Now more than ever, becoming a business owner has never been more accessible. Given the vast resources that are made available publicly to run a business, the costs and risks are substantially mitigated. For example, software companies are now able to operate right from home as the only thing that is required to begin is a computer and internet connection. Furthermore, more traditional brick-and-mortar stores can be replaced with a website or online presence without the headaches associated with inventory, leases, employees, and other stresses often dealt with physical stores. With so many tools that help entrepreneurs and business owners launch their ventures, this article discusses the ones that are most effective in growing a business.
For one of the best communication tools which are aimed at the business and enterprise space, Slack enables for effective team communication. As a company grows from just a handful of people to encompass entire departments, communication can be difficult with the current tools that are available. For example, emails often get lost in the clutter while an informal group chat can quickly get out of hand if too many people are involved. With Slack, conversations can be separated based on specific criteria for increased productivity and management. Through the ability to have different conversations by projects or teams, sharing and collaborating is streamlined as the app makes it simple to call, message, or share files quickly. As opposed to creating a silo that fails to integrate other tools, Slack is able to to be used in conjunction with existing tools that are more familiar in a corporate environment such as Google Drive or Salesforce. Given that the corporate culture may be slow to a versatile such as Slack, the ability to utilize it simultaneously with other tools helps to make the transition a smoother one.
2Skype for Business
Created by Microsoft, Skype for Business is an application that gives users the tools to communicate effectively such as an audio conferencing bridge, an instant messaging tool, or even a phone to connect to peers, customers, and vendors all using just the mobile phone and internet connection. With powerful encryption and authentication, Skype for Business ensures that privacy is maximized and cannot be compromised by others. As a Skype inspired application, those who have used the software for personal applications in the past can quickly grasp the look-and-feel of the enterprise version. For example, parallels can be drawn between the two versions such as the round photo, status indicator, and most-recent contacts layout. One of the most powerful tools on the Skype for Business application gives the ability to book and browse meetings to join. With this, users are able to see what is next on their schedule as well as join the meetings that they think will be important and relevant to them, something that other communication apps fail to incorporate.
Given the resources that make it simple to create a website, nearly anyone can make one with the online templates that require no coding or development knowledge. As many small businesses now have websites to show customers their products and services, many fail to track its performance to ensure the greatest conversion rates. However, Google Analytics is a powerful app which is able to give detailed analysis on the key metrics of the website to give the administrators an overview of what improvements can be made. Performance indicators such as the number of visitors, conversion rates, session lengths, pages per session, and behavior flow can reveal information that may not be immediately evident. Furthermore, the information is made visual as to give a better understanding of how users are interacting with the site as opposed to utilizing highly technical terms that are traditionally difficult to grasp. With so many tools available in the app, Google Analytics is a powerful mechanism which can be employed to gauge how the website of the business is operating in order to make well-informed decisions.
4Shopify: Sell Online Commerce and Build a Store
For businesses who are selling physical goods online, Shopify’s platform is able to expedite the process of setting up an online store to allow sellers to bring their goods to market quicker. With templates that are ready to be used, users simply have to upload the details of their goods to begin selling. For businesses that use Shopify, the mobile app is extremely useful for tracking progress and sales while on-the-go. Through the app, details such as orders, products, reports, or timeline can all be accessed while also giving the option to add or edit products from the store listing, connect with customers, and gauging how the store is doing over a specific time period. With the tracking information that the app returns to the user, better, more informed decisions can be made in order to optimize the number of visitors that browse merchandise on the store, conversion rates of those who visit the store to actually making a purchase, and the best performing goods. For the millions who are currently using the Shopify platform, the app is a must-have complimentary tool that gives many of the same functions as the website dashboard for users to work with even while on-the-go.
5Square Point of Sale - POS System
As traditional Point-of-Sale (POS) devices are typically expensive to purchase and manage, Square has developed a mobile device which can connect to the earphone port of mobile phones to allow users to accept credit and debit card payments without bulky, expensive POS devices. The mobile app that must be downloaded with the hardware is extremely useful for a host of functions including sending invoices to customers, giving discounts, recording transactions, and connecting to other devices such as barcode scanners. With low fees at 2.75% of the transactions, users can utilize Square to save on the costs associated with obtaining and operating a dedicated POS system. Furthermore, the physical devices that are used in conjunction with the app to accept cards are highly portable and constantly updated to accept even chip payments, making it one of the best tools for running a small business.
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With these apps, no matter what kind of business a person may be in, the various functions encompass a large aspects of running a startup and can be utilized to save on various costs and optimize results. Although running a business or venture can be exciting, administrative and less-interesting work is required which makes the apps in this article highly applicable to streamline the costly and difficult tasks such as accepting payments to streamlining communication or even giving performance insights that are actionable and easy to understand.