Entrepreneurship · 15 July 2022

31 Tips and Essential Tools to Grow Your Online Business in 2022

It’s hard to determine which has grown faster over the past few years, online business opportunities, or the technologies that power and support them. There is plenty to ponder in the realm of eCommerce. The challenge is finding solutions that are right for your business model, customers, and goals.

It seems that for every blog and eCommerce shop, there are dozens of platforms, automated solutions, apps, and product suites to consider.

One of the main factors that stymie SME tech investment is confusion. Entrepreneurs know that business tools are supposed to save time and money. It’s just that there are so many.

Next to confusion about the right solutions are a lack of buy-in from staff and leadership, budgetary concerns, and time.

“How much time will rollout take?”

“What’s the timeline for retraining staff?”

“Will acquiring new tools mean downtime for my business?”

“How much time until I see results?”

In business, time is money.

You’re in a race to keep up with tech innovations and the competition. With budgets stretched and more solutions in development every day, you need guidance so you can put your money – and the right technology – to work for you.

How to Choose the Right Tools for Your Online Business

Whether you search for business name generators or social media platforms, your business is the most important consideration when choosing business tools. Technologies you adopt should streamline processes, support decision-making, and long-range planning, and improve the customer experience – all while protecting your bottom line.

Before you start buying every app and productivity suite that hits the market, sit down and make an honest assessment of where your company is at now and where you would like it to be in the future. Invite input from stakeholders within your company, and get feedback from customers, partners, and vendors.

Where is your business functioning well and where could you use some help? Do you need an enterprise-wide upgrade or specific tech solutions to optimize trouble spots?

Depending on your business model, the tools and technologies you acquire should:

  • Support remote collaboration and/or service delivery
  • Manage files, tasks, and workflows
  • Improve operationally and/or workflow efficiency
  • Provide actionable insights for decision-making and planning
  • Collect, analyze, and categorize data
  • Process invoices,  payments, and business expenses
  • Provide robust, multichannel customer support
  • Integrate seamlessly with current tools
Above all, online tools should accomplish these things with privacy and security in mind.

Consider as well:

  • The size of your company and expected growth
  • Your company’s mission and goals
  • Your industry and niche
  • Your audience
Keeping on top of eCommerce and marketing trends is also important if you want to remain competitive going forward.

Online Business Trends for 2022 and Beyond

When it comes to tech tools, it’s kind of a chicken and egg scenario. Technology both drives innovation and evolves so companies can keep pace with the latest industry trends.

For example, pandemic lockdowns and supply chain problems forced companies and tech developers alike to adapt quickly in an effort to keep the economy functioning and continue to meet ever-changing consumer needs.

Many tech advancements and shifts in corporate ecosystems were already in the works.

However, the scope and severity of the economic and social issues that emerged as a result of the global catastrophe accelerated the process and forced reluctant business leaders to adapt quickly or fall by the wayside.

Minds, methods, and service models were changed as a result.

Whether or not some of these trends continue remains to be seen, but at the heart of it, all was technology.

According to an analysis from NetSuite, these are some of the top trends to monitor in 2022:

  • Increasing dominance of voice search
  • AI-assisted efficiency, analytics, and sales platforms/apps
  • Augmented Reality (AR) to enhance the shopping experience
  • Prevalence of mobile shopping
  • Seamless integration for products and suites
  • Expansion of subscription models and customer support channels
  • Renewed focus on sustainability
  • Marketing and product personalization
  • Preferences for direct-to-consumer, ethical, and independent businesses
  • Increased customer success podcast
  • Increased use of automation
All industries are undergoing digital transformations to varying degrees. Business tools and technologies can be divided into three broad categories: adjacent, core, and transformational.

Core technologies are at the heart of your business tech stack. These are innovations related to marketing, finance, record-keeping, sales, and production. The transformational technologies initiate the biggest shift in how operational processes occur. These are innovations like AI, Big Data, and cloud-based services. Last, but not least, are the adjacent technologies that provide you with the information you need to make decisions, empower staff, and allocate funds.

These technologies can be disruptive innovations, incremental, sustainable, or radical. They, in turn, support the three pillars of digital transformation in the industry: customer experience, operational processes, and business modalities.

The trick is to select the technologies that will align your business goals with industrial trends and customer demand.

Given all of the above information, what should you include in your tech stack?

Here’s a collection of our favorite tools and timeless tips for your consideration.

31 Tools and Tips to Grow Your Business in 2022 and Beyond

1. WordPress

According to the CEO of Henfield Storage, “WordPress is the #1 website builder on the internet, powering 34% of all websites in existence and holding more than half of the CRM market. It supports eCommerce for everything from blogs to large, international brands.”

Not only is it user-friendly and economical, but the templates, plug-ins, and drag-and-drop simplicity also make it a great choice for those with little time or tech experience who want professional results with little effort.

Free to use, but you may need to pay for domain registration, hosting, and premium features.

2. Zenflowchart

This tool is the simplest flowchart maker to use day-to-day work to make the process transparent and flow. Whatever business you are pursuing this tool will help you organize your team and your project very easily flow. 

This is not only a flowchart maker, but also offers all-in-one productivity tools such as mind mapping, wireframing, whiteboard, notes, task management, and many more…

3. WooCommerce

This flexible, functional eCommerce platform is built on open-source coding. Weave it into your WordPress site as a free plugin and supercharge your sales platform. Features include inventory management, tax optimization, shipping integration, and more.

