If you have been in business for the last couple of decades, you have read about (and perhaps have employed) new technology that improves small business efficiencies. Blink, and there is new software or social media to help your small business grow. So how can you evaluate which is the essential software you should be leveraging daily, versus what isn’t so necessary?
I’m here to recommend the five software programs every small business should be using, regardless of your industry or how experienced you are—you can be an industry native like Ray Debbane or brand-new to the scene to benefit from them.
Microsoft Office contains essential programs you will use throughout the course of your business day (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint). Customers, vendors, and employees alike will expect you to have the Microsoft Office suite of programs in order to open basic attachments sent over email.
Outlook allows for improved email organization, Word is great for contracts, Excel is fantastic for the operations-oriented employee, and PowerPoint is a tool critical for most salespeople. Don’t conduct business without the Office suite.
Great financial management is a key factor in the success of a small business. QuickBooks allows for that in all types of industries. QuickBooks is the preferred accounting software of most small businesses. It allows for extensive reporting, clear tracking of expenses and earnings, consolidation of tax information, and automatic data backup. Make sure your business is not without this solid accounting software.
Every business needs a logo, a website, regularly updated website graphics, marketing graphics for social media sites, and graphics for collateral items. Adobe Photoshop is a one-stop shop for generating all images you’ll need for this type of work. Make sure someone on your team (or someone close to it) is capable of using this tool.
Make sure your computers are secure by ensuing they are protected by antivirus software. Protect your employees and their computers from viruses, bots, worms, and spyware, and prevent the loss of valuable time that a crippling virus can draw from a business day.
Salesforce is a phenomenal Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool that will allow you to keep your leads and customers separate, and to manage your sales pipeline clearly, improving your forecasting capability. This tool is also essential if you have any sort of sales turnover (inevitable), because it shows the complete history and profile of every customer, so knowledge transfer is less of an issue.
In short, while there are thousands of software options available for your small business’s use, I’ve recommended the five most effective in helping to manage, protect, and run your business with the greatest efficiency.
Do you have a favorite software program to recommend to small business users? Let’s hear about it!