As an entrepreneur or a small-business owner, there are innumerable things that you need to take care of. Since, the management hierarchy is pretty flat with lesser helping hands, you need to plan, supervise and often do a hands-on job in many cases. However with new technological aids in this age of digitization, small business owners need to equip themselves with ways to manage their work better and manage things more efficiently and effectively.
Productivity is not only the growth and success of your business, but it also factors on how effectively you are able to manage things so that you can utilize your bandwidth in other business activities like networking etc.
Business tools are digital apps or platforms which incorporate different capabilities and resources that a small business owner can use to boost productivity and manage tasks seamlessly. Many of them also help in decision making and planning the road-map ahead.
There are tools in different categories of operations or activities that are required for entrepreneurs. These are some of the most important sectors.
- Finance and Accounting
- Marketing – one very important part is Email Marketing which can be automated and handled efficiently with a tool
We will take up a few tools category-wise and discuss them.
Finance and Accounting
Quickbooks– This is a great tool for managing the financial and accounting aspects of your company. It gives a vivid picture of the financial health and aids you in taking important decisions. From sales and expenses, financial statements, payments of employees and vendors, invoices, to taxes- it manages it all. Profit and loss summary, managing tax implications, tracking paid and unpaid invoices – everything can be managed well with this tool. It integrates well with different banking accounts and payment platforms, where it also allows you to upload data from various sources. It simplifies tax calculations and lets you upload receipt images from phone. It works over both iOS to Android platforms and devices.
Gutso: It is one of the best online tools for managing the financial activities in an organization, such as payroll, tax benefits etc. In a striking way, it also takes care of new hire reporting, federal. local and state tax fillings, and many other processes, including emailing digital pay stubs to employees
SLACK: Staying connected and constant communication are the most important things when it comes to running a smooth business. Slack is considered one of the best tools for internal communication. Conversations can be segregated into private or public channels. It also allows direct messaging with easy file sharing capabilities. It is easy to upload images, send PDFs and other files. It efficiently indexes and archives messages, files and notifications. There is also no limitation on the number of accounts that can be added.
Pushover: This is one more efficient and inexpensive messaging tool which helps you to organize and manage communication in your Organization. You can send up to 7500 messages in a month for free and there is no restrictions on the number of notifications and Pushover works on both Android and iOS.
SQUARE: Mobile payment apps can be a great tool for entrepreneurs to manage customers on the go and also to track expenses. The use of this app gets s small card reader which attaches to the phone or other mobile devices to accept payments. It also has a point-of-sales systems for brick-and-mortar store, called the Square Register. This also works on both Android and iOS.
Asana: This web-based and mobile app is one of the best tools for collaboration, communication and delegation. This lets you view and assign tasks, project and track progress. The dashboard is very interactive which allows you to share notes, upload files and interact without emails. It also integrates with Google Drive and Dropbox to attach files, and Slack, to post updates to a Slack messaging channel.
Mailchimp: It is one of the giants in the email marketing space. Their advantage is usability and the price variation depending on the email list. It is easy to use in terms of design templates and can be customized as required. Its popularity can be assessed by the fact that last year around 250 billion emails were sent using this platform.
Engagebay: This is one tool which can be considered as an all-round solution for entrepreneurs and an affordable alternative for HubSpot. From email marketing to lead generation and CRM, it encompasses the major functions of a business. It is a complete solution for small businesses in a price within your most stringent budget. There is a lot of flexibility in terms of choosing CMS etc. which is not there for hi-end players like HibSpot. Engagebay also offers point-click-customize templates which the user can easily personalize according to their needs.
Some of the other marketing tool helps to support a small business owner are Sprout Social (for Social Media), Vimeo (video creation and promotion), Canva (visual promotion tool), Kissmetrics and Google Analytics (website analysis), Zendesk and LiveChat (customer service) and many others.
There are many more apps and tools that entrepreneurs and small businesses can use to boost their productivity and manage operations. An entrepreneur needs to wear many hats and to manage all roles seamlessly, these tools are very important for them. There are tools of different categories, purposes and price range. Entrepreneurs need tools that are either free or inexpensive yet complete in their functionalities and outcomes. Not all tools or platforms will be applicable for all businesses. As an entrepreneur, you need to choose the right ones at the best price that benefits your business, rather than hindering it with extra cost and efforts. While choosing tools, apps or platforms, an in-depth comparison of the features, pricing and ROI needs to be done to ensure the optimum result.
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