchimp is our winner for being the most simple and cost-effective – in fact you can get started for free. As a freelancer or business owner, it’s imperative to get the word out about what you provide. And whilst social media is one way of doing this, regular newsletters can offer a more personal, in-depth touch. Mailchimp is also a great tool for keeping tabs on your current contact database and can send high amounts of traffic to your website. The free plan allows you to send up to 10,000 emails a month to 2,000 subscribers which should be enough for many small business owners, before needing to upgrade to the next package. Most of the tools and templates are also accessible on the free account, meaning you don’t have to compromise based on cost – and you can create to your hearts content.

5. Zoom

We might joke about our endless Zoom meetings, but this video conferencing tool is absolutely vital for communicating with both clients and team members – particularly when we are unable to meet face-to-face. Used all over the world, millions of businesses use this tool to connect for meetings, conferences, and webinars. Nothing compares to in-person interactions, but Zoom is a great alternative, allowing you to share screens to collaborate and solve problems quickly. Plus, it’s one of the most secure, stable, and easiest to use apps out there for virtual meetings. Good to note that whilst Zoom is free for meetings up to 40 minutes with more than one participant, you’ll need to upgrade to the pro version if you’re hosting longer meetings with multiple participants.

With limited time, budgets, and resources, getting started can seem like a monumental task. But it doesn’t have to be. There are so many virtual tools out there to help you achieve your goals.