Business and technology go hand-in-hand. In fact, it’s almost impossible to imagine a business today that doesn’t use technology to its advantage. Companies, both big and small, need to use technology for them to stay at par with other businesses within their respective niches. Otherwise, yours can be one of those that are employing obsolete, manual processes that do nothing to keep their businesses competitive, efficient, productive, and profitable.
In your pursuit of looking for and deciding on the business tools you’ll use, you should be ready to come across numerous choices. You might feel compelled to use every single tool you’ll come across with, but that may not necessarily be the case. It’s important to narrow down only to the essentials as business tools also come with a price. You wouldn’t want to be paying for tools that aren’t even useful to your business.
Here are some of the important tools your business might need to amplify its performance:
1. Mobile Marketing Tools
Technological advancements have made it possible for businesses to reach customers even when they don’t physically visit their physical stores. This is exactly the objective of mobile marketing tools.
Generally, a good mobile marketing tool should enable you to send messages to potential buyers through in-app messages, SMS, e-mails, and even push notifications. There are so many mobile marketing tools out today, but some of the best you need are:
- Google Analytics. If you aren’t using this yet for your business, then you’re missing out on core data that only Google Analytics can give. These include data surrounding your e-commerce website, customers, and demographics, to name a few.
- Mobile pay options. Convenience is very important in today’s business arena, and this convenience should extend most especially to payment options. Especially as of late, many shoppers would rather not pay with cash, so having a variety of payment options makes you reach so many more customers.
- Customer relationship management. What is a CRM? This refers to the software your business uses to improve, foster, and maintain better relationships with both current and target customers.
2. Computer Or Laptop
Even home-based businesses need to have at least a laptop or a computer as one of the essential tools. This is a non-negotiable if you want to be efficient in even the simplest processes of your business. When you have a computer, it’s important to also ensure it’s in good working order, updated with the latest operating software, and is equipped with the latest antivirus or malware protection programs, among the many core essentials a business computer must have.
If you’re still searching for computers for your business as a first-timer or you’re updating your old ones, these tips should come in handy:
- Factor in who’ll be using the computer and for what purpose. For example, the computer will be used for heavy storage and engineering applications. You’ll need to have one with a bigger screen and also one with a heavier operating system to meet the requirements. If the purpose is only for administrative tasks, like data entry and typing, then you shouldn’t be concerned about having too many of the latest computer features in place.
- Consider video and display capacity. A laptop is sufficient, if again, your purpose is merely data entry tasks. But, if the computer you’re buying is meant to be used by your marketing department for video editing and graphics making, then you need the higher display functions of a desktop computer.
- Ask about the RAM, as the general rule is the higher, the better. This enables your computer to become more scalable, such that it’s equipped to handle heavy storage requirements as your business expands.
3. Email Software
Despite the influx of more advanced communication apps for both chat and audio and video calls, sending messages through email is still very much prevalent. The power of email marketing can’t be denied. Given that many email users are also now checking their emails right from the convenience of their mobile phones, it makes sense to be more aggressive with email marketing through using email software.
Here are important factors to consider that can help you in selecting the best email tools for your business:
- Response handling – Email marketing isn’t just about sending emails per se. It’s also about responding to the emails you receive back, in a timely manner.
- Weaknesses of your current email marketing system – Determining the downsides will help ensure that whatever email system or software you sign up for addresses those pain areas that your business is currently struggling with.
- Scalability for future growth – When an email tool is scalable when your business’s need for email communications expands, it would no longer be difficult to also expand the capability of your chosen email management tool.
Software comprises the general group of tools that your business’s computer system will have in furtherance of improving efficiency in your day-to-day operations. There’s no fixed list of what the best software are as this choice depends on the kind of business you have and what its needs are.
For example, a graphics and content services business will need graphics creation software, which an ordinary business selling groceries may not need. Some of the basic, uniform software that are needed, however, fall along the lines of productivity tools.
With those things in mind, here are a few tips you can use to guide you in selecting the right software for your business:
- Prioritize your business’s needs, such as payroll, and set the budget as to how much your business can afford to spend for software installation and maintenance.
- Use the free demo or trial given by software providers so you can ascertain whether or not that specific software is exactly what your business currently needs.
The compilation above showcased some of the essential tools that businesses need. This isn’t to say, however, that the list is exhaustive. You have to consider your individual needs, too, as a business organization so you’ll be certain that you’ll have exactly what you need.
When you invest in specific business tools, you should ask yourself whether or not those tools can contribute to your overall success. The key is to balance out the costs of investing in those tools with their potential benefits, with the scales tipping in favor of the returns the tools can deliver to your business.