Starting a small business is hard, but growing a small business is even harder. One challenge all fledgling companies face is staying organized. Fall into disorder early, and it can undermine your best efforts for growth. Stay organized, though, and you'll see many paths open up for you and your business.
The web has given us many tools that can help us stay organized in any environment. Here are five that can help your business grow without the entanglements of disorder along the way.
File sharing and cloud storage has become even more important in modern business environments. Many companies now use remote employees to accomplish day-to-day tasks. This necessitates a cloud solution that both in-house and remote employees can access. While services such as Dropbox and Google Drive are popular with consumers, businesses will find that they need a bit more.
Box.net has been around longer than its competitors, and it shows with their products. They offer the storage and sharing features that enterprises need, with the security that they require. This covers not only PC access, but also mobile access, making it easy to manage in-house, remote, and mobile workforces. They all have the same access to the same material, which makes their jobs infinitely easier.
The myriad features of Box.net make it a solution any small business can employ.
Hiring specialists can cost your small business money that you just can't afford. It's the paradox of small business: you need people to make the business grow, but you need growth so you have the cash flow to pay the people. At the start, though, you might not need a CPA to do your accounting full-time. There are software solutions that can help you as your business grows.
QuickBooks has been around for ages, providing small, medium, and even large businesses with the tools to keep their accounting organized on a day-to-day basis. It has gotten more comprehensive over the years as well, analyzing your data in new and innovative ways. Not only will it help you keep on top of your business's finances every day, but it makes taxes much easier to handle.
Instead of offering a single, expensive software licenses, QuickBooks now offers monthly subscriptions for its small business software. It offers pricing tiers for businesses of any size.
If your company has employees who work from home, you're probably saving considerable money. Yet you are taking on considerable risk. Not everyone is built for at-home work, and many remote employees can prove difficult to manage. Keeping them on task is crucial. That means letting them know exactly what needs doing and when. Powerful task management software such as Toodledo can ensure that they always know what needs doing next.
While Toodledo is a powerful task manager for individuals, it goes to another level for small organizations. The ability to view others' task lists makes collaboration easier. Administrators can delegate tasks to employees, setting up their task lists so that they not only know what needs doing, but the priority given to each task. With many third party access points, including apps on Android and iPhone, Toodledo is an organizational dream for small businesses with remote employees.
The basic Toodledo is free, but you can upgrade to premium in order to get the task sharing features and much more.
While Toodledo provides many organizational features that small businesses need, it still does not integrate a powerful calendar. For that you'll need a separate solution. Yet money can be tight for small businesses. One place they can save is with calendar apps. Google Calendar provides almost any feature imaginable from a calendar, all for the attractive price of free. You can even sign up for Google Apps under your own domain, so you can keep your calendars completely in-house.
What makes Google Calendar stand out is its integration with many different platforms. It works well on any mobile platform, integrating seamlessly with calendar apps on iPhone and BlackBerry (and of course Android). It allows users to share tasks with others, making it easy to share appointments and other important timely tasks. And yeah, it's free, so you don't have to worry about shelling out additional money for this solution.
Every business needs some kind of social media presence. It's becoming the most effective, and most efficient, way to attract attention for your business. Yet managing multiple social media platforms can prove a difficult chore. There are so many of them, and they all require different kinds of updates -- and they all have different logins. HootSuite provides tools that can help small businesses manage all of these accounts with a single interface.
Not only does HootSuite allow you to manage all of your social media profiles -- including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Tumblr, Instgram, and more -- but it provides you with analytics to show how effective your campaigns have been. You can also schedule updates, so you can spread your message throughout the day even when you're working on other tasks.
HootSuite offers multiple service tiers catered to organizations of any size. The free trial gives you a month to get acclimated. But once you do, it's easy to see why HootSuite is crucial for small businesses managing social media campaigns.