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Smarter tools for smarter small businesses

07 Jun Posted by in Blog, Tools | 3 comments
Smarter tools for smarter small businesses

Over the past few months we have been given access to the core processes and procedures of many small Queensland tourism businesses thanks to the consulting sessions we are doing in conjunction with Tourism Queensland. Most of the conversation and training has been focused on e-marketing tools including SEO, Facebook, Google, TripAdvisor, Twitter and CMS’s. During the course of these conversations however, we have realised that more and more operators are keen to hear about what other “online” tools they could use for smarter business.

Using smarter technology has been at the core of our business since day one and it seems to be that each time we spend 5 minutes talking to small tourism businesses about our tool set it finishes with an “ah ha” moment. With that in mind we have compiled a little list that we are sure you will love.

Preselected business applications to bring administration joy to your small business

To use these tools all you need is one computer with one internet connection and one credit card. No server, no phone line (apart from ADSL), no filing cabinet… as these tools are based “in the cloud” as the geeks say. You can literally work from your car. So here they are, our top online business applications:

Content management system

WordPress stands out. It is lightweight, flexible and the community support is huge. It’s perfectly geared to the needs of all tourism businesses. Cost: FREE. Hosting: Under $200 per year

CRM (customer relationship management system)

Batchbook by Batchblue. Un-be-liev-a-ble. Want to know what your customers are up to before you pick up the phone and call them? No worries! Their Linkedin/Twitter/Facebook is integrated to their customer card… We also hear that HighRise gets a few good thumbs up but we are currently in love with Batchbook. Cost: $359/year for 5 users

Email Marketing

MailChimp – great free templates, easy to edit and update, excellent tracking and subscriber statistics and best of all there are website integration modules popping up for almost every CMS. Ohh, and the fun and cheeky monkey. Cost: FREE (paid options available)


We couldn’t live without Saasu and have been early adopters since 2009. Doing the accounts is pure joy. Cost: $270 per year (or 20 transactions per month for free)


Google Apps. 7GB of mail, 10 free accounts, viewable anywhere in the world (enough said!) Don’t even consider any other email system. Cost: FREE

Live Chat

Zopim Live Chat – integrated dashboard with mini crm capabilities, analytics like traffic records, history tracking and robotic agents to make life easier. Cost: FREE (paid options available)


JungleDisk – based online, in the “cloud”. Cost: $4 per user + $0.15 per GB per month. First 10GB per user free

File sharing with clients

Dropbox – share files without sending emails or multiple copies. Cost: 2GB FREE (paid options available)

Mobile phones

Optus business iPhone. Cost: $1,440/year, unlimited calls and huge data. We believe there may be cheaper for now but we haven’t had a chance to look. Suggestions anyone?

Office internet

TPGCost: $500/year

Office phone

MyNetFone and our virtual PBX. Cost: approx $1,200 per year incl. Calls


Note that the Batchbook CRM, MailChimp e-marketing software, Google Apps and the Saasu accounting system all integrate together. Can you do this with your Access Database, your PDF e-newsletter, your MYOB accounting system and your standard emails? (the answer would be no)

Without counting the phones you are looking at less than $1,000 per year to get your main cloud technology going for a small Australian business. This is what we call smart technology. We have spent hours over the last few years looking into, investigating and selecting the above-mentioned systems so if any of you can help grow this list we would be forever grateful.


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