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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

Best apps: for organising and planning

Thanks to online tools and mobile apps, it has never been easier to organise all aspects of your business life. Here are some of the best free and paid small business apps that can help you get organised

Best apps for to-do lists

monday.com

A simple, visual project management tool that lets you quickly and easily see what everyone in your team is working on. It can be used to manage to-do lists, tasks and projects across your team.

Todoist

A very popular planning app for organising your to-do lists. You can prioritise, set reminders, collaborate with others and plan the best way to get things done.

Evernote

Take notes, grab a screenshot, record audio or copy a link - Evernote captures all this information and then organises it, indexes it and makes it searchable - perfect for small businesses.

Omnifocus

Omnifocus records and organises all your to-dos and syncs them so you can get an up-to-date state of play wherever you are. A business planning app powerhouse available for iPhone and iPad.

Top business finance apps

FreeAgent

A record-keeping app to help small businesses, start-ups and the self-employed track business income and expenses. Costs start from £19 a month for sole traders; free trial available.

Sage Business Cloud

Sage Business Cloud is aimed at freelances, self-employed people and SMEs. In addition to helping you manage your accounts, it offers everything you need for keeping track of payments, payroll and your people - just pick the functions you require. Enjoy a 30-day free trial of Sage Business Cloud Accounting Start, or get 50% off for three months.

xpenditure

Take photos of your receipts and manage business expenses on the go with this popular mobile app.

Quickbooks

If you use Quickbooks for your business accounts you can download the free Quickbooks app to help you track income, expenses and tax payments on the go from your Android mobile, iPad or iPhone.

Xero

Manage your business on your iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone, including sending invoices, adding receipts and monitoring expenses.

Business password apps

Dashlane

This app lets you automatically generate and save new passwords, and you can store IDs, credit cards, and other business information for auto-filling on any website.

LastPass

LastPass remembers your passwords and other information and stores it securely in a 'vault', which syncs with any device automatically, so you have access to your business passwords wherever you are.

Best apps for business files

Dropbox

Dropbox allows you to sync business files online and across your computers. Access your files from wherever you are and share your files and photos with others using the free Dropbox app.

SugarSync

Automatically syncs files and folders across multiple computers, allowing you to access business documents, photos and music wherever you are. SugarSync also offers automatic, continuous backup for all your files. Free 30-day trial.

Google Docs

Google Docs allows you to view, share and edit business documents, spreadsheets and PDFs from other computers or from your mobile phone.

Top parcel-tracking apps

FedEx

The FedEx app, available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices, allows you to track business packages while they are in transit, as well as locating your nearest FedEx office.

Deliveries

Deliveries allows you to track packages from UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL, TNT, and more. You can also track business orders from Amazon and Apple, even before they even ship. See your package’s location in Google Maps. Available for iPhone and iPad.

Business apps for organising your thoughts

iMindMap

Mind-mapping software that can help improve the way you brainstorm, capture and organise ideas and plan projects.

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