One of the more significant challenges that today’s small businesses face relates to keeping up with the competition in a fast-paced climate.
Many larger and more well-established businesses have deeper pockets and more substantial infrastructure, and these two factors make it challenging for smaller businesses to keep pace.
However, there are now many cloud-based IT solutions that provide you with the ability to enjoy the benefits of robust infrastructure on a scalable, affordable basis.
Using SaaS solutions is so prevalent you will rarely find a business in almost any niche or industry not using these solutions in some capacity. The good news is that software companies have created numerous programs to meet your unique needs for email marketing, automation, project management, and communication.
With a closer look at some leading programs well-suited for small- or mid-sized businesses, you may make a few improvements to your operations.
Email Marketing – MailChimp
In many industries, email marketing continues to be a cost-effective and direct way to reach consumers. It is suitable for reaching large numbers of personal and business consumers alike, and the messages can be as personalized or detailed as you need them to be.
However, managing a large email campaign can be complicated in many areas. Through email marketing automation, you can send out action-oriented messages in minimal time, and you can use metrics to gauge the results of your campaign.
Through analytics, you can also make thoughtful improvements to future campaigns. These analytics include information about bounce rates, open rates, click-through rates and more.
MailChimp is a great email automation application that is easy to use and that may meet all of your needs. Even with a learning curve on the way email marketing works, you’ll find that this program has the intuitive features and easy-to-use platform that makes it exceptional for all of your needs.
Through this program, you can manage email marketing lists, send out newsletters, create campaigns and more. These are professional-looking campaigns can be created with ease through email templates and many design features. You can even add landing pages, promo codes and more to your email messages.
You can enjoy the benefits of a free plan and send up to 12,000 emails monthly, and you can pay additional fees as you go.
Communication – Slack
Effective and easy communication is essential in a fast-paced business environment. Poor communication can lead to confusion, inefficiency, lost sales and more. Difficult or slow communication can also have similar negative effects.
There are now many ways that business professionals communicate regularly, including chatting, emails, phone conversations and more.
Slack is an excellent communication tool that many smaller and larger businesses are using to improve communication efforts with great results. This program is available with a free basic version for small-scale needs, and subscriptions are available for larger businesses or when the need for additional features is beneficial.
Slack’s primary benefit is that it connects with your preferred communication methods, such as your email account and numerous chatting apps. It compiles conversations, messages, phone logs and more that you have created into a single platform so that they are easy to locate.
Some apps that it is compatible with include Dropbox, Asana, Trello and more. Because this can organize your communications conveniently, it is a great way to improve productivity and potentially provide your clients and customers with better service.
Collaboration, Project Management and Communication – Office 365
Learning how to use various programs and applications for different purposes can take time and can even potentially lead to increased confusion and inefficiency. Some applications conveniently feature a full suite of programs and applications that work together in different ways.
They also have a similar interface or platform, which makes the learning curve less steep.
One of the leading platforms for collaboration, project management, and communication is the Office 365 suite from Microsoft.
Many business professionals are familiar with at least some applications in this suite, such as Outlook email or Word for document creation and processing. The suite also includes PowerPoint, OneNote, Visio, and several other programs. The suite has several amazing features that you may be unfamiliar with. For example, you can share files easily with others.
While you are editing a file shared from another user, you can chat online with the file’s creator. There are new graphics capabilities in PowerPoint. Another feature is that can collaborate in groups through a shared website link that is created through the suite.
Some smaller business owners initially learn how to use this full suite of programs because it is so comprehensive. You may even find that this is the only suite that you and your team need to use. Keep in mind that this suite is available with an annual subscription.
Social Media Presence – HootSuite
Social media continues to be one of the most cost-effective and convenient methods of direct communication with your audience. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others are popular, and many business owners maintain business accounts on various platforms.
Keeping up with these platforms and to maximize their benefits can be challenging.
HootSuite is a complete social media management tool. Through this application, you can create campaigns, manage your content, and even analyze data so you can make smart improvements going forward. You can even program social media posts to display on a set schedule.
The platform is designed to be easy-to-use, and you can quickly learn all the features of the platform. Regardless of your needs, you will find this social media presence tool to be cost-effective.
Online Accounting – QuickBooks Online
Managing your finances well is essential regardless of the size of your business. However, keeping up with your bills, tracking accounts receivable, paying employees and more can be time-consuming and stressful. You need to find a platform or resource that can help you simplify your accounting and financial management processes.
QuickBooks has been one of the leading small business financial management tools for years, and you can now use the QuickBooks Online version. This is a web-based application that also has a mobile app feature, and it has robust capabilities.
For example, it lets you monitor credit card and bank accounts, track expenses, draft invoices, create and manage financial reports and more. Because businesses have used this program for decades, you can expect that it has been refined numerous times over the years to make it truly easy to use.
Small business owners now have access to numerous exceptional tools that can simplify processes in many ways. They can also improve efficiency, decrease stress and provide many other benefits. Examine how some of these excellent tools may benefit your business today.