When you run your own business, you have to wear lots of hats - business owners are often head of finance, product designer, project manager, marketing guru and IT expert. Having to do it all can be an enormous challenge and many of these tasks present a significant learning curve for those starting a business; they are often repetitive and labour-intensive, slowing your progress at a time when you're trying to build a brand and grow a customer base.
The good news is that there are a host of apps and online tools that can help you make light work of many of the day-to-day tasks involved in running a business. By reducing the overheads associated with time-consuming administration, you can boost productivity in your business and cut costs.
These apps can be niche products, such as payroll software, or they can be a suite of tools, such as Bitrix24 - a comprehensive business management platform that offers a wide range of tools to help small businesses cut costs and boost efficiency.
Here are 15 key tools and apps that could help make your business run more smoothly and become more profitable:
1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM): A CRM system keeps all your customer data in one place, helping you to improve customer service, increase retention rates and boost sales by providing detailed analytics and automating many of the tasks associated with customer communication.
2. Project management: Project management tools help you to make the best use of your resources - they allow you to track the progress of tasks, improve time management and make it easy for teams to collaborate on projects. The end result is higher productivity, better accountability and more efficiency.
3. Document management and storage: A document management system can help your business on many levels - it reduces the need for physical storage space, improves security, helps you comply with data regulations and makes it quick and easy to find the document you need when you need it.
4. Accounting and finance software: An accounting app is an essential tool for any business and if you are VAT-registered, you must use an approved finance app under Making Tax Digital rules. Finance software can help you with everything from invoicing and billing to tracking expenses, managing cash flow and filing tax returns.
5. Inventory management systems: Managing stock can be a headache and a drain on your time. An inventory management system helps businesses to optimise their stock levels, reduce excess inventory and cut their storage costs. As well as saving you money, a stock management system is key to giving your customers a great service.
6. Communication tools: Online communication and collaboration tools are great for businesses where staff work remotely. By facilitating messaging and video calls, businesses can cut the time and money spent on travel and create happier, more productive teams.
7. Automation software: There are many ways to automate everyday tasks in your business and they will free up your time. Useful automation tools include email marketing automation, social media scheduling and customer support chatbots.
8. Cloud computing: Cloud-based services are an essential tool for businesses, offering safe and secure storage of data, documents and images that can scale as your business grows. You don't need to invest in expensive hardware and, with a choice of data allowances, you only pay for what you need.
9. HR and payroll software: The administrative time and cost of employing staff can be a heavy burden for a small business. HR and payroll software allows you to streamline employee management, making it easy to track attendance, comply with employment law and manage payroll and tax.
10. Online marketing and advertising platforms: Online marketing and advertising platforms can help your business grow, by allowing you to reach new customers and target specific groups as part of your customer acquisition plan.
11. Customer support and helpdesk solutions: A helpdesk system can be a great way to manage customer enquiries efficiently, helping you to resolve issues more quickly. Improving customer service with a helpdesk app can be key to getting more sales.
12. Ecommerce platforms: You can turbo-charge your sales by using an established ecommerce platform to expand your online sales channels and reach a broader customer base.
13. Analytics and reporting tools: Get valuable insights into the performance of your business that will highlight cost-saving opportunities and identify areas where there is room for improvement. Website analytics, for example, are key to getting better results online, improving your search ranking and helping you make more sales.
14. Cyber security solutions: The cyber threat is growing and breaches can be a serious set-back for a small business. Investing in cyber security software is essential to protect your business against data theft and to mitigate against any financial losses.
15. Mobile apps and responsive websites: Your business needs to connect with customers in the way that they prefer - and for many people that means using responsive websites and smartphone apps. Mobile apps, in particular, can enhance customer engagement, improving the user experience and boost sales.
All of these technology solutions can be tailored to the specific needs and goals of your small business, helping you to cut costs, optimise your operations and boost efficiency and profitability. By using a platform like Bitrix24, you can reap the benefits of many of these tools in one place.
Copyright 2023. Article written by Rachel Miller, Start Up Donut