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5 Useful Online Tools for SMEs During Lockdown

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When there’s a will, there’s a way. And when your will is that your small, growing company does not go under, then you will find a way to stay afloat. Enter the world of online tools for business.

We firmly believe in silver linings. And while COVID-19 is certainly a black smudge on the start of a new decade, there are some positives that we can take away from it, starting right now. 

When lockdown forced us all indoors it took surprisingly little time for our enterprising species to find a way around the work issue. Obscure online tools which we vaguely remember hearing about suddenly burst into the public consciousness with a vengeance. 

Lockdown Life – Online Tools for Enterprising Businesses

It turns out that there is no good reason why most of us can’t carry on with business as usual. Remote working has suddenly become the norm and we are, rather excitingly, getting to know our team in a slightly different way; Michelle’s cat sleeps on her keyboard during meetings and Tom’s twins regularly try to set fire to the grass lamp in the living room. 

In the interests of South African businesses in lockdown, we have gathered information on some of the most convenient and enterprising online tools available to us to keep our businesses ticking over. 

Let’s dive straight in.


Without a doubt, Zoom has emerged as the champion of lockdown life. An easy-to-use, stable platform ideal for video conferencing, collaboration and chat, Zoom is the darling of businesses everywhere. 

Meeting with clients or your team is easy, with the host having control over the meeting with the ability to mute participants, call on someone who raises their virtual hand, or turn the video on or off. A chat feature is included as well as the ability to share files and documents.

Google Hangouts

Hot on the heels of Zoom is Google Hangouts, another communication tool for interoffice chat, file-sharing or video calls. Contacting a customer is easy via call or video chat, and it syncs beautifully with your smartphone. A video call also offers the option to share screens which is excellent for training purposes.


HelpScout is an online customer management and communication tool.

With a simple and uncluttered interface, your team can share mailboxes, connect with customers in a variety of ways, and track all communications seamlessly. 

They also offer a brilliant reporting tool which helps to measure the team actions, no matter where they are, and offers detailed insights to enable you to stay on top of your customer service. 


In a similar vein, Hubstaff also helps to track work time for businesses with scattered staff. Without having the benefit of your staff around you to ensure maximum productivity, it’s easy to lose time… and money.

Hubstaff makes it simple for your team to track what they’re working on without clunky time-sheets, track the movement of your fleet in real-time ensuring deliveries are running smoothly, and can even take automatic screenshots of your team’s screen during their working day. 


When it comes to online payment tools, Stripe has emerged as an excellent option.

They allow businesses to create a customised checkout option on their website which automatically responds to the requirements of different devices. Thereafter, your customer is presented with flexible payment options including:

  • Credit card interface plus in-person card payments, refunds and automatic CVC/AVS checks
  • Wallet payments such as Apply pay, Microsoft pay, WeChat pay, etc
  • Invoicing, payment requests, subscriptions, etc
  • Full list of world currencies
  • Plugin to eCommerce stores such as WooCommerce, Shopify, Salesforce, etc

Tying Them All Together

These are incredibly smart online tools which all businesses can make good use of, but these barely scratch the surface of how businesses are interacting online.

Of course, to make the best use of this range of tools, we need to tie them into a secure, fast and stable connectivity solution. If the web is going to be the backbone of your business, then you want to choose the best option available, right?

There are many downsides to lockdown, and we never want to dilute the seriousness of this situation. 

But if it teaches us one thing, it’s that we are a resilient bunch and we will always find a way to pull ourselves out of the mire and thrive once more. 

Let’s do this together – let’s connect. 

Sourced from: Huge Connect Blog. View the original article here.

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