Top Five Tools to Streamline Your Business

April 2, 2019 | Tools & Tips

There are many tools available to help businesses thrive, but with all the small business articles and resources available on the Internet, how do you know which tools are the best? We’ve compiled our list of top five tools to streamline your business and accelerate growth.

Tool #1: Social Media

The opportunity for return on investment (ROI) is huge with social media and, if you’re not already in the game, it’s time to join. Not having social media in your marketing strategy is not an option anymore according to Lisa Montenegro, founder and president of Digital Marketing Experts. She says, “This is definitely a risk that businesses can’t afford to take now that social media has cemented itself as a marketing channel in its own right.”

Implementing a targeted strategy allows your brand to get in front of thousands of prospective customers quickly. Discover which platform is right for your business and start engaging your audience now.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn isn’t about marketing to customers as much as it is about making your business visible in the industry. Use this platform to connect with other experts in the field and to recruit top talent to join your team. Share your successes and ideas, and even post job listings. LinkedIn is a great tool to use for networking and should be part of your social media strategy.

Facebook: This easy-to-use platform is great for marketing and an excellent way to get your service or product in front of a large audience. It has options to post pictures, videos, and text, to promote exclusive offers, to poll your customers, and more. Facebook makes it easy for any small business to be social media savvy. However, for business pages, you often have to run an ad campaign to be seen due to the complex algorithms.

Instagram: This platform provides space to share creative pictures with multiple filter options and allows you to reach targeted audiences through hashtags. If you have products to sell or exciting services to offer, sharing photos via Instagram can be a great way to interact with your audience. It’s a more personalized, “look behind the scenes” feel that keeps audiences coming back for more, and with one billion active monthly users, Instagram continues to grow quickly.

Twitter: Twitter is an excellent platform for small businesses to share industry-related information with their customers. Since posts are limited to 140 characters, clear and concise information about your company can inform your customer base without fluff.

Tool #2: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

Organization is essential within any small business, and there are many low-cost and even no-cost tools to help you streamline and maximize progress. A good CRM will allow you to separate projects, keep track of invoices, assign work to teammates, and more. Popular sites like Hubspot, Salesforce, and Zoho are easy to use and cost-effective.

Pros of CRM Integration In Your Small Business:

  • Automated data entry saves time
  • Easy collaboration increases productivity
  • Allows you to automate tasks, so you’re not wasting time doing the same task twice
  • User-friendly dashboards that help keep everything organized and accessible

Cons of CRM Integration In Your Small Business:

  • Set up can be time-consuming and tedious
  • Training employees on new software can reduce office productivity
  • Automated features can decrease the “human” element
  • Security issues can compromise vital company information

For more more information on CRM integrations, check out this article.

Tool #3: Accounting Software

According to Business News Daily, three things to keep in mind when finding the right software are cost, usability, and features. When looking at cost, determine how much you plan to spend on accounting software, as that will help narrow your search. Look for software that is easy to use, can be taught to your employees quickly, and contain features that are pertinent to your small business.

Finding the right software can increase accuracy, efficiency and even profitability. Plus it can be a lifesaver during tax time or when applying for business funding.

Tool #4: Calendar App

These types of programs integrate directly with your team members’ calendars to allow clients to schedule appointments with a single click. When you send an email to your client, the body of the message will display your availability in 15, 30, or 60-minute intervals. The client simply selects a time that works for them and a calendar invitation is automatically created and sent to both parties, avoiding the frustrating back-and-forth that often ensues over email to identify a suitable meeting time. Many businesses enjoy using Calendly for its user-friendliness. Being easily accessible can make your business stand apart from the competition, and calendar apps make it easy for your team to stay organized, accomplish projects in a timely manner, and manage time effectively.

Tool #5:  Email Marketing and Marketing Automation Tools

While it would be great to send personalized emails to every customer, employee, and vendor, it’s not realistic without the help of software. There are free and low-cost email marketing and marketing automation tools that allow you to engage with customers, attract new prospects, and increase repeat business. Tools like MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, and Constant Contact make it easy for companies to design creative and professional-looking emails that contain excellent content.

Pro Tip: Streamlining your operations is essential when it comes to connecting with customers, running an effective marketing campaign, managing finances, and increasing productivity. Implementing social media, a CRM system, accounting software, calendar apps, and email automation into your small business will help you stay organized, focused and help keep your business profitable and productive.