Running a business in today’s world can seem to some like an endless battle to keep things afloat. Markets change, customer habits evolve, and goalposts shift regularly.
It is worth seeking every bit of help you can get, and the good news is, it’s all out there just waiting to make life a little easier; to save you precious time, resources and money.
If you can identify those areas where a little extra help could make all the difference…
A common issue for small to medium enterprises is the occasional need for specialised financial know-how. There are accounting software packages out there, such as Quickbooks or Xero, that can solve that problem. They allow you to customise invoices, accept payments, manage tax and run payroll through a simple interface.
Users can also file VAT directly to HMRC in the UK, saving around 8 hours per month and a lot of stress.
Customer Relationship Management
CRM software can handle sales and marketing with a level of efficiency that a small business might struggle to match otherwise. The automation that CRM brings to the table can help a business manage interaction with customers and potential customers, plan and manage marketing and make the most of sales opportunities.
CRM can give businesses a new level of automation and a real advantage over their competitors.
It is much more than Word, Outlook and Excel. Throw in calendars for diary management, Teams for remote working and other lesser-known apps such as MileIQ for tracking expenses, To Do for comprehensive task management and Bookings for any business relying on appointments, to name just a few.
Office is packed full of potential for every business, which takes the time to really get the most out of it.
An engaging, authoritative presence on sites such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram can do so much to earn authority and drive people to a company’s site or services, yet how many neglect it when things get busy elsewhere?
A website can benefit massively from a blog. It can be a place to showcase new products and services, identify an audience’s problems and provide solutions. Blogs are also the perfect tool to drive people to your e-commerce pages and help you climb the search engine rankings.
Many SME’s rely on freelance writers and virtual assistants to keep their websites full of engaging and meaningful content then utilise the services of tools such as Missinglettr to create up to a year’s worth of social posts from a single blog piece.
An easy and effective way to direct traffic to your site while you might be busy doing other things.
When looking at planning software we need to think of a few things
- It’s usability
- The interface
- Cost and value for money
The key features you are looking for are
- planning and scheduling
- task dependencies
- Project timelines, calendar views and roadmaps
- Task management
- Collaorations and communication feeatures
- Budget planning and tracking (by project)
- Client portal
It really depends on what the needs of the business are; do you want an all-in-one team tool or just a planning/task tool.
The list is endless in this section. Some of the big names have used the planning software as the base for their collaboration and ‘all on platforms’. These include; Avaza, Click-up, Flowlu, Monday.com, Plutio.
But if you are looking just for a planning tool then you also have Microsoft Planner, Asana, Trello. Microsoft planner can be used on it’s own or inlcuded in Teams to be a collabortive tool.
We are now all familiar with tools such as Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts and Zoom; these tools have gone from occasional use to vital business tools in under a year. It is also worth bearing in mind that tools such as WhatsApp have an engaged user base in the region of 1.5 billion users; that is quite a bit of potential for any business.
But there are the chat / pop-ups on your website, such as Birdseed.io
Websites and Graphic design
Every business with an online presence relies on the quality of its website to match the quality of its products and services. Still, is it necessary to invest (often heavily) in a specialist web designer?
Sites such as Wix and WordPress give users all the templates, tools and simple interfaces they need to create eye-catching, quality-hosted websites for a much more modest annual investment.
They also offer to work with their teams to build better sites and make the most of the SEO tools on offer.
There is no list or set of tools that will fit every business out there. The collection of tools we use and how we use them can be as individual as the business.
But, as a business evolves, so do the tools. It is essential to audit the business as a whole to see what is being used. It is not uncommon to find indiidual department using different providers for the same tool, e.g. Mailerlite and Mailchimp. This risks duplication of data, and an increased risk to data breaches. But there is also an increas in costs.
If you are thinking about tools to improve your business or if you want to learn more about the right tools for you, why not book a slot for a free discussion with me here?
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