Running a business, however small, is no walk in the park. With little or no staff, you would have to take care of the many challenges inherent in business management, which can include financing, marketing, managing deliverables and growing the business, among other things.
Like a plumber and his tools, it is imperative that you are equipped with spot-on business applications to grow your business, as allowing yourself to settle for software systems that get in the way of effective communication, data accuracy and reliability, client relationships and employee engagement are detrimental to success.
If you’re in the market for tools to help you manage your business more effectively, here are five you might want to take a look at:
Bitrix24 is a free social intranet framework for small businesses comprised of a maximum of 12 team members. It comes with a whole host of functionalities: CRM for sales transactions, calendars, file sharing, instant messaging, photo gallery, activity stream, badges and awards, integration with popular social networks, project and workforce management, HR information system, knowledge sharing and management, and more.
For businesses of more than 12 people, Bitrix24 Cloud is available starting at $99 per month. No additional fees for every additional user.
A business established by former Yammer executives, CoTap is a colleague-to-colleague text messaging platform that believes texting will be the workplace’s soon-to-be primary way to communicate, just like it is now in people’s personal lives. With CoTap, you can easily reach employees on their smartphones for engaging updates, urgent alerts and important news. You can also customize your push notifications, send messages to individuals or groups, analyze usage and engagement, and export and manage data.
Founded in May 2013, CoTap is still in beta mode.
Nimble CRM revolutionizes the way CRM works. From a simple name in a database, your contacts become richly-detailed persons complete with their social details, how you’ve interacted with them over time, when you’ve last communicated with them, and when you’re supposed to meet them. You see what they’re talking about in their social networks as well, giving you a better feel for their personality – and all in the same page, effectively doing away with unproductive “contact fragmentation.”
Nimble’s pricing strategy is plain and simple at $15 per user per month. They also offer a free 14-day trial, no credit card required.
FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting, billing and invoicing software that’s intuitive and simple to use. With FreshBooks, you can work at your desk or on the go, quickly and easily track your billable minutes, accept payments via credit card, PayPal or through other payment gateways, and automatically import expenses from your credit card or bank account, even take a snapshot of your receipt to attach to your invoice.
If you only have one client to manage, FreshBooks can be used for free for life. For more clients, paid packages start at $19.95 per month.
Evernote is a note-taking and archiving app to bookmark a page, save text, links or images, store your reference materials, and more. If there’s anything important you need to remember, simply log it into Evernote and you shouldn’t worry about your memory failing you later. Evernote can be used anywhere using a computer, smartphone or tablet.
Evernote offers free and premium accounts. When you go premium at $5 per month, Evernote allows you to upload larger files and notes, work offline, search through PDFs and Microsoft Office files. For teams, Evernote Business makes knowledge sharing faster and easier and starts at $10 per user per month.
About the Author: Maricel Rivera is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to business and technology blogs. She’s also content writer for Comindware, an adaptive BPM and project management software provider. You may connect with her on Google+.
Photo credit: Jorge Quinteros