The logistics of running any business can be incredibly difficult. The very best business operators know that there are a number of useful software tools which can make life easier by increasing the efficiency of business practices.
These software tools are especially needed for small businesses, where the management of individual business aspects is less specialised than in larger corporations. From bookkeeping to time tracking tools, these critical tools can ease the burden of small business management by allowing easily accessible and understood documentation of business activities. We’ve come up with a unique list of five essential pieces of software needed for small businesses to help you make your company run more efficiently.
How Does the Type of Business Affect What Software is Needed?
It is important first to identify what kinds of software will be most suited to your particular business needs. The operation of a small business works has vastly different needs to that of a larger corporation. Furthermore, each industry holds its own unique and essential requirements to ensure smooth business operation. A business with a large employee base will need a more comprehensive payroll software than a smaller business operating on the efforts of only a few individuals, while a business with a large base of clientele will need an accurate time tracking application to keep detailed documentation of which work is being done for which clients. Identifying and understanding what kind of business software is going to be most effective in adding value to your business practices is essential in making smart executive decisions.
Specific industry needs are also important to consider. The goods and services offered by your business will have a huge impact on your software requirements. Keeping a comprehensive track of client interactions or stock rotation can be more or less important depending on specifically what it is that your business is selling, and the market in which you are operating. Nevertheless, there are a number of software options that are essential for business operation.
1. Accounting Software
Accounting is, as everyone knows, an integral part of operating any business. Choosing the best accounting software for your business needs is highly important. But there are many types of accounting software which cater to a variety of different needs. Understanding what’s on offer will allow operators to select the best accounting software for small businesses, helping you to make more efficient use of your time and facilitating the monitoring of cash flow, expenditure, tax filing and other essential business data. Keeping your books accurate and up to date is integral to smooth business operation, and companies such as Xero, QuickBooks, and FreshBooks provide streamlined, easy to use accounting software for small businesses.
One of the best accounting software options for small businesses to use is payroll software. A quality payroll software application, such as Xero software, will allow small business users to accurately and efficiently process payroll, pay slips, superannuation payments, year-end bonuses and a host of other payroll concerns common to any business operation. Easy to use payroll software can be a lifesaver for over encumbered small business owners, allowing smooth daily operation of business activities and making sure that employee satisfaction and morale is kept high through competent pay management. The ability to use streamlined software services like QuickBooks payroll software can take the hassle out of otherwise complicated and problematic processes and allow you more time to spend on what’s important for maintaining a successful business operation. Making sure your employees are paid correctly and on time, as well as keeping a comprehensive track of the expense of paying workers is a vital part of making sure your business is running smoothly. With companies such as FreshBooks competing to provide the best accounting software for small businesses, there has never been a wider array of tools available to make the lives of small business owners easier.
A comprehensive, easy to use and easily implemented tax software application can provide exactly what business owners need in order to navigate the complexities of any nation’s tax framework. It is well known that fulfilling legal tax obligations and calculating the best tax outcome for your business is one of the most important aspects of maintaining business integrity. The best accounting software programs on the market are those which provide small businesses with the ability to easily accommodate and deal with the complexities of different international tax regulations. Software applications such as Xero allow users to make efficient use of valuable time resources in dealing with tax.
Streamlined and easy to understand bookkeeping software programs are the lifeblood of any successful business of any size. The ability to have easily understood critical bookkeeping information at your fingertips is crucial to making sensitive business decisions for your company. When it comes to accounting software for small businesses, the ability for layman business owners to have important accounting information delivered in an easy to use, easy to understand format can be absolutely essential, allowing business owners to focus less on understanding complex accounting mechanics and more on running their business. When combined with tax and payroll services the best accounting software will allow smooth and uninhibited business operation.
2. Time Tracking Software
Time tracking software allows users to engage in effective time management through the detailed documentation of work performance on different tasks. Time is one of the most important resources a small business owner has, and the use of an appropriate time tracking tool allows businesses to better quantify their use of this precious commodity. Understanding how your and your workers’ time is spent by using time management software can let you identify areas of your business where you may be focusing too much or too little. Software from a company such as MinuteDock lets small businesses accumulate comprehensive data surrounding their time management, allowing you to record time spent on specific tasks or projects, by specific workers or groups, and therefore allowing you to better understand where your business can improve its use of time, to comprehensively document work effort spent on particular clientele, and also to better manage your charging of clients by quantifying the time resources spent on their projects. One of the most important things you can do as a small business is to check out a trial of free time tracking software from companies like MinuteDock: the value that can be added to your operation from time management software cannot be overstated.
