Not so long ago, tools available for small businesses were limited to exclusive software and specialized hardware. But with the advent of new technologies, there's more available than ever to aid business expansion and development.
As a business owner, the goal is to have a successful company that is stable and profitable. But in today’s tough and competitive market, it’s hard to keep an edge over your competitors. Efficiency is key and you need to utilize time wisely in order to do more in less time. Remember that your goal is to work smarter, not harder.
Check out these top innovation tools that are guaranteed to increase productivity without hurting your pockets.
#1 Human Resources
Handling human resources requires the utmost concentration and lots of time to deal with heavy paperwork. Luckily, there’s GoCo that makes it easy to manage HR needs in a single modern platform. From hiring and employee onboarding, managing requests and schedules, to tracking team performance, GoCo streamlines everything you need in one convenient application.
This internet-based tool features easy integration with current payroll and management software, as well as worry-free compliance for accurate record keeping of important documents. Pricing starts at $6 per month per employee with a $29 monthly base fee.
Another HR platform meant for managing human resources is TinyPulse. But compared to the previous tool, it focuses more on employee feedback and engagement. With this application, you can easily measure employee performance and sentiments. Likewise, it provides useful avenues to discover insightful pulses and assess company culture.
What’s great about TinyPulse is that responses are always kept 100% anonymous to protect the identity of workers. Analysis reports are generated with actionable data to ensure proper prioritization of most impactful problems. Pricing depends on the number of employees, but there is a free trial available.
Communication is very important amongst team members and Slack provides an easy solution to keep people connected regardless of location. By using a practical innovation process, gone are the days of using obsolete messengers with notifications popping up from time to time. Right within your browser or standalone application, you can instantly message anyone and start a conversation.
Other features of Slack include customizable communication channels, searchable conversations, easy integration, and data protection. Use it to send files, do a phone call, or brighten up your team’s day by sending fun emoticons. Slack is free with optional paid add-ons.
It’s hard to get customers, but it’s even more difficult to retain them. Customer engagement is a major problem for most businesses, especially small companies running a web-based business model. This is where Intercom comes to the rescue. It's a customer messaging platform where you can communicate, educate, and interact with your clients to provide support.
Intercom offers a customizable live chat messenger, in-app messaging service, powerful chatbots, customer data platform, mobile applications, and app integrations. It's free to try for 14 days with various plans to choose from.
#3 Project Management
Combining both creativity and innovation, now you don’t need multiple documents and various programs just to manage your tasks or projects. Airtable gives you the freedom to organize things according to your preference. Use it as a database, calendar organizer, spreadsheet, or content manager. Everything is possible with Airtable.
Airtable features what they call “Blocks” which are perfect for creating workflows for your team. Ready-made templates are also available for content production, creative uses, event planning, hobbies, recruitment, local business, marketing, and much more. Free, Plus, and Pro plans are offered.
Canva is a great innovation tool for small businesses. It's an online graphics design website where you can instantly create stunning custom graphics even if you are not an artist. It's available for free with a 1GB storage limit while Canva for work starts at $9.95 per user per month.
Canva is useful when making logos, posters, business cards, flyers, and infographics. You can also use the free photos and wallpapers available on the website along with different icons ranging from social media emoticons to popular images. Likewise, there are templates for easy creation of resumes, brochures, certificates, invitations, and many more.
For those who need to outsource work, you can count on Fiverr. Aside from getting the best talents in the world, they offer a payment protection guarantee that only releases payment upon your approval. Compared to other outsourcing platforms, Fiverr sticks to fixed pricing rather than an hourly rate.
The services you’ll find at Fiverr are extensive. It ranges from graphics and design, digital marketing, writing and translation, video and animation, music and audio, programming, technology, to business and lifestyle. To order work, users should find a “gig” they like with aservice fee added to the total purchase.
#5 Finance and Insurance
If your small business doesn’t accept credit and debit card payments, you’re losing a big chunk of money. Customers nowadays like to pay using cards and it's essential to the revenue of your business. Due is a low-cost but highly secure credit card processing application that provides safe transactions with minimal fees. It is available in three forms – Standard, Enterprise, and Custom Payment Solution.
Securing your business is the best thing you could do to avoid financial liabilities and unwanted expenditures. There are tons of insurance companies out there but only a few specializes in small business. Regardless of industry, CoverWallet offers personalized policies from multiple carriers to protect the interest of your business.
Aside from its easy-to-use online platform, it has a service API where users can request quotations, buy insurance, and manage policies all without leaving the application. You can even use it to request certificates, check billing, and organize payments.
Last but not least is QuickBooks. Popular for its income and expenses tracking feature, receipt organization, tax calculation, and invoice maker, this accounting software offers various software packages depending on your business. Prices start at $10 per month up to $60 for more advanced features. Self Service Payroll is available for an additional $18 per month plus $4 per employee.
Being a small business owner requires a lot of time and dedication, these tools can help simplify your day-to-day operations. Another great resource for small business owners is BestTechie. They provide tips on how to simplify the vast world of technology. You can find more business tips here.