Ask any experienced entrepreneur and they’ll let you know that running a small business is a lot more complicated than it originally seems. Once you've registered your business, taken care of all your licensing requirements, and acquired your stock, there’s still an endless to-do list of paperwork that needs your attention. How are you managing inventory? What are your processes for invoicing so that the money comes in, and tracking expenses when the money goes out? Like an iceberg, the competently managed business only shows 10% of the effort that goes into running it.
Luckily, we live in an age of entrepreneurs, many of whom are more than willing to build their own businesses on solving the management technology problems of others. After all, who better to identify and serve the needs of small businesses than other small businesses themselves? These business management programs are made for small businesses by small businesses.
Invoicing & Expenses
Looking for an easy, all-in one suite to help you design, send, and track invoices and client payments, as well as manage your expenses? Check out FreshBooks, an invoicing suite designed specifically for small businesses by a small business owner to provide easy, beautiful invoice design and tracking—including late payment reminders for your clients. The company began in 2003 after its CEO, who was running a 4-man design company at the time, accidentally saved over an old invoice in Microsoft Word.
The suite runs on all major platforms and even allows you to use its iOS or Android app to take pictures of expense receipts while on the job. Does seeing a client require multiple travel expenses? Just take a picture of the receipt with your camera phone and the expense will be incorporated into your next invoice for the client. And, since it’s cloud-based, you can look up or edit any of your billing information at any time.
Employee Management & Communication
Remove the need to play telephone with your employees with the Facebook-like communications platform ShiftHub. This small business HR platform allows you to upload important memos, track team project performance, present policy updates, and even work out scheduling conflicts from one cloud-based dashboard. In essence it functions as a social messaging site for your small business, with the bonus of productivity analytics to boot.
Customer Service & Loyalty
Repeat customers are a business’ bread and butter, and keeping them happy is your best way of both maintaining a steady income stream as well as attracting new clients. This is why great customer service and encouraging customer loyalty are so important to small businesses. Perka is a customer loyalty app that sees to both, not only rewarding shoppers with the typical discount item after a certain number of purchases, but also remembering repeat customers and notifying your staff when they enter the store. Your staff will know who the customer is so they can greet them by name, see past purchase history, and provide a more personal experience—so they’re more likely to come back again and again.
Instead of counting up sold products, subtracting it from the previous inventory numbers, and then adding any new supply shipments, wouldn't it be easier if you could just manage your inventory in real-time? That’s what Cashier Live, a combination inventory management & point-of-sale program, attempts to do. Using your iOS device or PC, you can input new inventory into their cloud-based management system, which will sync with your POS to record purchases and remove them from the current inventory, and notify you when a certain item’s stock is low.
Analytics & Marketing
Getting the word out about your business can be one of the most daunting parts of running it, and yet it’s also one of the most necessary. You have to research possible new clients, identify their needs, pitch your product or service and then… deal with the fact your marketing email will be marked as spam or trashed a majority of the time. Constant Contact's Toolkit works to make a frustrating process easier by providing you with a multitude of customizable campaign templates.
This means you don’t need to be an expert marketer to run a marketing campaign. Simply plug in your contacts and their demographic data and your logo, choose a campaign type, and it will help you design and run an email, social media, or feedback campaign targeted to your clients. It will also collect data on what worked and what didn't and makes it easily readable, so that you can be even better equipped to run your next campaign.
Curious if your business management techniques could use an upgrade? Make sure your current technology is making your business management easier, not harder. Our Geeks are experienced in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs implement more effective infrastructure solutions and increase their efficiency.