4 Technology Must-Haves for Any Small Business

By TracyMoore | small business

Apr 03
technology for small business

Technology has changed everything from the way consumers buy and research goods and services, to how we as business owners engage and market our business. We know that technology can be effective for improving productivity, but with all the choices it can be difficult to know what one 'really' needs.

After 10 years as an entrepreneur I've used various technologies. Here is my list of must-haves for any SMB owner.​

Accounting Software

Spreadsheets and bank account statements alone will not cut it as a business owner. Yes, I keep an eye on what's in the bank and I use excel to help me calculate projection scenarios, but at the end of the day you need more.

Here are my four recommendations for accounting software:

  • QuickBooks
  • FreshBooks
  • Zoho books
  • wave accounting

Wave Accounting is a free cloud software that is good for micro-businesses just starting out. It has less functionality, however if you are just starting your business this may be all you need. If you want customer service help, you will need to pay for that service. This platform also doesn't have a mobile app, but if you primarily work from a pc you should be fine.

Website

There is no excuse not to have website. There are multiple options to fit any budget or need. From do-it-yourself, to edit-yourself, to built-to-suit. Below, I'm breaking down your options.

Do-It-Yourself

If you don't have the money for a designer, but need a website consider one of these options. They are designed for a novice looking to develop their own site. There will be less functionality than with a WordPress site, but the price tag is more budget-friendly.

  • wix
  • squarespace
  • shopify

Are you a product-based business looking to sell from a web page, email, social media, even your phone? Well, Shopify is a starter platform for you.

Edit-Yourself

A WordPress site is a good middle ground between the do-it-yourself and a site developed from the ground-up. If you are technical you may be able to develop your WordPress site on your own. Otherwise, consider having your developer create your site using a WordPress Theme that makes updates user-friendly.

Being in control of your website is important so that you can make changes without always calling a developer. It's important to not leave your site static. Not only is this a negative for visitors, it a bad mark when it comes to SEO (search engine optimization).

Here are a few edit-friendly WordPress themes:

  • thrivethemes
  • divi themes
  • godaddy

If you are looking for a one-stop-shop to have your site built and hosted, GoDaddy may be a good option. The have created their own themes for WordPress, but you can't beat the round-the-clock customer service they provide.

Built-to-Suit

Having a developer design a website from the ground-up in not cheap, nor fast. However, if you have a complicated selling process and are highly e-commerce, being built from scratch makes sense.

eMail Service Provider

Sending one-off emails to your clients is ok, but sending out a large group of emails without the option for the receiver to opt-out is spam and illegal. With privacy laws you need to have an email service in-place. Email providers can also help you develop relationships.

Did you know that 75% of people who first engage with your brand are not ready to make a purchase? Email marketing is the best option for building the 'know, like and trust' that you need to convert a lead to a customer. Email marketing will not only help you do this, you can set up automations and drip campaigns so your email marketing is working while your busy on other areas of your business.

Here are three brands that I have used:

  • mailchimp
  • active campaigns
  • constant contact

A less expensive option than the others, Constant Contact has been around for years. I used it for more than five years and found it to be easy to use, but glitchy. While you will find Constant Contact provides less functionality than those listed above, it's price may be attractive for those just getting started with an email platform.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System

A CRM system is not just for big businesses. It's just as important for small business owners to keep record of their interactions with customers. As mentioned above most customers will not buy from you on your first interaction. Keeping a CRM system will not only help you manage customer relationships, it will also provide you intelligence on your sales process.

Here are a few CRM systems developed with the small business owner in mind.

  • zoho crm
  • insightly crm
  • appiTivo crm
  • salesforce sales cloud lightning crm

I would be remiss not to mention SalesForce since it is the first CRM system that comes to mind most often. If you have a sales force and a more traditional business model you won't find a more mature, robust, highly customizable CRM platform for your business.

There will be other tools you will find that help you stay organize and be more productive, however for almost every business, the above tools are a necessity just to get you started.

Discover the 4 Technology Must-Haves for Every Small Business & Budget

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