When you’re starting out in business, it can be challenging to know where to get help and support to take your business further. There are so many resources and advice you can utilise, but working out what works for your organisation sometimes feels like finding a needle in a haystack. With the amount of information out there, selecting the best option for your needs takes time and patience. Some tools are also a significant investment, which you cannot afford from the outset. To help you in the process, let's take a look at some of the best tools of the trade.
Many new businesses rely heavily on spreadsheets to run the financial aspects of a business. Although these might come in handy for specific areas, they may not be able to give you visibility of the whole picture without delving deep into the numbers. To help get a grip of the basics of costings in your company, choosing a finance software package is a must. Depending on the size of your organisation, there are a number of packages to suit all requirements. Some are basic systems that separate expenses, invoicing and tax calculations. Whereas others have detailed reporting segments, integrated stock control and customer relationship software built in.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
If you want to run a tight ship and need a solution that ensures everyone on a project stays up to date, then a CRM system is a must. There are several effective CRM packages on the market that range in price. Plus, they are essential for companies looking to automate processes and keep everyone in the loop, including sales, marketing, and managing customer records and communication. This software is critical for streamlining processes and helps to keep all data in one place for ease of accessibility and security.
Communication is vital for any business, no matter the size, so using reliable tools for the job is a must-have. It’s never been easier to do business with people all over the world, and with the range of communication apps and software, you can chat over the Internet with ease. VoIP is a popular method for many organisations, and this option also provides an affordable way to communicate with everyone from team members to suppliers. Software such as Skype also gives you the opportunity to have video calls and also bring in several people into a chat wherever you are in the world. You could also try a full business communication platform that integrates communication tools, workflow technology and contacts all in one place.
Online stores and payments
If you’re selling physical stock having an online platform is essential to convert sales. There are numerous options, including self-build e-commerce solutions such as Shopify and BigCartel, that have easy to implement website building tools, and user-friendly interfaces. If you have the funds available, building a website from scratch is also a viable option. One of the most critical aspects that you need for this website is an easy-to-use checkout system. E-commerce packages have built-in shopping carts that are optimised for the customer experience, however, if you’re selling via other methods, using a checkout software solution is critical for completing those sales. You can find a number of options available, many are free to set up but do often have a transaction fee. So look around and do your research, as you will depend on what you plan on selling and how much of it to ensure you’re getting the best deal for your company.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) tools
If your website isn’t getting many hits and you’re wondering why it might be because no one can actually find you in the search. A mistake many small business owners make is building a website and expecting it to just work for them straight away. The technicalities of how a website performs in search results can be a little daunting, but it’s now the time to learn a bit more to help take your business further. You don’t have to be an SEO whizz to get the basics down, and there are hundreds if not thousands of resources online to get you started. There are some top software options too, to see how you’re performing including Moz, SEMRush, Ahrefs and seopowersuite, although you will want to research costs as some can be a significant investment while others have free (basic) setup options.
Social media platforms
Practically everyone is one social media these days, so if you’re not using it, then you could be missing out in a number of ways. Social media isn’t just a place to promote your products and services to customers, it’s also a way to engage with your audience on a more personal level. Another way to utilise this funnel is by encouraging customers to share their experiences of your brand and products. Ok, so you may face some element of negativity, but overall you should be looking to work with your audience to deliver a service or product they want and need. If you’re looking to run advertising campaigns for your business too, social media can be an affordable way to target specific markets and shoppers that are looking for your particular offering.
These are just some of the many tools you can find to help grow your business. There are many other avenues including team and project management solutions, email management, travel apps and productivity tools to get your business off to a flying start. Why not take a look at the options available and see what services you find.