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Unsexy Tech Every Small Business Needs

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Creating a small business can be one of the most stressful, rewarding things you can do. You’re not only perfecting your product or service, you’re trying to sell that to enough people to keep the lights on.

It’s enough on its own, but there are also a number of important things you also have to worry about. From human resources to infrastructure and security, there are plenty of puzzle pieces that need to be put together to make your small business as successful as possible.

We get it, knowing where to begin is hard. There are a ton of options out there, and it can be difficult to know what to do and where to turn. We’ve assembled some of the things your small business will need below. While this tech isn’t “sexy” or fun to play with, it will help keep your business running smooth and allow you to focus on the skills and tasks you do best.

HR Software

People are the cornerstone of any business, and treating them right can make the difference between a healthy business and a sinking one. This isn’t too difficult when you’re starting out with a handful of employees, but as you grow things get more difficult.

You need software that can handle many aspects of human resources, from on-boarding to training and recruitment to benefits. Human resources information systems (HRIS) can do just that.

When looking for HRIS, you’re going to want to prioritize something that’s flexible enough to do everything well. You’re going to want to look out for the following features:

  • Payroll
  • 401k
  • Benefits administration
  • Performance reviews
  • Time and attendance

Additionally, you’ll want to look for a system that has live chat and phone support. Mobile app support is a big plus, as it’ll let you take care of things on the go. Your days are hectic enough, and the last thing you want is another headache.

Inventory Management Software

If you’re a retail operation, your inventory is the heart of your enterprise. It’s vital that you understand how many products you have, and how quickly you can get more. It’s equally important to recognize trends so that you can serve your customers better in the future.

This makes good inventory management software a necessity for your small business. Flexible and affordable systems are the name of the game here, and there are a number of options that will be able to adjust to your situation.

If you’ve got a physical retail space, you can get a sleek Point-of-Sale system. If you’re an online outlet, the system should be able to power your website, too. On the whole, you’re going to need a system that can scale to your needs. These are the features you’ll need to look out for:

  • Barcode creation
  • Low-stock notifications
  • Create and send purchase orders
  • Track and transfer stock
  • Inventory categorization
  • Vendor tracking

Report creation is another big feature. This will allow you to look at the cost of goods sold, projected profits, inventory history, gross sales and even employee sales. Optional features for inventory systems include things like gift card creation (that’s nice for customer retention, but not essential).

Fast Internet

One of the foundations for any business in 2019 is fast, reliable internet. It’s unexciting, but infrastructure is an important backbone of your business.

You need good internet to power your customer’s systems and let you do your tasks, whether that’s emailing people or managing your inventory and staff.

Plus, if you’ve got a consumer-facing business like a retail store or cafe, fast internet is an important way to provide good customer service. Whether that’s letting them surf the web or reference your website.

Security System

Your business is filled with lots of valuable information, whether it’s straight cash, important products or vital customer data. All of that is at risk, as workplace thefts alone cost businesses $50 billion in 2017, according to Statistic Brain. You need to protect your assets, and the best way to do that is with a security system.

There are lots of different security systems out there, but you’re going to want to look out for one with remote monitoring abilities. You’re also going to want to look out for one that can integrate with smart cameras that can monitor employees and customers.

Make sure your prospective security system is also compatible with a range of sensors. Sensors your system will need include window and door sensors, water sensors, smoke detectors and motion detectors.

Phone Service

The internet has made communication simpler, but messaging is still not as effective as calling someone on a phone number. A good phone service can go a long way to help building your small business.

Phone service can be used by customers and vendors to call you and talk shop. And because you aren’t relying on a personal number, you can maintain a work/life balance. Plus, many small business phone services offer advanced features like virtual receptionists.

Try finding a service that offers enterprise-grade features like a multi-level virtual receptionist, which manages inbound calls, a mobile app that lets your on-the-go workers take calls, music on hold, or virtual extensions.