How Your Small Business Can Have the Same Tools as the Big Guys
Small businesses are in a uniquely powerful place these days. With technology disrupting the “traditional” way of doings things, suddenly small business have access to the same business tools that the Fortune 500 guys once carefully guarded. From accounting to customer data analysis to access to capital, small businesses have never been in a better position to take advantage of robust business tools, all the while staying lean and mean.
Online Presence – We all know that every business – large or small – these days must have a website. But with today’s low cost tools, even the most time-limited and cash strapped business owner can build a website without spending big bucks. Then there’s social media. Now small companies have access to tools like Facebook and YouTube to engage their customers online. With imagination and personal attention, some small businesses even blaze past big businesses when it comes to innovative social media campaigns to drive traffic and convert customers.
Web Analytics – In the early days of the internet, even if a small business had a web presence, who was visiting it, what they were looking at, and how long they were sticking around was a mystery. Now with web analytics tools like the free Google Analytics or KISSmetrics you can easily see what pages on your website attract customers or convert leads, among lots of other useful information.
Customer Relationship Management – Before CRM tools, it could be hard to know what your customer last bought from you, or when you last reached out to offer a “hi” or “thank you for your business.” This was especially true if you worked for a team who were all busily doing their own thing. But these days CRM tools like Sugar CRM help even the smallest businesses capture leads and keep relationships warm. You can also use drip campaigns with a tool like MailChimp or Marketo to automate the process!
Human Resources Tools – Before the digital age, hiring for a small business might have meant an ad in the local paper or a trade journal, and “human resources” may have meant a call to the accountant. When it came time to hire or fire, you were basically on your own unless you could afford to pay an HR professional. But now, even the smallest businesses can access big-business HR with companies like Justworks or TriNet. Don’t leave hiring, firing and policy to chance – do it like the big boys do.
Accounting and Finance – The big guys have an army of accountants and bookkeepers. While you may not need all that firepower, you do need an easy and no-risk way to keep your records so the taxman doesn’t come calling. Many digital accounting solutions these days will integrate directly with business bank accounts or merchant accounts to pull in your spending, eliminating the need for data entry. And solutions like Xero and Quickbooks even allow your accountant to login and assist you at anytime.
Working Remotely – Can you imagine a small business working with a remote team in 1985? It would have been a logistical nightmare! But with web conferencing technology like GoToMeeting or the ubiquitous Skype, not to mention collaboration apps like Slack, it’s as easy to work with a remote team as it is to work with a co-worker in the office next to you. Other collaboration tools like Dropbox or Google Drive even make it simple to share your work – or even work on the same thing at the same time.
We truly are living in the golden age of small business. I hope this list opened your eyes to a new app or two, or even gave you an idea for a better, most cost-effective way to run your small business. Do you have an app you can’t live without?
Latest posts by Jennifer Dunn (see all)
- How to Increase Customer Satisfaction With Just a Hello - June 15, 2015
- Looking for a Business Loan and Buying a House at the Same Time? Here’s What to Do - June 8, 2015
- Are Credit Unions a Good Place to Find a Business Loan? - May 18, 2015
When This Entrepreneur Lost 100 Pounds, He Knew His Coconut Business Would Succeed
Meredith Wood / Sep 9, 201622
The 25 Best Books for Entrepreneurs
Georgia McIntyre / Oct 7, 20166
Looking for Success? Try One of The 5 Most Profitable Industries
Meredith Wood / Feb 10, 20165
Need a Profit & Loss Statement? Here's How to Make One Quickly
Jennifer Dunn / Oct 6, 20144
Starting a CrossFit Box? Get Help From These 10 Kickass Tips
Vivian Giang / Mar 5, 20154