8 Free Boosts For Your Business by admin on February 9, 2017

It’s Free!

Why add unnecessary costs if you can avoid it? Here’s how SME owners and managers improved the workplace – without spending a penny.

“Live Chat has increased our sales inquiries”

Rebecca Clayton, marketing manager at glazing and home design specialists IQ Glass, says:

“We’ve always used free apps whenever possible, and one of our favourites is Live Chat, which is a service you can install into your company website that allows potential customers to send a quick instant message. Your sales team can then reply in real time, start a dialogue and try and convert that potential customer into an actual sale. It’s a much more instantaneous way for customers to get in touch than having to fill in an enquiry form, send an email or call, and one great feature is if a person visits for the first time, you can set up Live Chat to send them a welcome message. In the past, some of our potential customers may have visited the website, looked around and gone – meaning we’d have lost them.”

“A mentor helped us to define a clearer path”

Ben Gamble, co-founder of creative events agency Shout About London, says:

“In business, you have to accept you can’t do everything yourself, so we looked for a mentor who would provide us with an invaluable, experience-based business perspective on us as owners, and also on our business itself. We applied to the British Library’s Innovation for Growth Mentoring Programme last year and it connected us with Ken J Davey, the founder and MD of Smarter Limited. He’s honest and open and has helped us focus our mission statement and also to think about our short-term and long-term goals. This has helped us define an even clearer path for the business, and what really helps is he isn’t from the events industry. I’d urge any SME to give it a go.”

“We saved thousands on developers’ fees”

Alex Boothman, founder of MyLegalAdviser, says:

“Zapier allows you to connect your favourite web apps easily. By automating repetitive tasks and linking tools together, you can make your business more efficient and productive, and I love Zapier because it’s so versatile but still easy to use. Think of any repetitive task you have to do and Zapier can help you by automating it for you – things like triggering emails to new sign-ups or automatically following up on unpaid invoices. We recently used Zapier to create our Business Health Check, a free tool that gives businesses a personalised report on their legal health, and it saved us tens of thousands of pounds on developers’ fees.”

“Our office dogs make everyone feel at ease”

Alex Grace, MD at Banana Moon Clothing, says:

“Alfie is a Welsh springer spaniel, Fergus is a cockapoo and Meg is a Westie, and they’re great to have around because they’re always doing something silly, so they make people feel at ease. No matter how rough a day you might be having, they can always make you smile and pull you out of a bad mood. For visitors, they help break the ice and are more often than not a discussion point. It’s great for the dogs, too, because instead of being at home, they get to see so many friends from the company every day.”

“We made video-conferencing easier with free calls”

Andy Doyle, director at website, branding and app specialist Weheartdigital, says:

“The video collaboration tool Appear.in offers free video calls and is possibly the thing we use the most because we have clients and team members who work remotely and from all around the world. We find it extremely productive and easy for new users. You simply create your own URL and send it to people who don’t need to register or give you their contact details. That means it’s great for those quick video calls with clients and prospective clients as no emails or usernames need to be shared.”

“An online design tool has boosted sales”

Gillian Crawford, founder of Lily Blanche fine jewellery, says:

“Canva has opened up a world of possibilities for us. As a design tool, we find it so much easier than [image editor] Gimp and more accessible for the team than Photoshop. It lets us easily resize our customers’ photos and insert them into our lockets, and we also use it to make frames for our videos. I recommend Canva to every small business owner I meet. Our online sales are up 130% this year, and in part that’s thanks to Canva, which has revolutionised our business.”

“DO Lectures video talks led to a new business idea”

Martin Ballantine, MD of PR and social media agency Piracy Corporation, says:

“I think of the DO Lectures as like a free-range TED; I’ve never been in a buzzier, more inspiring environment for all manner of progressive business thinking. Watching the free DO Lectures video of a talk by Dan Kieran – co-founder of publishing platform Unbound – led me to book a DO workshop with him, which opened my mind and inspired me to the possibilities of creating and funding my own FMCG product. I defy anyone not to have gained some business or personal boost from watching one of these videos.”

“An app called Doodle has made scheduling meetings much simpler”

Joshua Ogle, co-founder of The White Rabbit Pizza Company, says:

“Our staff work in different areas and the three co-founders are always out and about in meetings, so we aren’t always in the same place at the same time. We needed something where we could easily see everyone’s availability, and after trying and failing to get everyone to log their free dates, we found a free app/website named Doodle that provides you with a table of dates – known as a Doodle poll – for our staff members to pop a tick or a cross on. So far it’s working great.”

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