5 Pieces Of Software That Will Really Improve Your Business
Business software is an important investment — some might even say it’s essential by this point, as you’re inevitably going up against companies that use technology to get ahead. Whether you’re a solopreneur with a romantic adherence to old-fashioned methods or a business head reluctant to rock the boat, it’s time to give up the ghost and make a commitment to enhancing your business with all the tools at your disposal.
Let’s say you’re on board with this idea, and ready to make some changes. Where should you start? What improvements should you angle for? It can be exceedingly tricky to know which direction to take, as there are many thousands of viable software tools available online. You need to focus on making an impact, and you can do that by choosing software that can significantly improve the efficiency of your organization.
To give you some inkling of where to start, I’m going to take you through 5 pieces of software that I think every business with ambition should be using, explaining what makes them so incredibly useful. Let’s get started, shall we?
Helpdesk software is vitally important for businesses that offer services (particularly concerning IT), but it’s also a worthy addition for any company that deals with customer queries on a consistent basis. Zoho Desk is one of the most popular solutions on the market, and for good reason: it’s powerful, flexible, intuitive, and combines just as well as you’d expect with other modules from the Zoho cloud suite.
Get it up and running, and you’ll be able to monitor all customer interactions from an easy dashboard, oversee support agents, review related social media activity, and achieve a variety of other useful helpdesk tasks. The robust reporting options are very significant — analytics are important throughout business, but particularly for customer experiences. What’s more, even the standard plan comes with 24-hour support during the week, so you’ll have plenty of assistance when you need it.
Core to business improvement is sourcing top talent to keep the company growing, but the recruitment process can be time-consuming and frustrating. Why not make it easier using software? BambooHR does just that, being the industry leader for doing everything from tracking a candidate’s application to setting out an employee retention plan.
It isn’t ideal at the enterprise level, but assuming your business isn’t at that size, it’s a great option due to its large set of features and reasonable pricing (though it’s obscured on the company site due to a quote-based structure, you pay per user, and the Essentials package isn’t too costly). Stop spending so much time dealing with HR.
No matter what exactly your business does, you need to keep your finances in order, yet it’s an area that plenty of people struggle with. Part of the problem is the sheer tedium of keeping track of all the transactions and payments owed. You also have more important things to do with your time than go through repetitive calculations and manually create invoices.
Wave is a suite of financial tools, and you can use individual parts (as with Zoho), with the Accounting module being particularly useful. It also offers various resources that can be handy: for instance, you can use a template to create PDF invoices. There are various SaaS accounting options, but I’d go with Wave over something like Quickbooks because all the features are available in the free version and there’s no need to deal with a trial to test it.
Social media has become a significant factor throughout the business world. Some companies market extensively through social channels, or even sell directly that way, while others focus on support and PR — paying close attention to requests or complaints made and taking action to deal with them appropriately.
Not everyone likes using social media, though, and when you consider the number of channels (and accounts) that need to be followed to make best use of it, you quickly see why automation is required. Hootsuite offers a social media management dashboard that lets you set out your strategy, easily promote your content, and track brand mentions.
Even on a small scale, business projects need careful management to avoid getting out of control. Get too casual with your approach and you’ll see deadlines being missed, standards slipping, and customers becoming unhappy. The world of project management software is enormous, so options abound, but I recommend going with Basecamp.
Why? Because it brings together a wide variety of elements to enhance communication and accountability. You can easily create distinct areas for your projects, complete with file sharing sections, campfire discussions, distinct message chains, and actionable to-do lists. There’s a free edition you can easily try out, and the full version is a flat $99 per month, meaning it’ll become more economical the bigger your business gets.
We’ve used — and are happy to recommend — each of these tools as useful business additions, but don’t just take our word for it. Do your research. You definitely need tools to fill these roles, so read reviews, check out comparisons, and see if you agree with our suggestions!