7 Tools to Give Your Business a Competitive Edge
As small businesses grow, administrative tasks start to pile up. At some point, adapting to a new tool or service for handling certain jobs will save you a lot of time. And in the business world, the cliché is true: Time is money.
You likely already know the importance of certain tools and services, such as quality HR software. Here are a few more of the best business tools that you might not have realized can actually give your operation the shot in the arm it needs to streamline operations and beat the competition.
A great Customer Relationship Management service can help a business group all its customer interactions in one place, letting them keep current users happy while reeling in new ones at the same time.
With a CRM, every customer profile can be tracked and pulled up when needed, along with facts like their interaction history, purchase history, and how close their contract is to expiring.
Project Management Software
Employees are at their most productive when they have all the information about their coworkers and their company at their fingertips. The right project management software will alert each team to their current tasks, their key objectives, and which coworkers can help them get the job done.
Some stripped-down services in this category are free: Trello is one intuitive, simplified option worth considering. For a feature-rich project management software, however, costs will likely start at $5 per user, per month, unless you opt for an enterprise version with unlimited users.
Tangible assets can pile up, and without a simple tracking system, they can easily be misplaced, misused, or even stolen. A wide variety of asset tracking systems can solve this issue, but you’ll want the best tracking software for your specific needs. There are two main categories: Passive and active asset tracking.
Passive asset tracking systems, like ones that use barcode labels, require users to manually scan each asset before logging its current location and status. They’re best for office supplies and fixed assets like fax machines, computers, or desk chairs.
Active tracking systems can manage your most valuable assets, whether they’re travelling in shipping containers or driving around a construction site. Active systems include RFID tags or battery-powered GPS trackers — each of these trackers will send out a signal with location data, which can be automatically logged in a central software.
Does your business send and receive contracts on a daily or weekly basis? You might find that adopting an eSignature software — which lets users sign electronically — can speed up the process immensely. After all, many customers and employees can be tempted to procrastinate when faced with printing, signing, and re-scanning a single document.
DocuSign is the most well-known brand, though alternatives like PandaDoc and SignEasy will also work.
No busy manager should rely on their memory! Even a steel-trap brain can have an off-day, and learning to document your important thoughts in the moment can ward off any potential miscommunication.
A simple note-taking app can be easily accessed at all times, even when you don’t have a pen, and will automatically back everything up on the cloud. Some options, like the free Microsoft One Note app, can also transcribe audio, letting you talk your thoughts and ideas out.
Email Marketing Software
Email is one of the most efficient ways to market your company in the modern era. Everyone uses it and your efforts won’t be ignored like website ads, or buried by a social media platform’s algorithm.
Mailchimp is a popular choice for this, thanks to its free email marketing service plan tier, but plenty of other options are just as good, from the small-business-oriented Constant Contact to the ecommerce-friendly Drip.
Meeting Scheduling Software
Meetings are infamous for sucking time out of a workday, but the trouble of scheduling them is even more time you’ll never get back. Finally, there’s a solution — a handful of apps and browser extensions can help you easily find out when everyone is free for a new meeting.
Boomerang Calendar, a Gmail plugin, is one great option. The $8/month X.ai app even uses its own artificial intelligence functionality to automatically find out the best times when everyone is free.
See anything that could help your organization? Make sure to do a trial or demo period, and research ahead of time to check the service fits your business needs. If it works, most of the options above will more than pay for themselves!