With the current global situation causing economic downturns, small business owners like you can expect even tougher times moving forward. That's why it's important that you streamline operations as much as possible, so you can focus solely on running your business.
Driving growth and maintaining efficiency are challenges every business leader faces, with difficulties in cash flow management, increasing competition, and market changes affecting how a company is run. Unsurprisingly, data collated by Small Biz Trends shows a high startup failure rate. Only 56% of small businesses established in 2014 made it to year 5, while 20% didn't even make it to year 2.
With the current global situation causing economic downturns, small business owners like you can expect even tougher times moving forward. That's why it's important that you streamline operations as much as possible, so you can focus solely on running your business. With that in mind consider using the following tools, as they'll be able to help grow your business and improve its overall efficiency.
1. Communication Tools
Communication tools are tools that let company personnel stay in touch with one another and keep on top of things — even without face-to-face interactions, like meetings, impromptu huddles, and even watercooler talk. Good communication channels are crucial to a growing company, especially now that many employees are working remotely.
From traditional methods like email and telephone, to online communication tools through social media and platforms such as Slack, Hangouts, and Zoom, there are multiple ways for a company to stay in contact, even if they are not working together. While these tools can’t replace face-to-face meetings, they will allow you to organize and keep your business running without the need to be physically present all the time.
2. Project Management Software
Project management software can help in project planning, resource allocation, time tracking, and change management. It will also make staff collaboration more efficient, as it simplifies file storage and sharing, making it easier for you and your team to collaborate on different projects. In addition, it automates routine but time-consuming tasks, like assigning projects, setting due dates, and monitoring progress.
This is why companies like CNET and Uber use this software for simplified progress monitoring and convenient project tracking. Yet, you don’t have to be a multi-national company to take advantage of project management software. In fact, having less resource to spare makes these tools all the more vital for growth and efficiency. Especially if you are having to cut back this year.
3. Customer Relationship Management Software
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is software that lets you track, analyze, and manage your interactions with existing clients (think of it as a modern-day digitized rodolex). In fact, HP emphasizes how CRM can help build a clear picture of your clients and how to best serve them. This way, you can use the information to build a strategy on how to keep your customers or win over new ones.
Take, for example Wells Fargo, which has long been using CRM software to peruse existing customer data in search of trends and untapped opportunities. The company is also using CRM to manage and optimize social media responses to provide the best customer service possible. You can do that, too, with the help of business-friendly CRM software, like Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zoho. Just make sure you put input credible and accurate data every time, as changing them to give a better impression will hurt you in the long run.
4. Social Media Tools
Social media tools can help you make the most out of your business’ social media accounts. These tools will make social media management more effective and less time-consuming, as it can help you in accomplishing a variety of often-repetitive tasks, like posting updates, tracking analytics, and creating content.
Business 2 Community report that people spend 3 hours a day on social media. This means a well curated and updated social media account is essential for reaching a wider audience online. These tools will also help you run a successful SEO campaign, with Google stressing the importance of social media in its rankings. Platforms like Hootsuite and Buffer will prove helpful in this case, as they assist you in crafting engaging social content, automating your posts, and monitoring account engagement. In this way, you'll be able to maximize all your channels — without having to invest too much time and effort.
4. HR Management Tools/Software
Human resources (HR) management tools refer to tech solutions that help your HR department manage their day-to-day activities — including repetitive and time-consuming administrative tasks, like attendance monitoring, leaves tracking, personnel file organization, and payroll preparation. Then, as your company scales, your HR staff will find it much harder to manage these same tasks.
HR can employ platforms such as Paychex and Workday, as they can help HR staff in payroll services, benefits management, and performance evaluations. There's also Kissflow, a cloud-based platform that simplifies and streamlines a range of HR processes, including performance reviews, applicant tracking, and employee onboarding.< /p>
For all the challenges you still need to overcome, remember this: You already have the hardest part out of the way — starting that business. Now, it's moving forward and using technology to help your business grow. The above tools are certainly a start, as they'll help streamline operations for more efficiency and productivity.
----> Operating a business is a big challenge, and you can meet it with the help of technology.
----> A range of software can streamline your business' operations, allowing you to focus on the bigger picture: running your business.
-----> As big companies leverage tech to improve operations so should small businesses
Larry Smith is a HR specialist. He is also freelance tech consultant advising small businesses on how to best utilize technology in their operations. In his free time he plays online chess.
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