Running a small business and taking it to new heights can be challenging. Delegating tasks to employees and staying on top of expenses is overwhelming, especially while running an SMB. There is hope. Making use of business tools will get your business on the right track and give you enough boost to accelerate its growth in no time!
If you’re scaling your business and evaluating tools to boost your productivity, my recommendation is ‘business in a box’ – everything you need to get started. Below is a curated list of 5 indispensable business tools based on my own experience along with some crowd-sourced recommendations from product managers and entrepreneurs. These have helped startups and SMBs, to do their basic tasks quicker and bump up their throughput.
Time Sheets – For Simplified Workforce Management
The need to track how much time and effort an employee is spending on a project is a major pain point for employers today. Research conducted by the American Payroll Association states that the average employee pads their timesheet by 10 minutes over the course of the day which adds up to an overpayment of about 3.6 hours per month, per employee. Imagine an employee claiming an extra 10 minutes of work each day. For a 15 employee company making an average of $15 per hour, working six days a week and 8 hours a day, that is a $9,720.00 per year loss.
From tracking of employee goals to clocking in and out, from project management to performance feedbacks, Timesheets.com is that one web based tool that enables businesses to handle all their personnel management needs in a straight-forward manner. Timesheets captures simplicity and complexity in a single tool.
Hourly and project-based performances can be tracked easily with the simple-to-use admin interface. An admin can also decide when to run an employee’s payroll. If an employee manually tweaks his/her time, the administrator gets to approve it which is pretty neat. An employee’s progress on a task/activity can be documented and drafted in a report. It also enables you to integrate with Salesforce and QuickBooks.
Data crunching on personnel management is done easily via Timesheets. Timesheets enables you to manage your staff with standardized documentation, supervisor hierarchies, automatic leave tracking, and more. It helps eliminate costs associated with time padding, inaccurate payroll accounting, record keeping issues and buddy punching, which earns a business increased productivity.
Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability. – Anne M. Mulcahy
EZOfficeInventory – For Complete Equipment Management
There is no hiding the fact that most businesses are unable to track their valuable assets (including heavy equipment and inventory) effectively. Why? Because there are only a number of apps that solve this problem in a focused and intuitive manner. To overcome pain points like low productivity, hampered business growth because of unavailable or deteriorated equipment, and poor collaboration between employees what you need is a powerful asset tracking software like EZOfficeInventory.
EZOfficeInventory is a specialized web based asset tracking software trusted by thousands of diverse Enterprises and SMBs. It ensures asset optimization. SMBs benefit from EZOfficeInventory in a number of ways – from increasing workflow efficiency to enhancing control, and lowering costs. It enables you to locate your assets instantly, boost employees’ productivity, and conduct effortless audits. You can easily pinpoint an item’s location whenever the need arises. No more headaches and hassles because of misplaced equipment or running after people to figure out which asset is where. This improves ROI and helps startups focus on other areas such as business growth and value added services.
Apart from saving time, it will reduce costly errors and give you the opportunity to provide top-notch service to your customers. Other cool things you can do include designing print labels, integrating with third party apps, setting up email alerts, enhancing visibility control, and understanding the usability of equipment across your organization. It’s an easy-to-use tool that your team can quickly adapt to!
One of the great responsibilities that I have is to manage my assets wisely, so that they create value. – Alice Walton
QuickBooks Online – For Accuracy in Accounting
To get the best grip on your SMB’s finances, enhance its cash flow and boost your company’s growth, you need the right accounting tool. And when we talk about reducing costs and inaccuracies in payroll accounting, we can’t neglect to mention the powerful accounting app QuickBooks.
QuickBooks is the oldest kid on the block, and certainly one of technology’s largest players. Their enterprise solutions are a quick way to take you from a startup to having hundreds of employees, whereas the QuickBooks Online edition is a great tool for SMBs.
QuickBooks Online strikes a nice balance in being simple enough for SMBs to use, but sophisticated enough for professional accountants. You can view the status of your finances at a glance using dashboards, or even create customized reports. What else? You can generate invoices, process payrolls, and accept online payments. By taking snapshots of receipts with your smartphone, you can migrate your company’s expense data. To make sure that data is always up to date, QuickBooks Online syncs up with your bank account and credit card accounts (such as your Authorize.net accounts) so data is always up to date, and because of this business performance increases significantly. It also enables you to add your accountants which simplifies the tax time.
Accounting does not make corporate earnings or balance sheets more volatile. Accounting just increases the transparency of volatility in earnings. – Diane Garnick
Salesforce – For Better Customer Relationship Management
It can be a daunting task to develop and maintain customer relationships. But it’s an essential task for each and every business’s growth, productivity and survival. In order to maintain these relationships, a CRM system is a must-have.
Salesforce streamlines the sales process to enable your business to close sales easily and quickly. It offers an easy-to-use interface that doesn’t require much of a learning curve. Everything is done in an efficient manner, and the level of automation is a huge time saver. This tool is designed to provide all the information you need to manage contacts, sales forecast, generate reports, run efficient marketing campaigns, find leads, turn prospects into customers, close sales, automate workflows and much more.
The Salesforce AppExchange caters to a wide range of categories in third-party integrations, such as sales, marketing, finances, human resources, ERP, IT and analytics. It’s pretty impressive that many of these integrations can be used from right inside the Salesforce platform. This helps your team to be more efficient and productive, and promotes consistency across the board.
Enterprises today want more from a CRM system but with fewer, simpler features, and a dedicated focus towards optimizing relationships. With Salesforce CRM, any SMB or startup can leverage customer experience into better customer retention, increased sales, lower operating costs, and faster growth.
If a customer walks out without shoes, you really want to find out why. It didn’t fit’ is not good enough. – Thomas G. Stemberg
Slack – For Better Team Collaboration
Communication has become indispensable. As your business grows, you will find that team communications become increasingly cluttered and it becomes hard to keep track of important emails. If you’re spending a lot of hours on emails but everyone on your team is still not up to date, you’re losing out on some major productivity. Well, ditch the clunky, traditional emails and use Slack! Having a dedicated tool for seamless team communication without a doubt enhances the productivity of both employees and employers.
Team communications can be segmented in Slack by creating multiple channels for small team projects. Discuss important ideas and provide feedbacks, and bring up conversations of all sorts in the chat rooms. You can mention users, topics, and get non-intrusive desktop notifications to stay on top of everything at your company. Its robust search feature enables you to instantly look up information, even if that information is inside of a document you’ve shared.
With a team account on Slack, you can extend administrative control, and have different service integrations. With integrations such as Github, Airbrake and JIRA, it’s ideal for boosting productivity for any tech team. What increases productivity by leaps and bounds is that Slack enables you to share and test code snippets which I believe is great.
Investing in management means building communication systems, business processes, feedback, and routines that let you scale the business and team as efficiently as possible. – Fred Wilson
Don’t be misled by the latest and greatest features in a business tool. Your buying decision should be finalized on the core features that have proven to be effective over time. It’s these features that offer a foundation upon which you can build a unique approach to business management. Without this foundation, all your business plans are likely to crumble.
With the aforementioned range of must-have business tools as productivity boosters, companies and team members can get the most out of their hardware, products, services and, most importantly, increase their ROI. These tools will help them synthesize and improve daily tasks.
This article was contributed by EZOfficeInventory. Featured on TechCrunch, it has enabled thousands of businesses to improve their ROI, avail higher cost benefits, recover losses, increase productivity, and team collaboration.