Enterprise Software You Need to Manage and Grow Your Business
Turning parts of your business over to computers might seem scary at first. It’s easy to think this will give you less control, which many business owners perceive as exposing them to excessive risk. But this is simply not the case.
There are so many software options out there, and they all cater to very specific needs. Yet they all share one thing in common: they can provide a tremendous boost to your business.
Making use of the right programs is so effective because it allows you to focus more on what you do best while ensuring you’re accurate and efficient in everything else.
However, for enterprise software to work for your business, it’s important you make smart choices about which ones to use. Below you’ll find a few examples as well as a brief explanation of each so that you can decide what’s going to put your business in the best position moving forward.
Payroll and Bookkeeping
One of the few enterprise software solutions that will be useful to nearly all businesses is automated payroll and bookkeeping. This is because keeping accurate accounting records is of the utmost importance. Poor cash flow as a result of bad accounting practices is the number one reason why most small businesses fail before they have the chance to establish themselves.
Solutions range from programs such as easy-to-use Wave Accounting, which does basic expense and revenue tracking, to Quickbooks, Zoho, and Xero, which go a bit further and allow you to automate more of your accounting functions, to ADP, which is ideal for businesses with dedicated accounting teams.
Which one you choose will depend on the size of your business and the complexity of your accounting challenges. No matter what type of program you need, including one in your business is going to make you better.
Customer Relationship Management
At first, customer Relationship Management (CRM) doesn’t sound like something that can be handled by a computer program. After all, “managing” customers sounds like a task that requires a human touch. But in this instance, employing some automated help is going to help you be better at managing your customers, which will help you meet more of their needs and also increase the value they provide to the business.
An automated customer relationship management platform can do wonders for your business because it puts everything you know about a customer into one spot. This includes contact information, activity on your website, and also details about times they’ve communicated with you. Consider the following examples of how this could help you:
- Your CRM platform tracks people’s activity on your website and it indicates that a lot of the people who buy Product A look at Product B but don’t buy it. This could be for a variety of reasons, but you could set up an email campaign to follow up with people and offer them a special, personalized discount, which could help you score another sale and make more money.
- A customer calls in with an issue related to your product. They’ve already called twice and haven’t had any luck. When they call in the third time, your CRM platform will include the details of these first calls so that your customer service agent doesn’t need to repeat what’s already been said, saving you and your customer time and improving your ability to provide excellent customer service.
Of course, some of this stuff can be done the old-fashioned way, but it’s far more time consuming and typically much less effective. It’s much easier to employ an automated solution that is going to give you the information you need to push forward. Hubspot and Prospect.io are some great options, but there are tons out there to choose from, each of which will offer something slightly different to you and your business.
Marketing and Email
Good marketing is all about defining your audience and targeting them with content that is going to be the most effective. The above mentioned CRM platform can help you do this, but there are other tools available to help you understand your customers.
For example, tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite allow you to automate a lot of the work you do on social media, and they will also track the progress of a campaign so that you can measure its success and make adjustments when needed. Hubspot helps you learn more about how customers got to you, allowing you to identify the most effective lead generation strategies and make them even better.
Another thing you may want to consider doing is setting up automated emails. Even with the rise of social media, email is still a tremendously effective way to reach customers. Designing short emails to go out to those who recently made a purchase adds a nice personal touch to your business and also allows you to offer people additional deals and purchase suggestions.
You can also set this up for people who don’t make a purchase but who come close to doing so. This allows you to encourage them to complete the sale without you having to go through and write out an individual email to each person, something that would rapidly consume all your time.
Project management tools are an absolute must for businesses that rely on teams. Keeping track of who’s doing what, when it’s due, and how far along it is will make it much easier to work together, manage costs, and keep deadlines.
There are tons of tools out there you can use, ranging from simple yet effective ones, such as Trello and Asana (which are free or inexpensive to use), to more complex options such as Monday and Jira, which allow you to track time, manage costs, and produce more-detailed timelines.
If you’re not sure which one to use, start small and see how well it meets your needs. It’s possible all you need is an easy-to-use program that makes it easier to manage workflow, or you may need something more in-depth. But no matter what, there’s a good chance your business could use a project management program to make things go more smoothly and efficiently.
The options we’ve discussed so far can be used in virtually any industry because they refer to general business functions. However, each business is different, and this means each one has distinct needs. As a result, it’s also wise to look up some industry-specific options for you. For example, there are loads of solutions for retail business, and there are some quite effective options for home services businesses, as well. And these are just a few examples of the many different programs out there designed specifically to make it easier for you to run an efficient and profitable business.
Identify Your Needs
Because there are so many options from which to choose, the best thing you can do to find the most effective software is to spend some time identifying your needs. Look for areas in your business where a lot of time and people power is wasted. Speak with your employees to determine where they could use some help, and then seek out solutions that will address their needs. It’s likely you will need to implement one of the solutions above if you haven’t already, but there are infinite possibilities, all of which will help you grow and transform your business.