Advertising
Advertising

7 Tools To Help You Build And Automate Your Online Business

7 Tools To Help You Build And Automate Your Online Business

Online businesses can be ideal for passive income, once you get them up and running. One of the keys to making your online business successful is to make sure that as many details as possible run on their own; you don’t need to touch them every day. You can do this through delegation, if you’re a large enough organization, but many online businesses are made as lean as possible.

These seven tools will help you manage your online business while keeping your time focused on the important parts of managing your company.

Make marketing campaigns happen on time

When you’re setting up a marketing campaigns, we often suggest that you create an editorial calendar to make sure you’re not repeating yourself, and you’re covering topics in a timely fashion. Hootsuite both lets you schedule your posts for the key moment in the future to make a maximum impact, and lets you track the effect of your posts across your networks.

You can add many of the most popular networks to your dashboard, allowing you to spread your posts quickly and easily without logging in and out of everything. You may also be able to avoid getting distracted by last night’s live tweeting of your favorite show.

Advertising

Send high-quality email newsletters with minimum workload

One key in the modern era of blogs and social media is to make sure that you have access to as much of your contact list as possible. Facebook has repeatedly shown its willingness to change algorithms to make it more difficult for businesses to reach their followers. Enter Mailchimp, a great newsletter tool that allows you to access your mailing list at any time.

You can design graphic newsletters, more simple text based ones, or something in between, and when the next big social network arrives, you can easily invite your followers to join you there as well!

Events planning and registration

If your company organizes events for customers or signs people up for online seminars or classes, keeping events running smoothly can be a trial. Events Planner helps. Integrating seamlessly into your WordPress design, the plug-in lets you manage an unlimited number of events.

You can offer both individual and group registrations, see a list of attendees, send email reminders and offer discounts. You can set up your registration forms in any way you need to. You can accept a wide variety of payment types and create discounts as necessary. Plan your training and then let Events Planner collect fees and remind everyone to attend on time.

Advertising

Distribute document templates easily and seamlessly

For many businesses, branding of documents is an important element of presenting a consistent message to the world outside your company. Businesses often struggle when a template is updated, finding that people have old copies saved on their computers, or that someone can’t access the right network folder.

With Templafy, you upload a document template once, and everyone in your organization seamlessly accesses it. Problems solved. Anywhere your employees can access the Internet, they have the templates they need to do their work.

Eliminate in-office email with a team messaging app

How much time do you lose in a day to inter-office mail? If you need to quickly communicate with coworkers, a team messaging app can be much more efficient. Slack lets businesses organize their conversations around channels, making them easy to follow. Sorting through information at a later date is easier. Private channels can be created for more sensitive topics, and you can even private message someone for a quick one-on-one conversation. You can also easily share files through this platform.

Private channels can be created for more sensitive topics and you can even private message someone for a quick one-on-one conversation. You can also easily share files through this platform.

Advertising

Checking your email can easily become a frustrating time-suck, while using team-messaging keeps users more on task and focused on the moment.

Innovative printed products to offer as freebies

Many companies focus on giving away items at trade shows, prizes online, or with orders of a certain size. It can be difficult to know what types of freebies will give you the biggest boost for your buck, but if you can dream it, odds are The Printful can make it. From posters to leggings, their options are incredible. And if you want to make your company logo into a sideline business instead of a freebie, the site can even help you set up an online shop where you can sell your designs. You can also create mockups on the site which you can then use for your own marketing.

And if you want to make your company logo into a sideline business instead of a freebie, the site can even help you set up an online shop where you can sell your designs. You can also create mockups on the site which you can then use for your own marketing.

Generate leads and improve sales options

For many businesses, Salesforce is considered one of the most involved ways of automatic different aspects of following up on sales leads, tracking the sales funnel and determining what’s working and what isn’t. As one of the most expansive customer relationship management (CRM) programs available, Salesforce is accessed entirely through the Internet.

Advertising

This lets employees do their work anywhere, they have an Internet connection, inside or outside of the office. It is most well-known for its sales modules, allowing users to track opportunities and manage contacts from all over, but there are also available modules for marketing, analytics and service.

The software is also so well-known now that some companies can custom design modules to work with the Salesforce CRM, allowing for ultimate customization. Businesses pay based on the number of users accessing the app and the program is generally agreed to scale well with business size.

Business owners have a lot on their plate. They need to manage the overall business, create marketing strategies, delegate tasks and make sure everything runs smoothly.

Especially if a business is just getting off the ground, CEOs tend to wear many different hats. By automating whatever they can, they free up their time to focus on the really crucial business tasks, instead of posting social media updates and making sure that all the computers in the office have up to date forms, and of course, these are just a few of the available tools to help your business move to the next level.

What tools have you used for your business to improve the company environment and push things into a higher gear?

