Running a small business takes a lot of work. Don’t let the descriptor word, “small” fool you into thinking there’s nothing to it. Any small business owner will tell you that they spend more time working on their business than in their company; meaning, they spend more time ensuring their business is functional than actually doing the work their business means to do in the world.
In order to streamline operations for small business owners, software companies from around the globe and working to make things easier, faster, and fortunately, cheaper for small businesses to conduct business.
Whether you run a brick and mortar company, or you operate exclusively online, there’s something for everyone in this list of the best software programs for your small business.
Without a doubt, the most essential software program you will have is the one that houses your financial information. Ensuring that your books are organized and up to date means that you spend less time worrying about money and have more time to make money. After all, isn’t that what business is all about?
If you struggle to stay organized with your business finances, investing in a quality software program such as QuickBooks or Simply Accounting can help you manage the day-to-day aspects of your finances and make sure you know where every dollar is going and coming from.
While you might spend a great deal of your time running your company, the rest of your time needs to be spent actually doing the work the company is meant to do. For this, you’ll need a quality project management software program that will help you organize your time and prioritize our to-do list.
This kind of software is invaluable for consultants, coaches, freelancers, and anyone who works on a per-project basis. Project management software doesn’t have to cost a lot, such as Trello or Asana, but you can get all the bells and whistles for a pretty affordable price from companies like Wrike.
Customer Manage Systems
Another software program that you need to have is a software that helps you organize your customer information. This includes information about their purchases, as well as their demographics, and how they move through your sales funnel. Setting up this kind of software can be intimidating for a lot of people and can take a long time actually to figure out what works, but once it’s up and running, you’ll have repurchased a lot of your time throughout the week.
Software programs such as HubSpot, MailChimp, Aweber and more are all great to help keep your customer profiles in check and allow you to reach out to them with newsletters, updates, special offers and more.
Invoicing and Payments
Once you make a sale, you need a way to get paid. These days, don’t sit around waiting for checks to come in the mail from clients – use electronic invoicing. The number one invoicing platform in the world is PayPal, and it’s with good reason: it’s very affordable and easy to use.
You can do so much with PayPal that it’s silly to think about using anything else, although some options are coming about and giving PayPal a run for its money. For instance, we mentioned QuickBooks previously – QuickBooks is offering all-in-one invoicing and payment options that can be used to keep and track all of your financial information.
PayPal doesn’t offer extras like that, but it’s worth checking out if you need to get paid fast.
Content Management Systems
Finally, every small business needs to get and stay organized with their content. Social media posting and sharing, engagement, targeting ads, landing pages, blogs and more can all be created and managed in content management systems that are available for little to no money.
Buffer, for example, offers a great starter package for small business owners who want to share create and share social media posts from their desktops or mobile phones without having to be on social media platforms, day and night. The free package offers three platforms with up to 10 posts each for free on a rotating basis. You can’t beat that.
For more bells and whistles, you might consider investing in something called Lately. This is AI-based technology that will scan your long-form content and turn it into reusable content. It will also transcribe audio files and video format so you can create written content without actually having to write it. These programs also offer you opportunities to get feedback from your customers as well.
Whether you are just starting out or you have been in business for a long time, adding software to your operation can help you make the most of your time and help you take back some of the time lost to things that don’t directly result in income for your business.
Spreading yourself too thin is the curse of any business owner. Investing in some low-cost or free software could be just the thing you need to grow your business.
An essential part of running your business is getting feedback from your employees. Without them, you’d have no business. When it comes to using 360 feedback software, you need to consider the size of your workforce. If you have 5-10 employees, a simple questionnaire might be enough to suffice once a quarter. Because you have direct contact with these people regularly, it’s more likely that you’ll have a better bond and culture of trust.
If, however, you have a workforce any more significant than ten people, you’ll need to implement a more robust system. Using products such as 15five, for example, to quickly capture moments in time in your workforce’s experience are very helpful.
For ongoing trends and predictions, you’ll want something with more capacity, such as BambooHR.
More important than the software you use, however, is what you do with that information. If you aren’t using the information your employees are providing, it won’t matter how great the software package is that you use.