Best of all, it’s free!

4. EasySendy

This is an all-in-one hybrid email marketing solution. It is the most satisfactory option for marketers to send convincing newsletters to drive better opens, clicks & conversion results. In addition, you can effectively create customized email templates using drag-and-drop editors to target your potential subscribers. EasySendy will also provide A/B testing features to drive more profitable outcomes.

5. Shopify

This is the #1 eCommerce platform when you want to sell, process, and ship goods directly from your website. It’s great for drop shipping or retail, and the plans are all-inclusive. Everything you need to run an efficient, professional online shop is in the box.

Flexible paid tier structure, but they do offer a free trial. 

Mind you, if you’re leveraging Shopify for your eCommerce, be prepared to offer plenty of promotional deals and coupons. Because that’s what Shopify eCommerce businesses thrive off.

6. HubSpot

This tool is a highly popular, efficient customer relationship management platform (CRM). It handles inbound sales, marketing, and customer service through a suite of integrated apps. With these tools, you’ll have a detailed overview of customers and contacts, manage email campaigns, and segment or target accounts.

The free plan provides everything your SME needs to manage sales and marketing, but premium plans for larger enterprises are available.

7. Google Analytics

Although individual tools and platforms come with their own analytics dashboard, Google Analytics provides a more granular look at site performance and user activity. With this tool, you’ll know which pages are visited most often, how long each visitor remained on the page, and which search terms were used to find your site. Armed with this information, you can nurture your leads and optimize your site for conversions.

Free, but paid service is available.

8. Canva

This robust design platform allows you to do all of the graphics, and create logos and videos or images you need for branding. Includes hundreds of templates, filters, and customization features.

Free to use, but a premium version is available.

9. Slack

When you need a no-fuss collaboration tool, Slack is your go-to platform. With 10 million active users, this messenger app works on Windows, iOS, and Android. Use it for remote collaboration, interacting with customers, and meetings. Consider it the digital equivalent of your home office.

Free for up to 10,000 messages per month, but premium plans are available.

10. SEMrush

This comprehensive marketing and SEO tool help with your content marketing campaigns, customer and keyword research, and social media outreach.

SMEs can get a very functional version for $119 per month, with higher tiers available for busy or larger enterprises.

11. Payment Processing Apps

Although most eCommerce platforms include checkout and shopping cart software, you still need a means of processing payments and transferring funds to your business accounts. There is a range of free/low-cost payment processing platforms like PayPal that offer direct pay capability or credit card processing.

12. Hunter.io

How often have you searched for email addresses and contact information? Those days are over with this lookup tool. Features include domain search, email verification, and business contact information.

Free for up to 25 searches and 50 verifications per month. Premium plans are available.

13. Zoom

This is becoming the platform of choice for video conferencing. It’s so popular that using it has become a verb akin to googling information. Zoom is user-friendly, reliable, and great for everything from daily meetings to remote collaboration to televisits with clients. Video is HD quality and shareable with up to 100 people.

Free or Pro versions are available.

14. HootSuite

This social media scheduling tool coordinates social media posting, avoiding the need to divert your attention or hire a full-time social media manager.

15. Forekast

Seasonal events, holidays, and celebration days are great personalized marketing and revenue generation opportunities. With Forekast, you’ll know well in advance when it’s National Burger Day or Mother’s Day in any country. Not only will you get reminders, but they’ll list these important days right on your eCommerce site.

Free 14-day trial and $9.99 per month thereafter for notifications delivered right to your inbox.

16. Colorcinch

Colorcinch is an intuitive design tool that lets you edit photos and craft personalized graphics for stunning blog and social media posts. With its AI-powered photo editing tools and features, creating irresistible photos and branded visuals can be done in a breeze. Just choose from its library of stock images or upload your photo to start editing. And make use of the amazing filters, vectors, masks, and overlays available. 

17. Likes.io

This site offers Instagram services to your brand from scratch and grows engagement on your Instagram profile. Likes.io makes it easy to generate an audience for influencers and newcomers especially. Today it’s difficult to imagine life without social media, especially Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. While growing Instagram followers is easy enough to make your first impression worthy to your community.

18. Zapier

This is the best online automation tool around. It performs thousands of tasks so you don’t have to. Send leads directly from your website to Slack, send Facebook leads directly from your business profile to your phone, and much, much, more. With Zapier, even copy/paste is automated.

Get up to 100 tasks per month for free or scale up with several premium tiers of service.

19. FreshBooks

This is a comprehensive, automated alternative to QuickBooks. Take care of all of your invoicing, payment, and tax duties in real-time. Automatically updates all transactions and accounts, and it compiles all the information you need at tax time.

Offers a 30-day free trial and several premium packages for solo freelancers to the enterprise level.

20. Spike

Spike is the world’s first conversational email app. The app is upgrading the way SMBs work, saving you and your team time, sanity, and a lot of headaches. Spike’s goal is simple: bring all of your communication — your emails, chats, calls, team collaborations, tasks, everything — to one place. 


 
TAGS:

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Uday Tank is a serial entrepreneur and content marketing leader who serves the international community at Rankwisely. He enjoys writing, including marketing, productivity, business, diversity, and management.

Entrepreneur