4 Upgrades To Your Business That Will Change You And Your Customers Lives
Many entrepreneurs seek to make huge changes to their business to keep customers around, but sometimes subtle or unique changes can be the secret to your success
June 23, 2016, 12:00 AM Coordinated Universal Time
When building a web-based company, or even a web presence for a physical business, it's tempting as a business owner to take dramatic steps to keep or attract more customers. Expensive publicity, marketing and technological additions, though they're attractive for many customers, may not be as useful as adding in a creative solution to a problem that your employees may be having, or removing friction between your customers hiring you or visiting your business. Sometimes it's better to make changes both internal and external to make you and your team more effective, and these upgrades can be powerful.
Answer Their Queries In Milliseconds: Algolia
Algolia is a company that creates a hosted search API, which in laymen's terms means that you can enhance a customer's ability to search your content or find the correct answer to a question about it. They've done this by creating an ultra-fast search platform similar to Google's instant search results but for anything you connect to Algolia. This could be, as they demonstrate on their website, a database of movies, or a connection to your help desk to give users quick answers. It's more than simple search, in that it provides instant results that are also, based on what is entered, provided based on relevancy to the query. They recently released Algolia Places, an addition that any e-commerce site (and many others) could benefit from, instantly offering potential results for the user's address that auto-complete large parts of the checkout process. If you're doing any kind of web business that requires form-filling, even if it's not an e-commerce operation, Places will make your customers very happy.
Trello has become a favorite of many entrepreneurs and teams by creating boards of ideas that can have files, pictures and other items put into "cards" that can be easily moved and viewed at a glance. All updates are sent in real time, and anything you do can be separately tagged and labeled to make searching even the most complex of Trello boards incredibly simple. The entire experience is customizable down to the way in which you receive notifications, and the platform is well-loved for its prolific plugin and integration community. While there are many workflow applications out there, few are as easy to get to use and integrate into small or large teams as Trello, which is why Trello has created an entire inspirations board to show anyone how they can use it.
Work Smarter, And Know How: RescueTime
RescueTime is a web app that will likely make you and your employees a little embarrassed at first, providing detailed data on what websites, emails and apps you're spending your day on. It's not meant to be a way to shame yourself into doing better work, but to give you clarity as to whether you're working hard, taking it easy or just not being efficient with your time. There are definitely times you'll find that you spent way too long looking at YouTube, but more than likely you'll see there are potential situations occurring you didn't realize. For example, many believe that Slack is replacing email, but you may find that you're spending just as much time on email as before you used Slack, actually losing time in your day. RescueTime lets you set goals and log accomplishments on top of receiving quick and detailed data with their paid-for $72-a-year package, or has a robust free package.
Keep In Sync: Pushbullet
If you're a mobile workforce that's using different devices, with remote workers across different time zones, information overload has made it so that even with apps like WhatsApp, it's difficult to quickly get messages to others. Pushbullet succeeds in creating a web and native app combination that syncs across every platform. If you have a mobile worker that finds something on an off site that they want to record, instantly, across multiple devices and multiple people (such as damage done to a contracted project) without the need to worry about whether they're all using the same device, the app helps a great deal. It's also an excellent way to send notes to yourself from separate computers without having to email them insecurely, or get something from your desktop to your phone without having to match your operating systems. Its pro plan allows for up to 1GB a file, and supports universal copy-and-paste with Android devices, which can be a lifesaver for quickly sharing a password, a credit card number or a phone number that you need in an instant.
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JUN 23, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.