Sometimes building and scaling a business begins as a single-person passion project that becomes a career. The entrepreneurial spirit often includes commitment to your brand and a willingness to do whatever it takes to reach a bigger audience. If you've ventured into the world of small business management, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. You might be your own accountant, web designer, human resources person, social media manager, and content creator while you manage operations within your industry.
Lucky for you, we understand the scope of running a small business and we want to lend our experience to help you streamline your workloads. Software for small businesses are tools that can make you feel like you've just hired another set of hands. Today's business software can offer everything from real-time market analytics to collaboration tools for your globally-located remote team.
Here are our top 5 favorite types of software for small business.
Project management is the meat-and-potatoes for a small business, and how well you do that determines how successful your business can become. Project management software is multi-faceted, and some offer reporting features like individual employee project and time tracking, team workflow trackers, communication tools, and document management that helps simplify customer relationship management. Some tools even use artificial intelligence to constantly monitor and analyze marketing data and to assist with inventory management.
Some of our favorite project management tools are Trello, Asana and Nifty. These platforms help manage workflows, time tracking, and collaboration in one inclusive meeting place. Easily reach colleagues and employees with their in-app messenger service and organize projects by date, client, sub-task or due out. Trello uses no-code machine learning automation to streamline workflows for your entire team and Asana organizes and analyzes data to organize your projects and make them more accessible to your team. You can check out a video of Nifty's capabilities here.
Best eCommerce Software
If you want your business listing to be able to accept credit cards and bank accounts for online payments, there are a variety of options for you today. When searching for eCommerce/online pay tools, make sure you assess whether there's a fee for bank transactions, or any other potentially hidden costs. Depending on the size and scope of your business, as well as how much you're willing to pay for eCommerce solutions, there are a few great options.
For small businesses, we love PayPal because it's easy for the small business owner to set up on a business webpage. It takes just minutes to connect a secure payment processing solution that most online shoppers are familiar and comfortable with. Now, PayPal offers some protections against fraudulent transactions with a PayPal Business account. It also allows mobile users to quickly convert their crypto account value on the platform to other currencies used to make online purchases. Paypal users can now even transfer money from Venmo to PayPal to pay online since PayPal acquired Venmo in 2013.
For larger businesses, or those who don’t love PayPal, Stripe offers more customized plans at close to the same rates as PayPal. It’s designed to scale with your business and makes the online buying process easy for your customers.
While more small businesses are built by remote teams than ever before, software tools that can promote collaboration and the sharing of content, ideas, and resources are a must. Even in-person teams can benefit from shared collaboration tools and resources while they work from their desks. Team members can contribute design ideas and make creative contributions to the same project from across the room or across the globe.
Collaboration tools are also crucial for keeping creativity flowing through your team and encouraging ambitious projects while incruing with minimal risk. Our favorite collaboration tools for small business this year were Flock and Slack, communications platforms that do much more, and the previously mentioned project management tool Nifty. Nifty acts as both a communication and workflow tracking tool, allowing businesses to track projects and creators to track and collaborate on sub-tasks. Adobe Creative Cloud is another great cloud-based tool that allows access to more than 20 of Abode’s design applications, including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Premiere Pro. Teams can enjoy the collaborative capacities of each of those programs and small businesses enjoy a more inclusive, creative brand.
Building a webpage to help assist and inform your potential audience about the ins and outs of your small business is a great place to start building a business. If you want to be able to include pricing plans and allow financial transactions on your page, you’ll need a web builder to help you get set up with that. Web builders are great business tools and there are many to choose from in today’s virtual economy. When deciding which will work best for you, it's important to consider whether you’ll need advanced features like an intuitive interface or video content. If this is your first time developing a site on your own, we recommend using web builders with accessible customer service representatives.
Based on these criteria, we like web builders like Wix, WordPress and GoDaddy. Each offers an intuitive interface that helps you make design choices to reflect your brand using templated and customizable concepts. Each can also help you choose a relevant domain name and stake your claim on it. They’re user-friendly and have strong ratings from their users. They’re also easy to reach in the event that you need assistance.
Financial reports and expense tracking are easily automated when you find the accounting software that’s best for your online business. Today’s accounting software offers accounting services, detailed reports, and financial health tracking at the touch of a button. Business accounting software now offers accounting features like real-time budget assessments, easily presentable and accessible analytics with customizable graphs and designs, payroll management and even business travel tracking.
While some offer different features than others, you can decide what you need as a freelancer or entrepreneur and what you’d like to spend. Some solutions that we like are intuit QuickBooks and Quick Books Self-Employed for freelancers. If you’re looking for a free service, Wave is another great alternative. QuickBooks is a well known and commonly used software that offers accessible customer service and extensive training resources. It’s also great for scalability and can be used along with QuickBooks Payroll.
The benefit of an increasingly virtual world is that there is now such a wide range of online resources for building, managing and scaling your business. Other programs and tools like Google Drive and the entire Google Suite are great for document management and easily accessible, shareable, professional presentations. Google Meet is a reliable video conferencing service that allows remote teams to reconnect from around the world. Google workspace is another great project management and collaboration tool.
When deciding which softwares will work best for your business, don’t be afraid to try different products. Many companies offer trial periods or free 30-day trials for new customers. This is often a great way to test the waters before you commit to a particular software type. Some software companies charge a set monthly cost, while others might charge by user per month.
If you’re a business of only a few staff, this might work in your favor. Before you purchase accounting software applications, be sure to look for transparent pricing and whether you need the extensive features offered by some. Some tax accountants like H&R Block offer additional accounting services like payroll management and bookkeeping.
Written by: Office Evolution Clark
Office Evolution has more than 70 locations open, 140 units sold in markets across the country and is poised for further growth as the demand for affordable and safe, workspace close-to-home continues to rise.