Small business owners have enough on their plate. In a lot of cases, they have a finite number of team members, resources, and time, and all of the above are stretched as thin as possible.
This is where business management tools come into play, running to the rescue with software and solutions that can streamline your processes, automate a few tasks, and give you back one thing you can never have enough of: time.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at 6 different tools that every small business needs in 2019 along with some tips for how to make the best use of them.
1. Trello’s Project Management Software
Project management software is so important because it visualizes everything that you have going on and where things are at. It also keeps people on the same page and ensures that nothing is slipping through the cracks.
Trello is a free, easy-to-use project management tool that’s available online. Projects can be broken down and organized depending on what stage of the process they’re in, moving “cards” (or specific projects) from “board” to “board.” Each card have tasks added to it, along with deadlines, followers, Google files, and comments.
2. Tresta’s Virtual Phone Number
Do you ever wish you had a separation between personal and professional, with a clear line between the two? Certain factors make it difficult to draw the line between home and work hours, and having an ability to do exactly that is essential to your mental wellbeing.
Virtual phone numbers are one great solution to this problem. They’re real phone numbers that work with the cell phone you already have, allowing you to have two distinct and secure phone numbers without having to invest in a second phone or phone line.
Tresta can help with this. Our virtual phone numbers will work with your phone, and you can choose from local numbers with your area code or a toll-free number. In addition to giving you an extra number, it comes with advanced features like call scheduling or routing for the times when you can’t answer the phone, call menus, and analytics. Users are sent to your business’s voicemail if needed, and they’ll see your business as the caller ID– not you.
You can learn more about how Tresta can give you a little separation, a lot of credibility, and a ton of time back here.
3. Google Drive’s Cloud Storage
If you’ve ever experienced that awful, sinking feeling of watching a glass of water topple over onto your laptop while its screen sparks and then goes to black, you’ll understand the appeal of cloud storage.
Nope, just me? Ok, then. Cloud storage is still immediately relevant to business owners, because it securely keeps certain documents or files available online, where they can be accessed by you from any computer or by any team member who has permission.
Google Drive’s cloud storage is a tool that increasing numbers of businesses are already using for good reason. Google Docs is their version of Word, and Google Sheets is their take on Excel, you can create and share these files online with your team members. Organize them into folders, keeping them organized and at the hands of the right people.
Google isn’t your thing? Check out DropBox as an alternative.
4. Slack’s Instant Communication
Email is great, with the caveat that it can be a little slow. Instant messaging apps that provide chat services are the solution to this, especially when you’re working closely with your own team or with clients one-on-one. The responses can be lightning fast, and the notifications on both desktop and mobile are incredibly helpful.
Slack is our go-to for this. It’s reliable, and it has incredible integrations. You can easily share Google Docs files, create group and private chats, and even see what time zones different team members are in.
5. PATLive’s Virtual Receptionist
You’re swamped, and sometimes answering the phone to address a client question or concern just isn’t something you have time for. And which would you rather do– spend your days being unproductive answering the same basic questions about your business’s practices over and over, or focusing on the work you love doing?
Virtual receptionists are an outstanding solution here, and PATLive has you covered. Virtual receptionists are much more affordable than an actual, in-office receptionist, especially once you factor in their salary, benefits, and training. Our expert customer service reps are all US agents, and they’ll be available 24/7 to answer calls so that you don’t have to (and no holiday pay required!).
You can take time off your business without worrying that they’ll flock to the competition in your absence, and know that we’ll take care of your clients as if they’re our own.
6. Quickbooks’ Invoicing & Expense Software
Invoicing and expense tracking software are crucial for all businesses. This system will automate things as much as possible, even tracking when your invoices have been opened, let alone when they’ve been paid. The additional features like expense tracking, tax estimates, and detailed reporting are all strong selling points, and being able to confirm that invoices were received and opened can offer peace of mind.
Quickbooks is our official recommendation for this software. It comes with a variety of payment options, including the ability to accept credit cards or bank transfers. Their reporting is also outstanding, and you’ll never have to manually create a P&L ever again. Having actual dynamic invoices to send to your client is also a plus, and gives you a lot more credibility than a PDF of a word document.
Having the right tools available to you will revolutionize your business and take certain tasks off your hands or make them much more painless. You’ll also get more time to enjoy doing what you love. As a bonus, all of these tools can help you look more professional, earning you credibility with leads, customers, and even potential investors or employees, giving you the ability to scale when you’re ready to do so.
Interested in discovering how we can help you help your customers? Learn more about PATLive’s Virtual Receptionist services here.