Anyone who is actively involved in a business knows that using the right tools for the job is the only way you can be sure of increasing productivity and sales. Today, a “tool” is anything from an app or software suite that is designed to help you achieve a specific aim and a methodology which can help you to improve your business practices.
Digital and automated tools have created something of a revolution in the world of commerce over the past few years, and this has resulted in new opportunities across the board for companies both big and small. Business-side advances go hand in hand with ever-increasing customer expectations, so remaining up-to-date is essential.
Whatever type of business you are involved in, there are sure to be new innovations that can help you achieve better productivity. So what kind of business tools are out there, and how can you put them to the best use in your own particular business?
Automated systems can be applied over a wide range of business activities, and in the area of sales they can really come into their own. One big advantage is that automation reduces human error. For instance, items such as invoice payments can be streamlined to become more cost effective. Accounting programs can track payments and prepare detailed financial data via simple user interfaces.
Mobile technology advances mean that many purchases of goods and services are now being made online by customers who are using phones or tablets. It also means that frontline staff can operate “in the field” while still remaining in touch with all the data and information that they need. This makes response times shorter and customer contact far more direct, whether by using email, social networks or direct calls.
Perhaps the biggest impact of new tools in business is the way payments for sales transactions have been revolutionized. From point of sale purchases that use contactless methods, to automated online sales that use sophisticated merchant technology and popular payment methods such as PayPal, many modern tools allow businesses of all sizes to accept virtually any kind of payment across a wide range of scenarios.
Non-sales staff tools
Every strata of a business can benefit from using tools to improve efficiency, even at the director and investor levels. Infographics are a great way to share information in a way that grabs attention and clearly sets out procedures and working practices.
What used to be known as “time and motion studies” that was often outsourced to specialist companies, is now much easier to do in-house using various tools and apps. Many tools are available in this area that can help businesses speed up tasks and improve the way workers go about their duties. These show exactly how much time is spent on daily tasks such as social email and word processing.
Having tools that allow everyone involved in a company to connect to each other can be very effective and efficient. Mobile phone technology, email and other popular methods mean that we are all able to connect with each other more easily than before. However, sometimes in a business, there is a need for an in-house system that offers degrees of security and privacy that are not provided by open public networks.
If your business deals with clients, partners, and colleagues in multiple locations, it can be difficult to arrange face-to-face meetings, so using tools that have HD Video Conference features as well as other audio call capabilities can have a marked impact.
These types of tools can be especially important at higher levels of operations, and applications such as Diligent board meeting software can be the ideal solution to avoid having to rely on open third party networks which can be accessed easily by the public.
Tools for everyone
Essentially any small or large business that wants to save valuable resources as well as time can benefit from using digital tools. Growing companies using cloud computing can make use of storage platforms that offer access at any time and from any location. Everything from spreadsheets, presentations and how to manuals can be located on a central database. This allows “lighter” tech to be used by employees who are operating away from their base, while giving them a virtually limitless amount of data and information at their fingertips.
Streamlining the flow of ideas can also be achieved via cloud tools. There are collaborative methods that allow team members to interact and share knowledge and experience in order to better manage a project.
More to come
Of course there are only so many hours in the working day, but making sure that your business is fully utilizing time as a vital resource can be made much easier when you use the right tools. Increasing your output correlates with better productivity, and time management is probably the most essential element in the equation.
Using analytical tools to assess performance doesn’t just end with finding out how much time is spent on one task or another. Detailed data from internet search results, customer demographic information, and an overview of competitors and rivals can all be achieved using the current crop of business tools. As a business owner, you are given a real advantage when you use these latest resources.
The future development of these tools is bound to see an increase in their effectiveness and usability. With constant and rapid change in customer and consumer behaviors, a successful business needs to make sure it can react quickly and in the right way. This is only possible by embracing the new paradigms and making sure that every available business tool is being used accurately and to its full potential.
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More apps from our small business tools section.