Unlikely as it may seem, businesses and challenges go hand in hand. From cash flow to compliance, and from staffing to product-market fit, entrepreneurs lose sleep over so many factors that impact the very survival of their business. No wonder half of their ventures close shop by the fifth year and only a third make it to their 10th anniversary.
Given the high failure rate and intense competition in just about any industry, business success pretty much depends on having the right business tools at the onset. Without the appropriate tools and a comprehensive technology stack, small business owners run their companies at a serious handicap.
That’s because business tools, such as automation and analytics, perform much of the heavy lifting businesses need to thrive, which, in turn, frees entrepreneurs to focus on core strengths and provide better value to their customers. Bottomline: if customers feel you are not focusing on them, they’ll focus their attention on other vendors/brands instead.
As you might expect, not all tools are created equal. A specific solution might be good for a particular business model, company size, or industry, but might prove inadequate, even in slightly different scenarios. To help you select the best ones for your company, here’s a round-up of the tools we think are the best options for growing and scaling small businesses.
Communications (In-House & With Clients)
Having the right conversations will always get the ball rolling. Here are some of the most effective solutions small businesses can use to convey their message to customers and drive collaboration between teams:
Gmail – This is Google’s ubiquitous email service. For a cheap price, you can have your own domain address, plus access to other apps such as Calendar, Drive, and Docs.
Nextiva – Whether you just need a simple phone service or a unified communications suite (i.e., internet fax, VoIP, and video conferencing), Nextiva provides affordable and best-in-class solutions for small businesses.
Zoom – This is an online service for real-time meetings, video conferencing, and desktop sharing between employers, employees and clients.
Slack – A millennial favorite, Slack is a messaging app that integrates well with common business solutions, such as CRMs, project management software, and productivity suites.
Poor cash flow is a major cause of business failure, according to Investopedia. Here are some tools that can help you track and optimize your profits, funds, and budget:
QuickBooks® – Developed by Intuit®, Quickbooks is a full-featured accounting software that can handle business transactions, bills payment, and payroll.
Wave – This is a free online financial software that includes accounting, invoicing, personal finance, and other functions.
At the end of the day, every business depends on the performance of its revenue teams for survival, profitability, and growth. Here are tried and true solutions to help you bolster your sales and marketing efforts:
Ahrefs – Many digital marketers depend on this toolkit for building effective backlinks and conducting SEO/keyword analysis.
Google Analytics – Launched in 2005, this is the granddaddy of web analytics services. Use it to monitor website activity, track traffic sources, and optimize your online advertising campaigns.
GetResponse – This marketing platform helps enhance your email campaigns via autoresponders, conversation tracking, template customizations, and task automation.
SEMrush – This is a software service for gathering online traffic data, keyword info, topic research, and other marketing intel.
Yesware – Used by thousands of revenue teams, Yesware is a sales productivity solution that helps enhance email marketing performance via templates, scheduler, and third-party integrations (including CRMs, email platforms, and calendars).
Every business in a digital economy needs some digital presence. The following enables individuals and companies to build their own real estate in cyberspace, in any industry you belong.
Corporate Sites – Having a website and online presence strategy allows you to market your business online. A website is also important because it helps to establish credibility as a business. Websites usually provide a map and directions to the company’s shops or offices for visitors to find their location easily.
Another important thing is that you have the scope to represent your customers, why they should trust you and the testimonials and facts to back up those opportunities by building a website. A well designed, informative and updated website will add credibility to your business and strengthen your brand. If you want to be successful for your company in the modern marketplace, you’ve got to have a professional website.
Image of a Corporate Website
E-Commerce (Online Store) – If you are a business entrepreneur and have a product or service to sell over the internet, it is very significant that you have an ecommerce website. The ecommerce website is meant to be an alternative to the physical retail stores to sell goods and products. There are plenty of benefits of having an ecommerce website and you can get all those benefits if you build a website for your business.
If you have ever been shopping around on an ecommerce website, you might know that online trading is in high demand; after all, it gives people an opportunity to buy their required stuff from the comfort of their home. So to give your customers a convincing buying experience and give them better support is the key for which every business should build an ecommerce website.
An Ecommerce website Mockup
Web Portals – a web portal is a web-based platform that provides employees, customers and suppliers with a single access point to information. A web portal can be used to provide the user with personalised information such as employee training, safety manuals or a customer profile. A web portal can also be used to enhance the collaboration of information and improve the way employees, customers and suppliers interact with your business.
A web portal
An online business portal can replicate the look and feel of your business and provide you with greater control over your day-to-day processes. Regardless of time or user location, a web portal can be accessed quickly and easily on a desktop or mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet.
WATCH OUT FOR PART 2