[This article was written by McKenzie Jones.]
If you run your own small business, chances are you have little to no free time on your hands and the time you do have needs to be spent as effectively as possible. People who own and operate small businesses typically wear many hats. From business operations, finances, sales, customer service to marketing, branding, and IT, there is a lot involved in making a small business a success. Luckily, there are a few helpful tools out there to help you not only stay on top of all the work that needs to be done, but these tools will also help you to grow your business by giving you the extra time you need to focus on steering your business in the right direction. While there are plenty of tools available, it is important that you put the time in to find the best tools for you. Here is a quick overview of a few of the kinds of tools that are essential for growing your business.
In any business, regardless of size, communication is key. Whether it is communication internally, between employees or collaborators, or especially outward to customers, clients, and partners, you need to make sure you have an organized and efficient strategy to communicate your ideas, report issues and assist customers and clients to ensure that they are nothing but pleased with the product or service they are receiving from you. You will find that communicating effectively will put everyone on the right page and help you spend less time talking and more time doing.
Sales Process Tools
Another tool that is essential for any growing business is a Customer Relationship Management system or CRM. As your business grows, it becomes even more important to keep a solid record of any interaction you have with a customer, including sales. Having this kind of organization in your sales and customer service process will help to save time, make it easier to complete sales, as well as make life easier for your clients and customers.
Automation software is key to saving you time and energy. Automation software can be used to help you complete repeating tasks and streamline processes by letting the software do all the work for you. Infrastructure automation will help to make sure you and your team are spending less time with IT systems, and more time doing things that matter, like speaking with potential clients and making sure the business is running as smoothly as possible.
Task Management Tools
Have you ever been a part of a team where you were constantly asked where you were at with a specific process or task? Chances are you are not alone with that one. After you have established the important tasks or processes to help your business run and as your team grows larger, implementing a task management system will help to make it easy and effective in identifying where you are at with a certain project or client. Much like the other tools mentioned above, this will help make a smoother work environment, not only with your internal teams but also with your customers and clients.
Marketing tools can include everything from website design platforms or services, email marketing software, search engine optimization (SEO) tools and software, or even social media tools. A lot of these tools really depend on the kind of business you run and the most effective way to reach new customers but one thing is clear – once you have found the right tools for your business, you will be surprised at how useful these marketing tools can be. What once took whole teams can now be done, to a certain degree of quality, by any small business looking to grow their marketing strategy.
While there are many tools available to help you grow your business, it is important to remember that you can always look to improve and become more efficient so don’t be too quick to stick with one thing, of course, if it isn’t broke then don’t fix it, but also keep in mind that technology is quickly changing and you should keep an open mind when it comes to tools for your business.