Software has become an increasingly important factor in the success of a small business, and an increasing amount of these businesses are increasing their investments in these tools. These software tools should provide a solid foundation from which help your business operate at peak efficiency. Below, we’ve listed some of our favorite for various categories.
Every type of business has a lot of financial considerations, and this is especially true for eCommerce businesses. Budgets, payroll, operating costs, it all can get overwhelming, especially for business small enough to not have a department dedicated to managing these things. Software that simplifies and improves the accuracy of this process is important for a small business, and Microsoft Excel is not going to cut it. There are a lot of great finance and accounting tools out there, and you’ll have to find what works best for your particular business and management style. Some of our favorites include Xero as well as MYOB.
A CRM is a very important tool for creating maintaining solid relationships, helping create increased sales and repeat customers. A good CRM generates valuable information about your customers, which can help you understand and fulfill their needs, providing insights that help you improve your products or services. There are two types of CRM that we wish to highlight here.
Sales and Lead Management CRMs: These are what most people think of when they hear the term “CRM”. These CRMs are designed to help you tackle a simple, yet challenging task: Generate more leads, and turn more of your leads into conversions. Salesforce and Sugar CRM are two great solutions here.
Good teamwork requires options between the traditional call or email. Good solutions for communications are important both internally and for customer relationships as well. Customer communication choices are more limited, as you’ll want to pick something they are familiar with and might already have set up. Skype, while considered by many to be an outdated dumpster-fire, is often used for collaboration with customers as it’s the most widely used dumpster-fire out there. Chances are, your customer already has it installed or easily available on their computer. The more hoops customers have to jump through to get going with you, the more frustrated they become. In this way, and can be hard to move to the latest and greatest for customer communication.
For customer support chat and a ticket system, Intercom and Zendesk are great solutions.
Internal communication is a different story, and it’s just as, if not more important than customer communication. Free idea exchange and fast collaboration between employees is crucial, especially for business with any remote workers or locations in different areas of the globe.
First, you’ll want some sort of document collaboration tool. Google Drive (and the office suite with it) is an easy to use solution that will be perfect for most scenarios. For general communication and organization, Slack and Trello are great standard solutions. Of course, these aren’t the only option and you’ll have to find what suits your business the best.
In order to succeed in the modern age as a small business, you’re going to need to get smart about your SEO fast. SEO tools help you measure backlink performance, provide keyword analysis, show crawl behavior, and more. Another important aspect is detecting negative SEO, and you’ll want something that can run a backlink audit. SEMRushBot and SEOsitecheckup are great places to start.
As an eCommerce business, the design and performance of your online storefront is one of the most crucial factors determining your success. What’s right for your business depends on a number of factors, including your size, the type of products/services you are selling, and how deeply customized you need your store to be. A few common solutions are Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce.
With all of the right solutions in place, you can see amazing results over time from the improvements in efficiency and customer communication. However, for the sake of simplicity, it might be best to focus on one area at a time, slowly improving your workflow and familiarizing yourself with these tools so you can use them properly. While you’re here, you might want to check out our analysis of the Best eCommerce Platform for Small businesses, or our blog on the Best WordPress plugins for small businesses.
If you’re looking for someone to develop your eCommerce storefront, CodeClouds is a great choice. We have specialized teams of dedicated developers for Magento, Shopify, as well as WooCommerce, providing a flexible set of solutions to match the nature of your online business.
Stay in tune and never miss a post when you subscribe.