As unprecedented technology continues to penetrate consumer markets, small businesses are at a position to leverage the available software tools to streamline workflow and ultimately accelerate growth. But with the myriad of software programs being developed, packaged, and bundled with all sorts of add-ons, it can be overwhelming for a small business to find the right type of software that actually helps their business grow rather than delay it with a steep learning curve and costly monthly fees. Here are five types of software that every small business will benefit from.
Maintaining an organized process for your financial accounts becomes incredibly harder as your business grows. Manual systems traditionally put in place are simply not scalable. Fortunately, accounting software such as Quickbooks and Zoho can help with your accounting needs by aggregating and automating data including all records of business transactions within functional segments, such as payroll and accounts receivable/payable, that are easier to anatomize. Accounting software also smooths out the transition businesses must traverse when deciding to transfer their filing cabinet data into computer.
Enterprise resource planning software enables a small business to control integral business systems and back office functions through a user-friendly and mobile suite of integrated applications. You can use ERP software to manage anything and everything related to technology, services, and even your HR department. Compiling your data into one centralized location leaves no risk of duplicated data and gives you a linear view of the actual data and processes you have to work with.
Dropbox, Vyew, and a slew of other collaboration programs are empowering businesses of all sorts and sizes with a secure and robust media for collaborating around projects and conducting regular meetings. Small businesses are less likely to have remote office locations than their larger counterparts, but collaboration programs definitely pave the way for their workforce to remotely access data wherever and whenever needed thereby increasing productivity and output month after month. Google Docs is another great example of a software tool that helps you share files and collaborate with team members in real time. A simple word processor and spreadsheet are the only two things you need to start, and they don’t even cost any money.
Customer relationship management software isn’t merely reserved for Fortune 500 companies and unicorn startups. It can be a powerful tool for small businesses as well, such as mom-and-pop shops, delis, and cafes. CRM software allows the user to manage the sales process, track potential customers, and provide follow-ups in a timely, accurate, and organized manner. Some training is required to use the more intensive CRM programs but the learning curve is a worthwhile trade-off for the better workflow you get out of it. Be careful when shopping for CRM software as not all available programs suit your business’s specific needs and goals. Make sure it is scalable, mobile-friendly, and can be integrated with your business’ existing platforms.
Backup and Recovery Software
Backing up your sensitive and crucial files and documents to a more secure server should be a priority. The process, however, can be fairly tedious and thus a potential deterrent for business owners who recognize the benefits of data backup and recovery but are afraid to get into the complex interface and terminologies involved. Back up your data with a reputable and proven backup service provider, such as Mozy. The process should take less than an hour of your time to download the required program and set up automation so that you can easily back up files and content you’ve liked online.
All five software programs featured above are independent of each other. When they intersect precisely, however, the changes to your business can be immaculate.