More by this author

Margarita Hakobyan

MBA from the University of Utah

7 Tools To Help You Build And Automate Your Online Business 6 Things Your Moving Company Might Not Tell You How To Create A Money Making Blog Starting A Blog? Here are 5 Things You Should Know 4 Things Your Boss Doesn’t Want To Hear (And What To Say Instead)

Trending in Productivity

1 How to Find Your Keystone Habits to Change Your Life 2 7 Steps to Start Living Your Dream Life Right Now 3 10 Reasons Personal Growth Is Important No Matter Your Age 4 5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning 5 How to Read Faster: 8 Simple Tricks to Triple Your Speed

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on November 5, 2019

5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

Businesses rely on talent to generate and sell value. Without skilled people to create its products, manage its operations and execute its strategies, a business would inevitably fizzle out of the game and leave better-staffed competitors to take the field.

This is the reason why ambitious companies go great lengths to attract top talent,[1] shelling out millions of dollars in the process and bending traditional work policies just to bring highly skilled but demanding candidates into the fold.

Clearly, the contours of business are changing. But so are the demographics of work.

Millennials have become the dominant generation in the job market in terms of population, and some have already transitioned into leadership roles. Most millennials consider opportunity to learn and grow more important than overall compensation.[2]

Companies also today expect employees to come equipped with razor sharp business acumen.[3] Unfortunately, there is an alarming discrepancy between the actual skills businesses need and those currently possessed by job candidates.

To stay in the game, employers need to continually upgrade their training and skills development strategies to cover the entire employee lifecycle.

What are Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

Learning management systems are software-based solutions for authoring, presenting, consuming, storing, and tracking educational content and training materials. These systems aim to centralize all instructional content (e.g., lessons, training modules, instructional videos, presentation slides, worksheets, online quizzes, ebooks, takeaway notes, etc.) in one place.

LMS enable instructors to design and deliver learning experiences to students, with the added capability of evaluating the effectiveness of the instructional materials and grading the learning progress of students.

On the other side of the equation, learners use LMS to develop skills and acquire new knowledge virtually anytime and anywhere via the different channels and content formats made possible by digital technology.

Over the years, a wide range of features and technologies have been integrated into learning management systems to help enhance the experience of training designers, instructors, and learners. These include cloud and mobile technology, artificial intelligence, responsive design, scheduling, gamification, data analytics, and interoperability with other applications.

5 Best All-Purpose Learning Management Systems

There are dozens of LMS vendors catering to the general market or to specific segments such as K-12 learning, higher education, and corporate training.

Advertising

With so many options available, selecting the right LMS solution for your needs can be complicated and costly, especially when you end up adopting a platform that doesn’t exactly match your goals or requirements.

Short of conducting a comprehensive audit of your needs and finalizing a learning roadmap, the safest bet would be to adopt full-featured but affordable LMS solutions.

Based on user reviews, here are the 5 best LMS to help people gain knowledge, build skills, and achieve mastery:

1. Canvas Network

Launched by Instructure as an open source software in 2011, Canvas is an end-to-end cloud-based service originally engineered for the education sector.

Widely adopted for K-12 and Higher Ed learning, Canvas can be repurposed for anything that involves an instructor, a subject matter, and a student.

Used around the world by people of all ages and organizations of all types, Canvas arguably has the largest learning and support community in its class. It works on desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.

To get a glimpse of the platform’s fresh interfaces, you can visit the Canvas Network, a learning community that provides educational and instructional materials created by colleges, universities, corporate businesses, independent course developers, and other knowledge-sharing entities around the world.

Hosting hundreds of interesting topics from data science to horticulture, the learning network also serves as evidence to the scope, capabilities, and popularity of the Canvas LMS platform.

Canvas is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, which enhances the platform’s reliability, speed, scalability, and overall online performance.

Additionally, platform adopters enjoy a low-risk environment since cloud-based solutions require no hard stops for version updates, upgrades, or system migrations.

The Canvas website does not show a price matrix but says the service adopts a simple formula for computing fees: a one-time implementation fee and an annual subscription fee based on total number of users. It also promises free basic services for teachers who want to use the platform.

Advertising

In addition to Canvas, Instructure also offers Bridge (an LMS designed for corporate environments), Arc (a video platform for online learning), and Gauge (an assessment management system).

Check out this video if you want to learn more about Canvas Network:

2. Google Classroom

This free service from Google aims to improve the teaching and learning process using cloud technology, web apps, workflow simplification, and seamless communication between students and instructors.

Using Classroom, educators can easily create and schedule classes, distribute assignments, send feedback, and grade quizzes all in one place. By streamlining processes, Classroom helps teachers save time and organize classes more effectively. Both students and teachers can also work using any device anytime and anywhere.

Classroom works perfectly with other Google tools, having been launched initially as part of Google’s G Suite for Education. This LMS solution taps Google Drive for content storage and distribution, as well as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for the creation and sharing of instructional materials. Meanwhile it integrates Google Calendar for scheduling and Gmail for communication.

