Running a small business isn’t easy. It take a lot of time, so whenever you can use software to help run, manage and operate your business, it should be something you at least look into. Often times it makes the operational process, which can free up more time for you to use in areas that help grow your business.
The last thing you want to do is suck up all your time doing meaningless tasks that could be handled using the correct software applications. To help you do a little software and program audit, here are several must-haves that you should look into if you’re not already using them.
If you are still doing your books the old fashioned way then you are wasting time. Manually entering data into books by hand is wasting resources. And while there are many accounting software options available, QuickBooks is the all-time favorite.
“QuickBooks is standard, and I would be willing to bet that the majority of small businesses are using this option,” says Andrew Tran of weighted blanket manufacturer Therapy Blanket. “The nice thing about this is that you can grant access to your accountant, so they can easily get to any information needed.” This is a much more convenient option than dumping it all on them right before April 15th.
There are a few different option available, but the basic one is adequate for most SMBs.
Are you doing word processing, creating spreadsheets or making presentations? Or are you reading these type of documents? If so then you need to have an active Microsoft Office subscription.
“Not only do you need a MS Office account to create and read documents, but if you want to use Outlook as your email client you will also need this,” says Loren Taylor of Soothing Company. “You can get access for as little as $69.99 a year, and that allows you to install your license on multiple devices, like a desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile device.”
There are some knock-off products that are similar, but they never work properly. Always go for the original.
“Google’s GSuite product gives businesses the ability to use its Gmail email platform for their email system, which is the primary reason most opt to go with this option” Says John founder of Full Face Snorkel Reef Masks
Gmail is a great email client, and if you are using emails on your own domain, like on this Gold Coast pest control company, then you can use GSuite to run them through Gmail. It’s a great solution and it’s very inexpensive, at around $5 a user per month. Aside from the email, you also get cloud storage and Google Docs, as well as access to all of their other applications.
It’s a very affordable software that will enhance your business. Nothing will come close to this in terms of dollar value. It’s first in its class. You can launch a fitness blog and use GSuite to create custom email addresses that use your domain name, but Gmail’s functionality.
If you have a CMS need, then this is one of the most powerful options, as you can integrate it with almost anything out there and it allows you to create custom rules that will automate a large percentage of your marketing effort.
“InfusionSoft’s autoresponder and automation process is top of the line and you can set custom rules and features that act differently according to how and when a prospect responds or takes action to either another email or to a piece of content on your website,” offers Chris Moberg of Slumber Search.
Because InfusionSoft is so complex, it can take some time to really understand all of its features. There are a lot of InfusionSoft experts out there that you can hire to not only set it up for you but walk you through the entire platform and really explain all its capable of. The more you understand it, the better you can leverage its full power.
Installing Intercom on your website is like hiring a fulltime customer service agent and having them work 24/7 for you and never asking for a day off. If you are a service provider or an e-commerce website then this is a great addition.
“Intercom is great for live chat as well as for initiating conversations offline in the event that it’s afterhours and your office is closed,” says Ignacio Soria of CANN & Co. “If a visitor clicks on the chat icon and it’s when your business is closed you can have it pre-set to ask them to leave a detailed message and a contact number so you can answer their questions as soon as you reopen.”
It’s very affordable and the analytics and data it collects can be used to really improve your business.
Slack is something that almost all remote teams use. It’s an internal communication platform that keeps all conversations, notes and ideas in one central location for all to see and access.
“Slack is great for all businesses, from large creative teams consisting of dozens of people located all over the world, to local businesses with a few employees all in one small office,” says Pat Skinner of AnswerFirst, a company you can read more about here. “I like it just for the communication capabilities. Rather than having people using multiple different chat platforms, emails, texts, etc., you can keep all communication on Slack.”
When you make it a rule to keep all communication on a Slack channel you eliminate excuses, lost communications, etc. It’s all there, all the time, and for all to see.