Discover the 6 under-the-radar tools entrepreneurs are using now.
If you run a small business, there’s one thing you’ve probably got a lot of experience with: Having to do it all. Whether it’s managing new hire paperwork, finances, or helping teams collaborate more effectively, you’re typically the point-person for every decision– large or small–about your business. Not surprisingly, this can be (very) painful. To make it less so, we’ve assembled a list of the most common problems faced by entrepreneurs and how to solve them.
Top Small Business Problems and the Tools to Solve Them
Problem: You want to answer questions from customers (and prospects) faster.
If you do most of your business on the web, you’ve probably received questions from customers about your product or service. Managing incoming questions from customers–and prospective ones–through email might be manageable for a little while, but as business grows, so will your inbox. But it doesn’t have to be this way. For a lightweight yet still high-performing solution, check out Groove. Essentially a super-smart ticketing system, Groove makes it easy to field incoming questions and provide personalized support without flooding your inbox.
Problem: You want your team to manage projects better.
Solution: Trello, Basecamp
To know Trello is to love its simple design and straight-forward approach to managing…well, just about anything. Trello is great for small team project management, but you can also use it to manage other tasks related to your business, like what needs to get done before an employee’s first day, a company outing, or even miscellaneous business operations. Trello is so easy to customize, you’ll probably quit your Google spreadsheet once and for all.
Problem: You want to make file-sharing easier.
Gone are the days of savings documents to your desktop. With remote teams, employees, and more collaborative work environments, people need access to documents on-demand, wherever they are. That’s why it’s crucial for your team to keep important files accessible at all times. While you can definitely do this with something as basic as Google Docs, most teams will want the security provided by tools like Box, or prefer the user-friendliness of Dropbox. Do your research and find out which one is best for your business.
Problem: You want to know more about the people who sign-up on your website.
Solution: Drift Daily
Let’s say you like to share news about your product or service via a newsletter and one morning, you notice you’ve had 99 subscriber in the last two days. First off, congratulations! You’re doing something right. But now comes the hard part–what does it mean? Who are all these people and where are they coming from? Good questions to be asking. And Drift Daily can help you answer them by enriching your subscribers’ email addresses with important information that’ll help you understand what’s driving interest in your business. What’s more, Drift Daily integrates with Slack, so you’ll be notified in the chat client as soon as someone subscribes. Beautiful!
Problem: You’re drowning in HR paperwork.
Congratulations! You just hired your first employee (or your second, third, or fourth). Now you have to complete and manage an enormous amount of onboarding paperwork related to compliance. If that doesn’t sound like fun to you, you’re not alone. Besides being a hassle, compliance paperwork absorbs a ton of your time–and there’s more generated every time you hire or terminate an employee. But with the advent of benefits and HR management tools like Zenefits, employers can eliminate most of these painful processes, and save time and money, too.
Problem: Your team needs to sound like they’re in the same office.
An increasing number of small businesses have remote employees, have teams in multiple locations, or no office at all. Despite being distributed, it’s still important to project a unified image to customers. Grasshopper helps entrepreneurs do this with toll-free numbers that come with extensions, so you can forward calls to any employee or team, at any time. This is helpful if your main office is in Massachusetts, but your support team is located in Florida. Best of all? You don’t need any special equipment and it’s inexpensive to use.
Keep the Productivity Train Moving
In addition to leveraging the aforementioned tools, smart entrepreneurs and business leaders know how to design their time versus just managing it. Think about how you can combine productivity hacks with the tools above for a better outcome. If you’ve found a process or technique that works for you, share in the Comments section below.