No matter the size, starting a new business is all about efficiency: making optimal use of often scarce resources in order to achieve the best possible outcome. Of course, this might sound easier said than done. So how do new businesses go about streamlining operations in efficient, cost-effective ways?
Increasingly, it’s good software that does the trick. This answer should come as no surprise in this digital age. While in some arenas the human touch is irreplaceable, it’s no secret that technology has revolutionized communication, data sharing and storage, and sheer connectivity. Even on the level of number-crunching, paper-pushing and repetitive tasks, it turns out that software and digitalization can go a long way in modern business.
Below, we’ve listed some of the most essential business software to consider for any new business.
Accounting and Finance Software.
While “to err is human,” one place that could use as few human errors as possible is your books. Hardly anything is better at crunching – and organizing, and tracking! – all those numbers than a computer program.
Not only is software literally made to work quickly and accurately with huge volumes of numbers – which saves costs upfront and prevents revenue loss long-term – good accounting and finance software provides detailed analytics and reporting to help you track your company’s finances and continue to fine-tune your business. Plus, when it comes time to do your business taxes, you’ll be grateful for the exactitude and record-keeping your software provides.
Communication and Collaboration.
Timezone-straddling and outsourcing to remote contractors aren’t just the hallmarks of big, multi-national corporations: small businesses increasingly take advantage of the convenience and cost savings of work-from-home staff and freelancers. With software designed for virtual meetups, the distance doesn’t have to be felt in the conference room.
Chat and particularly video chat applications aren’t just crucial for distributed or remote workforces, but also simply provide an extra avenue for flexible, secure, cloud-based communication and collaboration.
Much like accounting and finance software, payment support applications (think PayPal) with good integration capabilities will do wonders for your commercial operations, freeing up time and energy while ensuring your sales (and profits!) are in safe hands.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
One of the most “human” business arenas on this list (second only to communication and collaboration), you might be surprised that CRM is a good candidate for digitalization. Encompassing all of a company’s strategies, programs, and interactions designed to maintain healthy, productive client relationships, CRM really is all about people. It’s precisely the central importance of this kind of management – and all of its complexities and moving parts – that make software a perfect CRM tool.
With good CRM software, everything from appointment scheduling to document signing can be streamlined through a few well-organized, well-tracked digital avenues. The best of these applications are supplements, not replacements, for the human touch, simply making it easier for those in client-servicing roles to do their jobs well.
Contract Management Software (CMS).
Gone are the days of employing Bartleby-esque scriveners to make painstaking copies of dry legal documents – or, at least, they should be. The importance of contract management software can’t be underestimated, and in the modern business climate, it’s one of the best business operations to digitalize.
Like the other softwares on this list, CMS increases accuracy with sophisticated, customizable organization tools, saves time and costs with monitoring and alerts, and provides secure storage and backup of sensitive data. Plus, a good CMS will have integration compatibility with other CRM software like electronic signatures or appointment managing, so you can build a network of streamlining tools.
Like the best project managers, the best project management software will wear many hats. And if it doesn’t perform some of the functions of the other softwares on this list, it should have integration capabilities.
Your project management software should increase the efficiency of everything from collaboration, to scheduling, planning and tracking, to data analytics and reporting, to resource and budget managing.
As any entrepreneur will tell you, all the excitement and challenges that come with starting a new business are enough to make it a life-changing experience. With the right tools, of course, the hope is that it’s a change for the better!