Connect with us
Search

Software to run your growing company smoothly, safely and efficiently

When you’re an entrepreneur, getting that “to-do” list whittled down to a manageable size is impossible — there just aren’t enough hours in a day.

If your small business has a lean team, being tech savvy is a critical advantage. Installing and integrating business software can prevent wasted effort and preserve staff hours. Check out the following 28 online and computer program tools that can help you and your team stay on task and boost productivity1:

Managing human resources tasks
Most human resources departments have shifted from paper to paperless cultures in recent years, using computer programs to process payroll, track sick leave and oversee other employee services. If your company is still manually processing HR forms, your HR staff will thank you for a workforce management program. With these online tools, you can generate reports faster, provide self-servicing portals for employees and communicate important messages companywide. SoftwareAdvice.com offers several Web-based HR systems, such as Kronos and iCIMS.

Software to consider:

  1. freeHR
  2. OrangeHRM
  3. People-Trak
  4. Natural HR

 

Tracking employee time
It’s a necessary evil that employees hate: tracking the hours they spend on work assignments. Lawyers, accountants and other professionals in the client service sector are familiar with recording how every minute is spent in a work day. But how else can you tell your clients how many hours have been dedicated to completing their projects? If you’re tallying billable hours, check out the following time tracking tools.

Software to consider:

  1. SAP
  2. Harvest
  3. Toggl
  4. Freckle

 

Managing customer relationships 
Keeping track of your customer touch points is easier than ever before with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. In a single dashboard, you can view and analyze your existing and potential business leads. You can also use it to generate leads or simply to send regular emails to your contacts. While Salesforce is a popular option for larger companies, ZDNet made a list of CRM systems for small businesses.

Software to consider:

  1. Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  2. Infusionsoft
  3. Stride
  4. Prophet

 

Using online file storage
Still alphabetically organizing hard-copy files and folders in a locked cabinet? In the digital world, you only need to click, drag and drop into a virtual folder. But when dealing with confidential information, large files and hundreds of records with multiple collaborators, the task of storing files becomes complicated. Try these online storage portals to minimize wasting paper and easily sync, edit and share important records between multiple users.

Software to consider:

  1. Dropbox
  2. Google Drive
  3. Box.com
  4. Carbonite

 

Creating a website
If you want consumers to find you, it’s important to create a business website. How important? A study from BIA Kelsey and ConStat found that 97 percent of consumers use online media when researching products or services in their local area. However, many entrepreneurs forgo a site, complaining about cost and time. A surprising 55 percent of small businesses don’t have a website, according to a survey by Google and Ipsos.

Contrary to popular belief, you can design your company’s homepage without hiring a professional website developer. Browse these easy webpage-making sites geared toward non-technical people. It’s a quick and affordable way to create and maintain your online presence. Regardless of which you choose, here are some helpful tips from Forbes.com on how to design your site.

Software to consider:

  1. SquareSpace.com
  2. Weebly
  3. WordPress
  4. Tumblr

 

Marketing via email
There’s an adage that goes: If you build it, they will come. However, your marketing director might disagree with that saying. They’ll tell you that you need to persuade people to stop by and shop, whether that means ecommerce or bricks and mortar. With the rise of email and the drop in direct mail, an email address is one of the most direct ways to reach your audience. If you want to invest more in this form of outreach, read Forbes.com’s 15 email marketing tips.

Software to consider:

  1. Constant Contact
  2. MailChimp
  3. Emma Mail
  4. VerticalResponse

 

Marketing via social media
Today, social media is one of the chief forms of communication. In an eMarketer study, it was estimated that one in four people worldwide used social networks in 2013. You might speculate that the number could be even greater.

Grappling with social media giants like Facebook and Twitter is tantamount to felling a giant with a slingshot. Create a strategy that works for a company your size and speaks to your company’s image, audience and budget. Use social media management tools to organize and share your content across multiple channels. In one platform, you can schedule tweets, share photos, review the number of followers you have and post updates.

Check out this list from Convince & Convert that features social media tools for small business owners.

Software to consider:

  1. HootSuite
  2. Everypost
  3. Sprout Social
  4. Crowdbooster

 

1 BMO Harris Bank does not provide legal or tax advice to clients. You should review your particular circumstances with your independent legal and tax advisors.

Comments are closed.