Running a business is no easy task. You’ll often find yourself juggling multiple things at the same time just to meet your company’s day to day demands. This is why you need all the help you can get!
However, it is not always cost-efficient to hire more employees. When you’re faced with budget pressure, it can be difficult to grow your business to where you want it to be.
The good news is there are ways for you to free up time and boost your company’s productivity without breaking your budget. You can do this by securing smart cloud-based solutions that are efficient yet affordable even for startups, small businesses and freelancers.
Not only will these SaaS (Software as a Service) apps help you save time, but you can also save money without compromising quality. Read on to explore our top software picks to boost your productivity and, in turn, your profit.
Three services to boost business productivity
1. Accounting software
One of the most important things a business owner should prioritize is making sure their finances are in order. If you cannot effectively track your sales and profits, you’re in trouble. However, that doesn't mean it's easy. Even if you have a dedicated accountant, manually tracking transactions and creating reports can drain a lot of time and energy for you and your staff.
Accounting software makes this process much more convenient. Instead of digging through printed invoices and receipts or sorting several spreadsheets, a cloud-based accounting system can help you:
- Streamline your financial activities
- Keep a record of every transaction
- Save on accountant fees
- Automate invoicing and payments
- Track expenses with just a few clicks
Another feature to look for in accounting software is integration with your other apps. For example, FreshBooks natively integrates with many apps you might already be using. You can also use PieSync's two-way data sync to maintain an updated and accurate contact list across your apps – such as your CRM and customer support software – automatically.
Three top accounting systems for small businesses:
- FreshBooks – the top accounting choice for freelancers and small teams.
- QuickBooks – the most popular accounting all-rounder that accountants love.
- Xero – a favorite for startups that want an accounting system with beautiful user experience.
2. CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
Business owners once built relationships with customers by personally talking with them one by one. They would know everything about their customers’ preferences, purchase history, and even the details of their lives.
Of course, back then their customers lived close by. Now your business can be international – you could even start selling products on Shopify to a global audience in less than an hour. While you can attempt to manually contact and record all of your client interactions, your business would be wasting a huge amount of time and profit unneccesarily.
Customer Relationship Management systems, or CRMs, are designed to meet this need. They help businesses create better relationships with prospects and customers by recording, reporting and analyzing all interactions with leads and customers in one place.
This data can be used to better understand consumers, give them a more personalized product experience, and always be a step ahead in responding to what people want to buy. When your business has easy access to insightful customer data, your sales projections are more accurate and you can better address what areas you need to improve on.
For the best results from your CRM, choose a system that delivers the features you need without being too heavy, ensure adoption from your team, and enrich the CRM with data from your other apps for a 360-degree view. For instance, by syncing your email marketing app and CRM, your sales team can always monitor the most up-to-date leads list.
Three top CRMs for small businesses:
- HubSpot – the best free CRM on the market, with fantastic add-on paid Hubs for sales, marketing and service teams that need more features.
- Pipedrive – one of the strongest sales-focused CRMs on the market to organize your pipeline.
- Less Annoying CRM – a refreshingly simple CRM for small businesses.
3. Email automation
If you are not yet using automation in your business, you should definitely consider doing so for more power with less time and budget. The easiest gateway into automation is automating your emails.
Gone are the days when you needed someone to write hundreds of personalized marketing emails one by one in the hopes of getting a sales lead. By using an email automation provider, you can cut this down to the bare minimum and send high-volume email campaigns that are extremely personalized.
Aside from the time efficiency provided by an email automation service, another advantage is that most of these platforms come with in-depth analytics. Pay attention to:
- How many of your contacts are engaging with your marketing emails
- Which campaigns and email types create the most engagement
- How contacts are moving through your sales and marketing funnel (lead scoring can help with this, by awarding points for predetermined actions such as visiting your pricing page)
You can then create more targeted email campaigns so you don’t waste your time, resources and audience's attention on promotions your customers are not interested in.
Three top email automation apps for small businesses:
- ActiveCampaign – an affordable email automation software with all the core features you need
- Mailchimp – the most popular email marketing software on the market with plenty of automation features
- GetResponse – top-rated marketing software with ready-made workflows to welcome, upsell and nurture your contacts.
Start working smarter with tech
It's never been easier to build a tech stack that's optimized for productivity and profit. By taking advantage of these platforms, you are not only helping your business grow, but you will also have more time to focus on things that really matter to you.
For the most impact, make sure to sync data between your apps to maintain fresh data on every platform and avoid wasting time on manual updates.