With G Suite, other communication channels such as chat messaging, video conferencing, and a dedicated website are enabled.

Easy to set up and manage, Google Classroom is free to use. One of my very first courses was actually hosted on Google Classroom.

Going beyond the classroom environment, Google offers G Suite Enterprise for Education for large institutions. This suite provides enhanced search and analytics capabilities as well as advanced tools for enterprise communications.

3. Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)

If budget and capability equally top your list of LMS adoption criteria, then Moodle might just fit the bill. Which is to say there’s none (i.e., bill).

Moodle is a free and open-source learning solution for distance education, workplace training, flipped classrooms, and other pedagogical environments.

It is also a full-featured LMS supported by a robust community and a thriving developer ecosystem. Not surprisingly, Moodle is used in more than 15 million courses by more than 130 million users in 230+ countries.

Advertising

Among other things, Moodle enables administrators and educators to create a dynamic and dedicated website to host organic, easily accessible, and highly customizable courses that can be experienced on desktops and mobile devices anytime and anywhere.

Moodle provides a personalized and intuitive dashboard as well as a host of collaboration tools for content designers, teachers, and learners. A universal calendar, an efficient file management system, an automatic notification system, multimedia integration, and a progress tracking tool all come with the package.

Check out this video if you want to learn more about Moodle:

4. Absorb

This platform recently bagged PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award for Best LMS.

Co-designed and built by former course authors, Absorb takes learning experience to the next level. This turnkey LMS solution is responsive, full-featured, and highly customizable for maximum impact.

Course developers can orchestrate a wide range of experiences depending on audience or learning situation. In addition to surveys, polls, and e-commerce integration, Absorb supports formal online learning and certifications standards such as AICC, SCORM, and Tin Can.

The user interface can also be modified to match the learner’s location, group, or department, allowing for a different look and feel for customers, channel partners, management trainees, and newly hired employees.

Absorb supports all personal computing devices from desktops to mobile phones. There are also native or hybrid apps for iOS and Android.

The only possible drawback to the platform’s powerful feature set is its pricing. The service reportedly implements a flat, one-time setup fee depending on your business and training requirements. According to the site, any plan comes with a dedicated success team for your account.

Although small companies are welcome to try, midsize to enterprise-scale organizations are probably the best segment to readily adopt this LMS solution.

Take a look at some examples of Absorb in this video:

Advertising

5. Watershed Collaborative

Created by a group of educators, this nonprofit rethinks the priorities of an LMS, asserting that too many systems miss the most essential elements of what makes learning stick. They promise a better user experience – emphasizing Learning before Management and System.

Watershed aims to support an inquiry-based learning experience through an integrated mix of online and in-person learning strategies and interactions designed expressly for teams – including collaboration, reflection, and dialogue.

While Watershed was founded initially to serve the K-12 education market, the company has since expanded its scope to cater to all types of teachers and learners with its video-rich, state-of-the-art platform.

If you’re a mission-driven educator, content creator, institution, or business, this LMS may be the one for you.

Watershed specializes in assisting you with the instructional design of courses and provides content production services to ensure top-quality video assets with lasting value. Their LMS makes it easy for course creators to continuously update and tailor content to support small and large groups, while ensuring the technology and instructional strategy supports communities of learners.

Pricing varies based on products and services, but revenues support the nonprofit’s ability to make its platform and courses available at little or no cost for high-need educators and educational settings.

Honorable Mentions

There are dozens of LMS vendors in this growing market and the brands included in foregoing list are by no means the only viable options for companies or learning institutions looking to upgrade their learning infrastructure.

Many other excellent services are worth checking out. These include:

  1. Docebo is an LMS designed for hyper-engaging students, employees, customers, and other learners. The system helps organizations identify and resolve competency gaps with strategic learning interventions.
  2. Cornerstone OnDemand is a talent, training, and performance management solution offered as an SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). This service enables learners to create personalized playlists of instructional content.
  3. Lessonly is an LMS solution that makes it easier to recall and reinforce whatever skills or knowledge you have learned through quizzes, coaching, and constant practice.
  4. Skillsoft is an online training and corporate learning platform developed by a two-decade old and billion-dollar company with the same name.
  5. D2L BrightSpace is a learning management system that has all the basics for delivering excellent, rich-media experiences for classroom or workplace training.

Conclusion

There are many ways to learn but some are more effective and meaningful than others. Whether you are a teacher looking to enhance classroom learning or an HR manager creating a long-term talent development plan for employees, the key to impactful learning is to understand and bridge the needs of learners, the goals of your institution, and the actual capabilities of the learning tools you are considering.

Note that using multiple LMS platforms is possible although not recommended. On the other hand, adopting other learning solutions beyond LMS (such as podcasts, mentoring, and onsite in-person workshops) may significantly improve learning outcomes. Always go for products and plugins that seamlessly integrate into your core LMS tool.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next