Managing a business in today’s high-paced corporate world requires excellent communication skills, passion, commitment, positivity, confidence, creativity, and all those traditional attributes. You also need to be acquainted with modern solutions and digital systems to simplify business administration.
No matter the size of your business, running it without software assistance is putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage. This article discusses some of the basic software solutions every business owner needs to invest in to streamline their duties. Read on to identify what you don’t have and how it can come in handy for you.
1. Business telephone system
Before the internet, no communications technology was more important to businesses than the telephone. Then the internet came, and everyone made the switch. Smart business owners didn’t perform a complete shift as there were still areas where the telephone performed better than the internet. What they did instead upgraded to the latest telephone systems for seamless and effective communication. If you have an analog phone system and wish to move to the cheaper voice of internet protocol (VoIP) technology, consider consulting experts for guidance on installation, costs, and other business-specific aspects.
“As your business grows, VoIP is often the more cost-effective choice because adding new users doesn’t incur additional setup fees. To put it into perspective, a business with 30 users could see savings of up to $1200 per month with a new VoIP system.” – as nicely elaborated by Blake Bobit, the founder of Solution Scout, in one of his recent articles.
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2. Project management software
Project management involves all the effort you put into ensuring your team’s workflow runs smoothly and effectively. Installing a project management solution not only simplifies supervision but also improves teamwork and productivity in your business.
There are dozens of decent project management systems on the market. Ensure what you choose is aligned with your unique needs and addresses as many facets of project management as possible. It should also be easy to use and have a straightforward, unified interface to facilitate concurrent supervision of several company projects. Review sites can save you the research hassle, but it is crucial to base your decision on your needs, not the needs of others.
3. Customer relationship management
Customer relationship management has ruled the software market for quite some time now, and it’s not hard to see why. Today’s CRM tools do more than offer contact management capabilities. Their scope of features touches marketing, sales, accounting, point-of-sale transactions, and other operational aspects.
From a business growth perspective, CRM solution helps you identify leads, follow their journey down the sales pipeline, and better their experience in subsequent interactions. Some of the most popular tools are so sophisticated you can use them almost single-handedly to transform your business. Ensure the software you choose offers maximum flexibility and won’t need additional solutions to perform essential functions.
4. Payment gateway
Merchants use payment gateways to process debit and credit cards and accept electronic payments. The payment gateway you choose determines several things, including the transaction fee, acceptable currencies, your payment methods, and the amount of time it takes for money to reflect in your account.
A study shows that more than 23% of online shoppers abandon shopping carts due to checkout complexities. This statistic shows that your choice of a payment solution provider can make or break the online aspect of your business. PCI compliance, fraud prevention, and compatibility with other business software are some of the more essential factors to keep in mind when choosing a payment gateway for your online business.
5. Accounting software
A few decades ago, there were no digital bookkeeping techniques, and even the largest corporations had to rely on individuals manually jotting down figures in paper ledgers. It’s even impossible to imagine how that worked with all the comprehensive accounting software we currently have at our disposal.
Business accounting systems significantly help businesses cut back on labor costs and minimize the prospect of errors. It also facilitates easy and quick access to critical business data for essential insights and planning. When choosing an accounting software tool, consider your budget, tech know-how, compatibility with other software, scalability, and online or offline capabilities.
6. Budgeting system
Excel might deliver the goods in personal budgeting, but it most likely won’t a solution for business budgeting. Business finance management can be a headache, and lack of a proper budget — displaying your cash inflows and outflows in a single interface — can lead to costly mistakes that can cripple your company. Before making any decisions regarding budgeting software, ensure you understand what you want and separate the must-haves from the luxuries. Perform side-by-side comparisons of the various solutions on the market, and check which ones are built with your needs in mind. Take your budget into consideration too, and don’t forget security concerns and your expansion plans.
7. Payroll software
Payroll processing is often associated with plenty of processes and paperwork. It is one of the most intricate and time-consuming processes for small business owners and the need for a management solution to streamline it always sets in early. Finding a useful payroll tool can take some workload off your shoulders, eliminate administrative headaches, and ensure your company scales with a satisfied workforce.
The market is awash with payroll services — each tailored to meet a different set of needs. The cost for acquiring each varies as well, with desktop versions likely costing less in the long-run than online software. Choose a software solution that not only fits your budget but also offers flexibility in payment types, pay periods, tax depositing, and time and attendance.
8. Asset management software
Manual asset management may seem easier and more cost-effective at the start, but it will most likely cost you a fortune in the long run. This is especially true if there are many assets to manage or you regularly add to your inventory. An asset management system ensures everything is in perfect shape and helps you plan their use and therefore maximize their efficiency and return on investment. If you run a logistics company, for instance, you will need a tool that helps you monitor the geographical location of each of your vehicles in real-time and helps you perform route planning and optimization. You will also need to check driver availability and assign duties in a way that gives the business value for its money without necessarily overworking or underworking certain drivers.
9. Photo editing tools
This is often overlooked because many marketers and small business owners do not understand the significance of image quality in the effectiveness of their marketing content. If you post regularly on social media or create blog posts using infographics and photos, you need a way to ensure quality consistency in your content. For example, on your web pages and blog, where image size and quality are critical SEO factors, you might struggle to resize photos manually each time you upload. A good software tool will provide you with extensive editing power and possibly let you calibrate settings for future editing needs.
Fortunately, there are many such tools that don’t even require pro design or editing skills to use. Find what suits your skill level and put it in your marketing arsenal for the future.
10. Word processing
Word processing is crucial for businesses of all sizes. Today, most office processes require some typing, and due to the significance of the information in some documents, businesses are left struggling to find a solution with accuracy and real-time collaboration issues.
While default desktop word processing tools such as Microsoft Word and TextEdit can perform basic functions, you may need cross-platform document editing applications for easier collaboration across departments and employees working remotely. One such tool is Google Docs. This is a free Google-owned service that works just like Microsoft Word but allows different people to work on the same document simultaneously without the need to enable special features. It also saves work automatically you edit, meaning your progress won’t be lost in the event of a power outage, system breakdown, or loss of internet connection. The primary downside to it is that it requires an internet connection and may prove an inconvenience if you have to use it outside the office.
11. Communication software
While most of the apps in this list facilitate communication in one way or another, they are relatively limited on that aspect, at least compared to dedicated tools such as Zoom, Skype, or Slack. These are designed to allow for direct written, voice, and video communication between team members. You can even hold conference meetings with hundreds of employees located in different places.
The best part about mainstream communication tools is that they are recognized by almost everyone and can thus be used as a solution for communication between the business and customers. They also offer better call alerts and conference scheduling features to ensure no one misses pre-planned sessions. No matter the size of your workforce or the number of departments that directly rely on each other, ensure there is a reliable communication tool in your arsenal if you want to promote teamwork, streamline functions, and get the most out of your workforce.
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These are some of the top business solutions to consider incorporating into your daily business processes. If you are looking for specific tools, take the time to familiarize yourself with your business needs, and visit review sites to identify the highest-rated solutions in various categories.