[This article was written by Dawn Castell.]
Starting a new business is a lot like having a thousand Post-It pages thrown at you. On each of those Post-Its is a detail or task you must manage. Yet, one of the most important tasks you must deal with is one that often gets left until a crisis emerges: software acquisition. Businesses depend on software for a variety of mission-critical tasks. Some software, however, you simply must have from day one of launching your new business.
The Microsoft office suite contains a number of critical programs you’ll probably use every day in your new business. For example, you’ll use Word for document creation and reviewing documents for other businesses. Excel provides you with a powerful spreadsheet program that you can use for forecasting and budgeting, which are crucial in the early days of your new business. You also get PowerPoint presentation software and the email management tool, Outlook.
There are several excellent small business accounting programs. A few of the best include:
Accounting software helps you track important financial elements of your business, such as cash flow, income, and expenses. Higher-end accounting software also simplifies invoicing and payments. You can also use some of them for inventory tracking, time tracking, and payroll.
Many accounting software programs also let you run standard and customized reports on your financial situation. That can prove very helpful when tax season rolls around and your accountant needs an up-to-date picture of your quarterly performance.
Email List Software
Online marketers repeat the mantra that your list is the most important asset you have. It’s a source of active and repeated revenue, particularly if you deal in intangible products like ebooks, video training, or online courses. Managing that list is no small feat once you crack about 50 people. You need email list management software. A few of the most popular email list management software options include:
Each service offers a slightly different package and experience. Most of them, however, offer a free tier of service that is ideal for a new business. These free tiers of service typically offer a basic set of tools and functions, but some more advanced features might be disabled.
You can’t avoid putting up a website these days. They are simply too important to ignore because they draw new customers to you via blog posts or local search results. Of course, hiring a website developer to create a custom site for you can burn a hole in your bank account. A dire situation for most new businesses.
WordPress is a piece of open-source software that creates a basic website for you with the click of a button. You can then customize the look of the site with a free or premium theme and your brand imagery, such as logos. You can also dive into WordPress’s extraordinarily deep well of plugins to expand the site’s functionality with SEO, security, and e-commerce options.
With so many businesses relying on remote employees, outsourcing, and freelancers in the early days, traditional communication and productivity software get inefficient in a hurry. You need a communication and productivity tool that’s reasonably priced and globally available. Enter Slack.
The native Slack app lets you create topic-specific channels that help keep conversations focused. It allows for video chatting and file sharing. You can also integrate third-party apps like GitHub, G Suite, and Adobe Creative Cloud.
The list of must-have software is actually huge, but there is some software you simply cannot go without for any length of time. You must have Microsoft Office or Office 365. It’s the default standard in business. You’ll need good accounting and email list management software. WordPress will get your all-necessary website up and running in a hurry. Slack will facilitate communication and improve productivity for all those remote workers and freelancers. Trying to survive without them will make your work life way more difficult than necessary.