Running a small business can be stressful enough without having to constantly worry to about every detail. You’ve got a lot to juggle, but there are plenty of programs out there that can make your life easier as a small business owner. Here are five tools that we think every small business should be implementing, because why make things harder than they have to be?
- Dropbox– If you aren’t using cloud storage for your business, you absolutely should be. Drobox is a popular option that offers 2 GB of free cloud storage, with upgrade options starting at only $9.99 a month. Cloud storage is a great way for your business to be mobile friendly and to clear office files off your home computer. Working in the cloud also enables team members to collaborate instantly and remotely. There are plenty of alternatives to Dropbox: Google Drive, Mega, Amazon, OneDrive, and a host of others. Find the service that makes the most sense for your business model.
- Appointlet– Missed appointments cost you money and time- neither of which you can afford to lose. Scheduling appointments can be confusing, especially if there are multiple people involved in a meeting. We recommend trying Appointlet, which allows clients to schedule appointments on their own. It syncs with your google calendar and will even send out reminders to your clients about upcoming meetings. It’s like having your own personal secretary on your computer – so you will never miss another conference call or lunch meeting.
- Insightly- Having good customer relationship management (CRM) software is almost like having someone do your work for you. There are so many variables involved in customer service that having software to help you keep track of everything for everyone is almost a necessity. Insightly is the most economically priced, but other options are available. Salesforce and SugarCRM both cost a bit more but are highly recommended by our team.
- Wave Accounting– You didn’t go into business for yourself to spend all of your time on budget reports, but tracking the numbers is one of the most important aspects of being a successful entrepreneur. When you need some guidance with bookkeeping, we suggest Wave Accounting. It’s a great, free app that will help you with invoicing, budgets, payroll and lots of other tasks. One of the few downsides to Wave is that they don’t offer timecard tracking. So if you that add-on, we suggest Freshbooks, a cloud accounting program, as a low cost option.
- DocuSign– Let’s face it: fewer and fewer small businesses are investing in fax machines. With the ease of email, video conferencing, and instant messaging, faxes are almost obsolete. That said, when you need an official signature, snapping a photo with your camera phone might not cut it. DocuSign is quickly becoming the way of the future for online business. DocuSign provides an easy way for you to get documents signed that are secure, valid and legally binding without all the hassle of meeting in person or trying to find a fax machine.
- Trello- Good project management can greatly increase your business’s productivity and make your life easier. Trello is an online collaboration tool that allows you to organize your projects into simplified boards with three status updates: completed, pending and in-progress. If you want a more in-depth project management software we recommend Smartsheet as a good option.
- PilmerPR Reputation Monitoring–Reputation is everything in today’s world. PilmerPR reputation monitoring services can help you see what is being said about you on social media on a daily basis. Don’t let negative attention on social media ruin your business. You want to know what is being said, the good and the bad; it can end up saving your business.
These five tools should help your small business get up and running – or if you’ve already established your business, they may help make your life easier. We also want to note five “honorable mentions”, we highly suggest you check these five tools out as well:
Weebly- For free web design that stands out
Any Perk- For a great way to offer your employees perks such as movie tickets or discounted travel
Compete.com-To see how your web traffic compares to the competition
Legal Force- Which allows you to search through millions of trademarks, logos, domains and more to see if your idea is already in use
Last Pass– The password manager that securely manages all your passwords so you don’t have to remember dozens of them.
These programs and apps are all valuable, and we know that they can be lifesavers in helping your business run more efficiently. Of course, we’re always here to help in all your marketing and entrepreneurial needs.
Contact us for a free consultation on what we can do for your business today.
What are your favorite programs or apps for small business that you have found?