10 Must Have Tools for Small Businesses
It starts right from the moment that you create your company.
Any budding entrepreneur is familiar with this scenario. You wake up in the morning, make a cup of joe for yourself, and sit down at your computer to get to work. You open up your laptop, go to your email, and voila! You have a hundred new messages.
Excitedly, you peruse through these emails, believing that there’s a new purchase order or warm customer prospect somewhere in the haystack. But no — it’s all salespeople trying to market their solution to your small business needs.
Any small business owner knows that they’re the target of ‘a hundred-and-one online tools’ marketing strategies. It makes it so much more difficult to actually separate the wheat from the chaff and realize what tools are necessary and what are just a marketing scam.
In this article, we’ll help assuage some of the difficulties in that process. We’ll list ten of the most critical tools to a small business’s success.
1. Business Phone System
If your small business is any greater than just yourself, then you absolutely require a business phone system to operate smoothly. The right phone system will provide a range of benefits.
Firstly, it will ensure that some of the load is taken off yourself. It will route the more routine calls to the most appropriate person in the company so that they don’t take up your precious time.
With a phone system, you also don’t have to put your personal phone number out there on the Internet, which will no doubt result in your personal number becoming a favorite target of robotic calls.
2. Business Email
Few things are more unprofessional than a personal email account used for business purposes. If your small business is online (which it should be), then your email definitely needs to reflect that.
Instead of [email protected], you should use a tool that allows you to set up an email that reads [email protected]. That will look infinitely more professional and indeed lend you credibility so that you secure more business.
3. Payroll Stub Creator
Gone are the days of Excel payroll when everything worked out of a spreadsheet. Now, you have a multitude of tools out there available to automate pretty much every part of the payroll process, including stub creation.
The right payroll tool will not only produce and help mail check stubs, but also manage direct deposit, give you insight into your payroll analytics, and much more.
4. Marketing Automation
You could have the best product idea in the world, but if people don’t know about it, then what’s the use? With marketing automation, you are enabled to spread the good news of your product across the Internet.
Marketing automation tools package email marketing, segmentation, website interaction, and much more all in one neat little setup. This is a must-have if you want to fuel rapid growth.
5. Server Backups
If your business hosts a lot of data online, then you need to purchase some kind of service that will allow you to backup your data frequently. Depending on how much data you produce, you’ll want to backup your system at least once a week. Ideally, that figure would be multiple times a day.
However, the cost is a factor. More backups mean more cost. You need to find the right service that fits your budget, and then also find the right balance for your automated backup schedule.
6. Tax Reporting
Few things can kill a small business’s momentum as getting on the wrong side of the Internal Revenue Service. It’s crucial that you’re doing your taxes right the first time to avoid getting audited and potentially fined.
Use a business tax tool to eliminate mistakes from your process. Particularly for those small teams out there, chances are you don’t have a dedicated bookkeeper and don’t have a lot of experience filing business taxes. The right tax tool will overcome that technical gap.
7. Project Management
Project management is crucial to actually executing the lofty goals that you have set for your business. A project management tool will allow you to set project deadlines, task due dates, and assign resources as necessary.
It will also enable you to visualize the progress of a project in a neat little color-coded calendar so you can easily tell if something is not going according to schedule.
8. Social Media Scheduling
Social media is the king of the Internet right now. If your business isn’t leveraging social media marketing to popularize its website, then you’re missing out.
Remembering to post on social media, though, can often be a pain. That’s why you should take advantage of one of the social media scheduling tools out there. Most of these tools are free and let you schedule out an unlimited number of posts. That way, you can knock out all of the social media activity for the month in just a few hours.
9. Internal Chat
An internal chat tool will take collaboration to the next level. Slack is the most popular tool in this space, but a ton of different options exist.
Email is too business-like and cumbersome for an internal conversation with multiple people. The right chat tool will speed up that kind of communication.
10. Online File Hosting
Whether it’s Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or another option, your company needs online file hosting. This will enable your employees to collaborate on the same documents and presentations online.
In addition, it provides a space in the cloud that your employees can access the same material from whatever location in the world. No large email attachments or USB drives required.
Solve Small Business Needs with the Right Tools
One of the top things to do when starting a business is to identify the right tools to solve your small business needs.
Remember that you don’t have to buy everything in the candy shop. Only invest in tools like the ones above that are proven to provide you a return on your investment.
For more small business advice, be sure to check out the rest of the articles on the website!