In the current age of explosive technical growth, you’d be hard-pressed to find a business in any industry that doesn’t have a suite of software tools to help them keep pace with the competition. These tools don’t tend to be industry-specific, as they form the base of what it takes to be successful.
You could be a large corporation with numerous assets, or a smaller local construction company – tools such as building maintenance software and a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) culture can benefit you equally well. In the following, we’ll investigate several tools that are crucial for new and old businesses if you want to keep your head above water.
1. A Content Management System
No matter what business you’re in, you will benefit from having a company website these days. After establishing a properly-coded site that displays correctly on a multitude of screen sizes (in particular, mobile), the next attribute you need is content provision.
Although you may be able to find a dedicated content provider in-house, outsourcing is often the better option. Search engines these days prioritize websites that continuously serve up quality content. Whether you use WordPress or Hubspot, or any other provider, implement a content management system that’s easy to use and possesses a wide range of useful features.
A relatively recent content management system that’s growing in popularity is Google Docs. It is highly affordable, and has a level of integrability with the web via hyperlink suggestions that the other options don’t possess.
Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM)
This will become ever more important as your business expands, since you’ll have to deal with a growing number of requests, emails, complaints, etc. It’s best to implement a robust CRM platform in the beginning, so that you and your employees can familiarize yourselves with it and avoid the learning curve later.
CRM software also helps you automate the entire process of marketing; especially if you employ email lists (which you definitely should). It is essential for competitive online selling these days.
Social Media Campaigns
All the largest companies have dedicated sections in their offices for social media. Hulu, HBO, Pepsi – you name it, they’ve got a social media manager and a suite of software to facilitate this marketing venture. The best thing about this form of advertising is that the people interested in your services already exist and are gathered together in one spot – for the most part.
Get a Facebook Business Page and start building a network, and it’ll explode in growth as your followers share your Wall Posts with their own social circles. Add LinkedIn as well for more professional contacts.The metrics are in: social media is a ranking factor in Google – as well as being capable of bringing in more traffic directly.
A few platforms that facilitate your social media integration efforts are MeetEdgar, Buffer, Later and Boardbooster. They have various unique attributes; but the basics are the same: streamline your social media posting schedule and bring several media platforms into a single dashboard.
Remote Communications and Meetings
This can be met by a VOIP call-in system. There are several free ones on the market, and they allow you to videoconference from anywhere in the world if there’s an internet connection. Google Hangouts has proven to be adequate for live-streaming, as have Microsoft’s Skype. In fact, Skype is the world leader in specifically VOIP calling. The latter is free to start; there’s a premium option that extends your abilities with landline calling and the ability to cast screens from one mobile device to another.
CMMS – Building Maintenance Software
This is one of the most comprehensive business tools on this list. Cloud-based building maintenance software has revolutionized things in terms of efficiency and the sheer breadth of attributes it brings to the table. It allows you to easily keep abreast of and record your daily activities. Among the many customizable operations are:
- Asset management
- Service requests and scheduling activities
- Inventory tracking and work orders/purchasing
- Customer notification and general management
- Task management and report generation
Although built especially for facilities management organizations, CMMS is easily extensible to any operation that has some variation of the listed attributes. It is an exemplar of simplification without compromise.
The keyword here is automation – especially if you have employees that need to be paid. Software such as QuickBooks and FreshBooks make billing the easiest thing ever, and can handle multiple business functions at once – customer support, invoicing, credit-card processing and others. You have quite a few options here; find the one that offers what you need without bundling in things you don’t need.