How new tech tools and services can help small business owners manage their finances, attract customers, hire talent, and operate more efficiently.

By Joe Cross

Small businesses in the U.S. are a major economic force, although some are still hesitant to embrace the opportunities a global presence can bring. From the broader talent pool to the wider base of potential customers and access to cheaper goods, business owners can leverage modern tools and services to accelerate grow without over complicating their operations.

For business owners looking to expand internationally in 2017, here are a few tech tools and tips to consider.

Stop Sending Money Through Your Bank

Do you currently pay invoices to overseas vendors? 54 percent of U.S. small and midsized businesses send or receive invoices from vendors in another country. Yet, many (1 in 5) don’t realize how much they’re cheated by poor exchange rates. TransferWise for Business is a simple, money-saving solution for moving money internationally. Offering the real exchange rate and with no sign-up costs or monthly fees, TransferWise makes sending money abroad up to 5x less expensive compared to using a business bank account. TransferWise can help ensure your expansion is not only convenient but also economically feasible.

Market Your Brand More Effectively and Comprehensively

Marketing automation allows small business owners to more effectively market through multiple channels. In the past, filling the whitespace between basic email software and high end platforms has been prohibitively expensive. For small business owners that want to graduate beyond email marketing, Autopilot is an affordable option to help small businesses automate their marketing, rekindle old customer relationships, reach new audiences, and grow their bottom line through an easy to use, drag and drop interface.

Intercom is an excellent resource for applications, serving to convert visitors into leads and leads into customers through a variety of communication tools. Website live chat allows you to connect with visitors in real-time and when it comes time to continue the conversation, leads can be captured via email. Their customer engagement tools target messages to onboard users, make announcement and help guide users through your application.

Step Up Your SEO

SEO can be paramount to the success of young businesses, especially those with brick and mortar locations. SpyFu is a SEO tool that exposes the secret formula of your most successful competitors across sales, online marketing and digital advertising. This helps increase website traffic, track keyword ranking and make better connections with partners and sales leads.

Ahrefs knows communication is a two way street. The platform assists in full service SEO strategy by knowing when others are talking about you. Their features allow you to track your backlinks, keywords, and brand mentions.

Streamline Your HR

With approximately 6 million businesses in the U.S. that have employees, 40 percent still do payroll manually, and nearly one-third get fined each year for payroll mistakes. Gusto allows small business owners to manage payroll, benefits, and HR in one place.

Empower employees through Justworks’ employee dashboards, which encourages individuals to manage their own benefits and find what works best for them.

Be More Transparent With Prospective Hires

As millennials look to replace boomers in the workforce, they present their own ideas and expectations of how businesses can run. kununu is an employer insights platform that allows users to write anonymous, honest reviews about their personal experiences at companies in a wide range of industries. kununu’s commitment to transparency in the workplace benefits both potential employees and employers themselves because it allows hiring managers to maintain company pages to consistently attract the right talent. This means there are no ‘first day surprises’ for either side.

Joe Cross is the U.S. General Manager, TransferWise.