Every small business owner or operator has a tool belt. For some in the skilled trades, like plumbing or electrical work, it’s a literal tool belt. For others, it’s symbolic.
Increasingly, local businesses in all industries are using technology as part of their digital tool belt. As we’ve written before, small businesses are adopting software-as-a-service (SaaS) in droves, with 94% planning to use it by the end of 2017. In short, small business software is going mainstream. So, let’s find out which software systems are proving useful!
Tyler Kaune of LM Restaurants in North Carolina is something of an expert on small business technology. We asked him which technology tools he loves the most. Here’s what he said:
Freshdesk is a customer support platform. Founded in 2010, Freshdesk is a San Francisco software company that serves the customer support needs of 100,000 customers, including SMBs. It’s in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for customer relationship management (CRM), which means software analysts think it’s pretty decent.
No business can ignore social media anymore. HootSuite helps SMBs and large companies alike get visibility into everything that’s being said about them on social media from a single place. It also has analytics and reporting so you can keep track of how your brand is trending online. It’s not cheap — $499 per month, billed annually. It’s a better fit for medium-sized businesses than very small ones.
For crunching numbers, there’s still no more ubiquitous tool than Microsoft Excel. This popular spreadsheet tool can be used to track inventories, calculate monthly profit and loss (P&L) statements, or even do all your accounting if you’re a smaller shop. It’s simple, but it has its limitations. If your payment process requires invoicing, for example, you might be better off using an invoicing solution like QuickBooks.
Companies large and small are starting to see the value in setting organizational goals to ensure alignment and focus. One way to do that is to define your company’s “objectives and key results” (OKRs). Google has a famous explanation of OKRs in its free management toolkit called re:Work.
WorkBoard allows your company to set measurable goals, assign owners to those goals, and track performance over time. A basic plan is $9 per user per month billed annually, with the first 10 users free. Also, we’ve used BetterWorks for OKRs at Womply, and we’ve had good success.
We promise, we didn’t pay Tyler to say this! 🙂
Womply uses data you can’t get anywhere else to take work off your plate so you can focus on the things only a human can do. For Tyler, that means empowering him to read and respond to every online review posted about LM Restaurants’ dozens of properties from a single place. Womply saves Tyler hours each day, and his efforts have helped the company improve online ratings and increase revenue.
What are your favorite technology tools? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org let us know. Maybe we’ll highlight your favorites (and your company) on our blog!