Technology is all around us. It’s in the cafe as we sip our morning coffee, on the train as we head to work and present in our everyday lives.
A November 2010 study featured in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology discovered that people do not like change. In this study, students had a more positive attitude toward acupuncture when they were told that it had been around for 2000 years as opposed to the students that were told it had been around for 250 years. Us small business owners need to “bite the bullet” and move forward with the technological platforms that have become so easily accessible. It is amazing that a business with under 5 employees can now be equipped with the same tools that a company with 100 employees uses in their everyday dealings.
I thought it might be helpful to compile a cheat sheet of my top 5 applications and platforms that assist in running my day.
Quickbooks has been deemed the #1 Cloud Accounting Software in the Industry. The reason why I love it is that it is so easy to use. With a fully functional phone application, you can do your invoicing from anywhere and send out an immediate email to notify your client.
Many small business owners claim that they are sick of keeping of box of all their expenses receipts which can take hours to enter and keep track of. Quickbooks offers the ability to take instantaneous photos of receipts and add it to your expenses right on the spot.
If you run an eCommerce business, you need to utilise an email marketing software to get your promotions and products out to your audience. Now there are many platforms such as Infusionsoft and Salesforce which are amazing for email marketing, however, Mailchimp is just as good – and its free! Utilising the WISYWIG template you can drag, drop to create a layout and look that suits your brand. MailChimp allows you to track open and click rates and enables you to quickly send out a business newsletter. This platform is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails.
Facebook & Instagram (Social Media)
Now, this may seem a little odd to include but you would be surprised by the number of small businesses who don’t have social channels for their business. If you are reading this and thinking – yep that’s me, then what are you waiting for!
Social Media Channels allow you to target and reach your desired audience. I like to think of the content you post on your social business page as a flyer. Each post is a flyer that you put out to your audience, reminding them that you are there and making sure that you are the business they think of when they need (insert business type here).
How do you currently manage your tasks and productivity? Is it through a planner, sticky notes or scrap pieces of paper?
Trello has the ability to condense all of this and is the ultimate task management platform. Here you can keep track of your clients or different projects you are managing simultaneously with columns such as ‘Doing’ ‘Waiting for Approval’ and ‘Completed’ to help you keep track of everything. If you have a team within your business you can also add people to task boards and communicate about the stages of a task and upload draft files.
The Microsoft Suite is amazing and I have to admit that Microsoft Powerpoint is one of my favourites, however, Google Drive now gives you the capability of accessing your files from anywhere. Google Drive is a file synchronisation service which is supported by cloud software. Users can create folders and allow their team to work on documents at the same time through sharing capabilities.
With Google Drive, you will never turn up to a meeting unprepared as you can take your documents around with you on your phone!
This list of platforms is in no way extensive to the must-have tools for running your small business, but it’s a start and a good one at that.
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