6 Tools to Maximize Resource Use of Your First Business

While you can technically tighten a bolt with the tip of the knife and nail down something with a piece of steel pipe, things are a lot simpler when you have a screwdriver and a hammer. The right tool makes your job simpler and the effects more efficient.

The thing to keep in mind is that modern digital tools do more than just give you an opportunity to do your job better/quicker. They can actually make up for a lack of resources and manpower.

Just think about it: the right project management tool helps you avoid the need for an office (or a bigger office) by allowing your staff to work remotely (at least part-time). A CRM tool eliminates the need to outsource your analytics, while accounting software allows you to handle a lot of your financial processes on your own (without the need to outsource it all to an accountant).

They can give a competitive edge to a much smaller business. With that in mind, here are the top six tools that can help you maximize the resource use of your small business.

World in hand
photo credit: Anne Nygard / Unsplash

1. Productivity tools

As a small business, you’re always running on a tight schedule. Normally, you would counter having more tasks with a larger team, but what if you can’t afford a larger team?

Paying a team of the same size for more hours is one solution; however, it could turn out to be even costlier. You see, paying two employees for six hours is often cheaper than paying one person for 12 hours for two reasons. First, overworked staff members don’t work the same. Second, those last four hours are, most likely, overtime, which means that you end up paying more per hour.

The solution isn’t to drive your staff harder but to make them more productive. Encouraging them to use productivity tools is a move that will make them outperform. More importantly, you need to use them yourself. The thing is that you are your most valuable asset and the only person in the enterprise whose time cannot be substituted with someone else. Always keep that in mind.

2. Customer relationship management (CRM) system

Whenever you open a guide about how to improve your marketing, adjust your pricing, or enhance your customer support, the first tip is always to listen to what your audience wants. How do you do this?

In a conventional (offline) retail store, you would have to rely on customers approaching you and communicating this directly; however, this doesn’t translate that well to the digital world. Even then, you would have to actively encourage your customers to actually leave feedback and not it down.

The simplest way to do this in the digital world is with a customer relationship system (CRM). With the apps listed by Techopedia, you have an easier time collecting customer data, centralizing it, and having it available on-demand.

The simplest way is to check out the best and most popular options, do some research and comparisons between the apps that you’re seriously considering using, and then just pick one. The bottom line is that all the apps on the list are more than decent and that they’ll always present a massive advantage over having no app at all.

3. Project management platform

Collaboration was always important, even before people worked primarily online. Today, it doesn’t matter what you do; you need some form of collaboration platform, even if it’s just regular scheduling software and a space for sharing files.

You see, remote workers (12.7% of the population are full-time remote workers with an extra 28% working remotely at least part-time) depend exclusively on these platforms. However, even those working from offices usually transfer files, manage to-do lists, and track progress on various projects via a collaboration tool. This is the same logic as people sitting just a few desks away from each other using DM tools to communicate. It’s just much more convenient.

Even in fields like construction, it’s easier to manage field teams with the right project management platform, especially since everyone has a smartphone that they can use to access the platform.

If for no other reason, using project management tools helps you keep all your files and data centralized. This way, you can get them on demand whenever you need them.

Email marketing

4. Email marketing automation

Even in this day and age, email is the single most important form of outreach. It’s the staple of the business world and the way to reach out to your customers, partners, and everyone else in the business world.

Having the right tool for email marketing automation can help you save time, increase efficiency, and, overall, boost your results.

The next thing you need are email templates for every customer journey stage. A welcome email, a promotion email, announcing an event, and retargeting customers are not one and the same thing. Sure, you always introduce yourself and list the company name, your name, and your position in the company, but this is where all the similarities end.

You need to learn how the subject line, the first sentence, and the USP affect the success rate of your emails. This is also quite useful for your customer segmentation process. By having well-defined segments, you can simultaneously run several different marketing campaigns.

5. Accounting software

The biggest problem with handling all your accounting as a small business (especially as a sole proprietor) is the fact that you probably don’t have any previous experience. The processes are fairly simple (from reporting your profits, paying taxes, and handling payrolls) and with the right tool, you can easily just streamline them.

Accounting software won’t replace your need for accountants and bookkeepers, but it can reduce your reliance on them. With the right software, an accountant can replace an accounting department, a single online bookkeeper can replace several, and you can even handle some rudimentary accounting jobs without help from an expert.

6. Communication tools

Having communication tools that are separate from your standard tools is incredibly important. First of all, in the age where making a separation between business and private lives is difficult (since they’re just one app and one tab away), you have to take an extra step of precaution just to be safe.

Moreover, you need to streamline your business processes and ensure that everything takes place through the right channels. First of all, this increases your online security and makes it easier to find where everything is. Imagine downtime caused by the fact that you just can’t recall whether the communication with a coworker happened on Viber or Skype.

Sure, a part of this communication will also take place through project management tools, email, etc. but having the right IM software is incredibly important, as well.

Businesswoman using productivity tools

The right set of tools can make a bigger difference in productivity than you know

With the right set of tools, a small business can easily outcompete its much larger counterparts. Just keep in mind one thing: when picking these tools, don’t just observe them as standalone tools. You should also check for integrations, which will make your activity in the digital world more streamlined and your efficiency a lot higher.