As a small business owner you have to wear a lot of hats at the same time. You know this. Often the success of your organization and your own sanity is a function of not just bringing in the right people to help you run your organization (more on that next week) but implementing the right tools that let you run your business and not allowing it to run you and your life. The following are a brief selection of tools I use to help manage and run my businesses in order to keep us as productive as possible. Just because I’m using these, doesn’t make it the right solution for you though, be sure to evaluate the tools on your own and decide if it’s a good solution for a problem you have – don’t just implement a solution if it’s not going to solve a problem you’re currently experiencing!
DropBox: Dropbox is a cloud computing resource. Think of it as a computer hard drive on the internet. You can use this to store and share files with other members of your team. If you’re a one man/woman show, you can put your critical documents on DropBox, and not only are you able to access them from any internet connection, but more importantly, you have a backup strategy in place so if you have a computer failure, you won’t lose your critical files.
Google Suite of Services: Google provides a lot of great free services – mail, calendar, drive, etc – but the real power is when you become a corporate client and pay for these services. You’ll be able to get a domain name and run your email through Google, and take advantage of all of the tools and functionality they offer, including a mind boggling array of additional applications written by other companies that integrate into your Google account to help you manage your business, from customer database solutions, to email marketing, to project management, and beyond.
QuickBooks: QuickBooks is accounting software. For many entrepreneurs the idea of accounting is akin to pulling your fingernails out, but it is a VITAL part of understanding how your company is doing. You may have in your head how things are going, but if your numbers are matching your mental image, you can be in a much worse (or better) situation that you realized. Staying on top of your accounting is key to allowing you to make strategic decisions and continue to grow your business.
These are a few of the tools that we utilize in our businesses that can be beneficial for anyone in any line of business. There are of course tools that you will utilize that are specific to your industry or line of business. What other tools are you using that other entrepreneurs should be utilizing as well?