Learning & Insights
Tools for managing your small business
As a business owner, you continually work to improve your offerings, including using advances in technology. Consider how technology can help you manage your business and maximize your success.
Protecting the information in your computers is critical. In fact, in some states and certain industries, it's a legal requirement. To ensure you have this protection in place, you'll need up-to-date versions of anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-malware software. If you're uncomfortable purchasing or updating these software products, consider hiring an IT specialist to help.
The right accounting software can save you time and money. You may still want to hire an accountant for certain purposes, but using accounting software (like QuickBooks® or Quicken®) can give you a quick and accurate view of the financial state of your business at any time. Plus, you can quickly send invoices and create financial reports.
Today, many project management applications are cloud-based. These real-time workspaces let employees and outside partners keep an eye on every detail of a project, with some more advanced apps allowing you to generate reports, capture issues, and integrate invoicing and billing.
To find the right tool for you, talk to your team about the features that would be most useful. That way, you can find the system most likely to help you increase efficiency, lessen frustration, and improve productivity—ultimately reaching your business goals.
Hiring employees can be a complex process, especially for small businesses. Conducting background and reference checks, verifying employment, skills testing, drug screenings, and verifying education are all time-consuming but necessary steps for hiring the right person. Using hiring tools such as automated resume screening, online recruiting sites, social media apps (like LinkedIn), and referral programs, will help you expand your team efficiently and effectively.
Marketing your business
In today's market, you'll need to find ways to improve your email marketing, website, and overall social media presence. There are many inexpensive options to help you market your business and stay relevant. Check out complete marketing solutions like Hootsuite®, Trello®, and HubSpot®—these services give you online project management, social media content, and online website and sales support. Make a list of what you need and then find the best fit. The key is to find the right tool at the right price for your needs.
File sharing services
Your team can post, share, and edit all kinds of documents using a cloud-based file sharing service. It's a great way to collaborate with co-workers, partners, and clients, from any device or location. You'll find these tools to be more efficient than emailing documents back and forth, and they'll help you stay current on pending projects.
There are many tools available to help remote workers be productive and feel connected—from something as simple as Skype® to more robust products like HighFive®, Evernote Work Chat, Slack®, or iDone. Tools like these will help your remote team increase productivity, job satisfaction, and retention rates.
What tools are right for your business?
The answer to this question depends entirely on your needs. Evaluate where you could be more efficient, or where you could improve communication. Also, consider how to reach your customers better and protect sensitive information. Then, take a closer look at the tools others in your industry or community use.
Taking advantage of the latest business tools will help you not only be successful now, but set you up for a brighter future.