Without your staff, your business couldn’t work, but do they have the tools they need to get the job done?
Around 70% of all workers in the American workplace aren’t working as well as they could. Productivity drops like this affect your profits and bottom line.
That’s why you need the right business tools to make it easier for your staff to work. A better run business is a more productive one, and the right tools can make all the difference.
If you want to boost productivity, here are 9 small business tools your business needs to invest in.
Social Media Management
Building up your business brand recognition means interacting with your customers, and there’s no better place to do that for free than on social media.
Social media management is one of the essential business management tools for a modern business. If you don’t, you’re neglecting a free and organic way to find, interact and sell to new and existing customers alike.
Management tools like Hootsuite, for instance, help you keep track of it all. They can schedule posts, as well as organize them across various accounts and social media networks.
Not convinced you need to worry about social media? It could make or break your business, as our article on social media and marketing tools will explain.
Data Backup Tools
Most businesses rely on data — it might be customer contact details, product information, or electronic receipts for your accountant to look through. Whatever the reason, are you prepared for a data loss crisis?
You could set your business productivity back months, even irreparably, if you lose data or information that’s critical to your business. That’s why you need to invest in tools for data backup.
These will vary in size and scope, depending on your business requirements. A small portable hard drive might do the trick or you might need to invest in a cloud backup solution.
Customer Service Platforms
Without customer service, your business won’t have customers, so investing in a customer service platform could be a smart move if you’re looking to invest in only the most essential business tools.
Online platforms like Zendesk offer businesses a one-stop solution for customers to find out information, ask questions, and get answers to problems. They make customer service management easy for businesses to organize and maintain.
They also make it easy for a business to identify any recurring problems. If the same questions or issues are cropping up, a platform like this can help identify them.
Web and Graphics Design
There’s no point investing in a customer service platform if you don’t have a website to match. That’s where you need web and graphic design tools to hand to help you build or update your web presence.
We’re not necessarily talking about coding a site from scratch. Online solutions like Wix, Squarespace or WordPress help businesses create websites and graphics without needing to know HTML or CSS.
If you want to make your web content more appealing, investing in a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud could give your business the design tools it needs to create images that suit your brand.
Having a website offers one of the best ways for customers to find and interact with modern businesses, local or otherwise. It’s 2019 — can you really afford not to have one?
Accounting and Bookkeeping
Nobody likes to think about their taxes, but without accounting and bookkeeping tools, you’re setting your business on a collision course with the IRS.
Tools like Quickbooks or Sage aren’t only about paying your taxes. Accounting applications for small businesses help business owners keep track of their incomings and outgoings.
They can help keep track of invoices that need to be paid on both sides to keep your business cash flow healthy.
If you are worried about your taxes, then don’t worry, as these tools help you record your business transactions. When it’s time for you to fill out your tax return, all your information will be available.
Customer Relationship Management
We’ve already mentioned how a customer service platform can be one of the wisest business tools for a business to invest in. If your business is customer driven, a customer relationship management tool should be on your wishlist, too.
This isn’t about interacting with customers, but analyzing their interactions with you. A major part of any business operation is to identify how they can attract and keep new customers to their business.
Having a CRM tool can help you do that by letting you review a customer’s interactions with you. Contact details, customer transactions, product sales — a CRM can provide you with all that data in one place.
If you want to generate new leads for your business, a CRM can help you find where your new customers come from, and help you use that data to grow your business further.
If you’re building for clients, you’ll need tools to help you keep track of your project progress. Project management tools, like Trello or Asana, provide that functionality for businesses of any size.
Project management tools tend to be many different tools in one, from task scheduling to invoice generation. Businesses need tools like these to help reduce wasted time and to improve business productivity overall.
They’re also useful for helping to audit your performance. If productivity is slow, project management tools can help you identify the source of the issue so you can resolve it.
With productivity increased, your business can then focus on its primary mission — serving your customers and clients and making money doing so.
Stock and Supply Management
Retail businesses can’t run their business without tools to help them keep track of their stock and supply chains. That’s why you need, you guessed it, stock and supply management tools to get the job done.
These help you keep track of what you have in stock to sell and what you need to buy if your stock is running low. Some supply tools can also help forecast your requirements based on previous usage levels, or identify upcoming expiry dates.
If you’ve got a supply management system in place, the only thing left to worry about is keeping it up to date. Choosing a barcode scanner for your business can help you make a stock audit and identify what stock you actually have.
Any discrepancies can help you track stolen or missing stock, a neverending problem for retail businesses to deal with.
Social media offers one route for businesses to market their products, but what about others forms of marketing, like email?
If you want to build a list of potential customers to sell to, you’ll need a marketing list, and email marketing tools can help you create one.
Aweber and Mailchimp are two major marketing tools for business emails. They help you create and schedule emails to be sent to thousands of potential customers, either as one-offs or on a regular rotation.
Keeping in touch with customers with tools like these can help spread the message about new products, sales, or upcoming events to help your business grow.
Small Business Tools Help You Run a Better Business
Just like a mechanic needs a spanner or a plumber a wrench, you need the right small business tools on hand to help your business become as productive as possible.
Everything from your stock management to your customer service can be improved with the right kind of business management tools. If you want your staff to work effectively, give them these tools to help make their jobs easier.
Take a look at some of our other finance articles for ideas on how you can run your business or personal finances more effectively.