There are a variety of Software-as-a-Service platforms and applications that you can use to help your business succeed in the 21st Century. Leveraging tech in your business makes it easier for you to stay on top of clients, balances and more. Here are some of RMCU's tips as you figure out some high-tech solutions that can help you do what you do best.
There are several accounting software options out there for your business, but Quickbooks seems to have the process the most dialed in. Quickbooks is a widely popular brand from Intuit; makers of other in-demand products like TurboTax. They offer a 30-day free trial and I highly recommend taking advantage of the trial before you decide which pieces of Quickbooks you need.
Quickbooks helps with sales and inventory tracking and you can create invoices through the software. There are several reports to help you track the money you are owed and what you need to payout. You can easily view past due invoices and organize all of your sales within the platform.
Along with sales and inventory tracking, Quickbooks tracks your bills and expenses. You can link your debit cards and credit cards to your Quickbooks platform and easily track business spending and categorize expenses. Come tax time, this is incredibly helpful.
My favorite part of Quickbooks is the reporting available within the software. Everything from profit and loss reports to balance sheets and cash flow reports are available within Quickbooks for your business. Especially for a new business owner, this can be the difference between making it and breaking it.
Some other great solutions for accounting software, often with some business specifics, are:
A CRM (Customer Relationship Management platform) is a suite of software focused on managing an organization's relationships, deals and sales pipelines, as well as a place to record interactions with customers and potential customers. A CRM system helps companies stay on task, qualify sales leads, and keep running analytics for Key Performance Initiatives (also known as KPI's) among their client-facing teams.
There are several CRM platforms available for every type of business. You have probably heard of SalesForce, which is one of the original CRM and most robust platforms. But there are a variety of options in this 5 billion dollar market space, focusing on different types of businesses, different sizes of businesses and automation solutions that can be customized to your needs.
Some of them have multi-function caveats that drive the use of the CRM, like HubSpot. Not only is Hubspot a CRM but also a content marketing platform for your business. The Boston-based company exploded onto the scene a few years ago and has become a major player in the marketing world.
Some other options to consider for a CRM are:
Collaboration is ubiquitous in the 21st Century work environment. Whether working through a Google Docs, virtual meetings on Zoom or Hangouts or sharing your work on Invision or Dropbox There are a variety of powerful tools at your fingertips, both in mobile and desktop versions.
Google Drive, Dropbox, BOX and Microsoft OneDrive all duke it out in this space. Working together means having access to what you need to do. Each of these giants has its own specific tools that enhance your experience and afford you the ability to work within their products or share your own file types with subscription models to fit any budget.
Adobe Creative Cloud is the big man on campus here, but other services like Invision, Canva, and Dribbble all do some heavy lifting in the space that has larger files, built for hi-res display. This can get even more complicated in software like Invision and Adobe XD where you can make functional prototypes where people can touch and experience applications with real functionality while they are still in production.
Communication is key. Whether you are at the 30,000-foot level or dicing up specifics of project details. This can flow into messaging you send outbound or what you have to say to your cubicle-mate. Slack is the king in this arena, but other contenders like Chatter, Fuze and WhatsApp have their preferred audience as well. For your messaging, follow-up and marketing efforts the old stand-by's of MailChimp, Constant Contact and Survey Monkey continue to be at the top of their game, helping you reach people and not violate any CAN-SPAM laws along the way.
While there are many high tech solutions for financial advice, nothing beats an advisor you can trust, who knows you and your goals. You can only read so many articles on Kabbage before you're filled with questions and need to talk to a professional. So, our last 21st Century tip is to find a solid financial advisor for your business.
Financial advisors have all the expertise needed to help your business grow. Whatever product or service your new business provides, a financial advisor can ask the right questions and find the right answers to make your life easier. They will also be able to make your business more efficient and more profitable by focusing on the actions that will get results.
A financial advisor can quickly provide accurate projections that will help you establish and then grow your business. The objective, professional observations of a financial advisor is invaluable at every stage of business growth, but perhaps never more so than in the early months. An advisor can provide you with timely insights regarding such factors as your exposure to risk, where you can economize, and investment opportunities. By pointing out opportunities, a financial advisor can help you develop and improve your business plan. He or she will have the know-how to help you make the most of circumstances that you don’t yet have the experience to spot.
A small business owner has to play many roles. Let a financial advisor help you navigate the complicated world of business ownership. Speak with a financial advisor today about more ways you can put your best foot forward in your business.
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