3. Project Management Software
The best project management software can provide an invaluable logistical asset to your business operation. This type of software provides users with the important ability to organise complex projects by breaking them down into specific task segments while still allowing a comprehensive overall view of the project. Companies such as Trello allow the organisation and management of projects into easily understood segments, letting you increase your business efficiency by making the organisation of your complex projects a cinch. Not only will this kind of free project management software allow you to improve your organisational management of your business but it will also ensure that you know exactly how, where and why your resources are being expended toward the completion of a given project. A professional and well organised plan is furthermore essential to providing clients with the assurance of their project being completed in a timely, organised manner. In combination with a timekeeping program like MinuteDock, your clients will be able to understand exactly what is happening on their projects, allowing for simplified invoicing and payment processing. With the comprehensive documentation and organisation provided by these kinds of software services, a small business can remove hassle and make resource management easy.
4. Customer Relationship Management Software
One of the best ways to better understand your relationship with customers and to drive business growth is to use a CRM software tool in order to better analyse the ways in which your business interacts with its customer base. Small businesses are able to successfully manage customer relationships through the best CRM for small businesses. Companies such as Zoho provide users with a straightforward interface and present data in an easy to understand fashion in order to allow small business operators to gain valuable insight into business relationships, increase customer retention and drive the growth of sales. CRM software is able to provide vital and valuable assistance to small businesses which are trying to gain a better understanding of their interactions both with current and potential customers. The ability to identify valuable data trends within multiple interaction channels can add an innumerable amount of value to the operations of your small business. Better understanding the interactions you have with customers in your market is vital to the growth of your business, allowing you to identify appropriate areas to expend marketing resources and make the best use of the tools you have available to improve the performance of your company.
5. Communication Software
Effective and efficient communication, both internally within the business and externally towards customers, is vitally important to the successful operation of any small business. It is important to identify and make use of competent workflow software in order to maximise the efficiency of your business communications. Communication software, such as the likes of Skype and Slack, will allow your team to communicate and collaborate more effectively on all projects and allow your business to engage with customers and workers regardless of their locality. The ability for a modern small business to engage with global markets through the use of modern communication technology is almost unthinkable. Effective use of workflow and communication software will allow your business to expand the horizons of its market and help the organisation and communication between members of your team as much as any other software on this list. When used effectively in combination with streamlined management and timekeeping software applications, even the simplest of communication programs can allow your business to remain highly organised and efficient when working on any given project, as well as allow easier flow of communication to your customer base. Regardless of what industry you operate in, communication will remain an important part of your operation, and the choice of a suitable software to facilitate this can undoubtedly improve your business.
6. Website Building Software
The right website design/building software app can make building a professional and attractive website a breeze. This type of software can help the layman in efficiently editing or creating attractive and clear web pages for their site, or help the experienced web designer to add that cutting edge to their design which will set it apart from their competitors. Building feature rich websites from the ground up is a complicated and painstaking process, one which can require a lot of different areas of expertise when attempting to work without outside help. So unless you have the artistic and IT skills required to make a worthwhile effort, you’ll likely be much better off just using one of the myriads of great website building services around. Innovative companies like Wordpress and Squarespace provide a great variety of professional and visually versatile templates which can be used as a launchpad for creating unique and sleek looking web pages for your brand.
7. Payment Transaction Software
Automating and streamlining your payment transactions can be a huge benefit to our overall workflow and make your billing process so much easier. If you provide a subscription-based service, this sort of software will be a must! Automating monthly invoicing and automatic payments can massively reduce your workload when it comes to billing. It can also make any necessary refunding process easier as well as help to keep a detailed record of all of your payments and keep a tally of any account credits or customers who are behind on payments. Automating payments can help reduce the likelihood of your customers forgetting to pay their invoices. While this sort of software can come with its own issues, such as customers forgetting to unsubscribe and overpaying after they no longer use your service, the benefits will usually heavily outweigh the costs. Ultimately, how suitable this sort of software is for your business will likely depend on how your payment and billing processes are structured – if every job you do is unique to the customer, every invoice will be unique as well, and automating things won’t be as possible or worthwhile.
8. Sales, Marketing, and PR Software
Perhaps the best benefit of using software applications to organise and optimise your workflow is that it allows you to work in a very structured manner. Sales, marketing, and general PR software can help you stay organised, which leads to greater efficiency, a better ability to collect and analyse your sales/marketing data, and therefore more rapid improvements in your sales and marketing processes. Being able to use marketing software to analyse your sales conversion data is a huge boon in being able to make rapid and substantial improvements to your sales/marketing practices. These software apps can help you to get the most possible value out of your marketing budget, and to improve your sales conversion. More than this, the right app will make data collection for future analysis much easier, by automating the collection and keeping the data well organised to make interpreting the information easier.