Running a small business can be one of the most rewarding endeavors of your life. It can also be one of the most challenging. From our discussions with small business owners, we’ve heard that the fear of outgrowing your current tools is a common one. Before the cloud came along it wasn’t uncommon for a company to invest in a toolset that only got them so far before it had to be upgraded to a more complex version. Software that works well when your revenue is under $5 million may not work as you grow. But with sound research and investment in a cloud product, your toolset can grow right alongside your company.
In this blog, we’d like to take a look at a number of essential tools to run your business. Some are more helpful while getting off the ground while others may play a larger role as you grow your business. All of these tools are easy to use, reasonably priced, and scalable as your business grows. Let’s get started.
Xtensio (Team Collaboration Software Platform)
Xtensio is a platform where teams can easily create and share living documents. It helps teams collaborate on documents, presentations, proposals, reports, sales sheets and other strategic exercises in real-time. The editor works like a web builder so it’s easy to add images, videos, tables and other interactive modules. Drag and drop, resize, change backgrounds, and specify colors and fonts to match brands.
Some key features of Xtensio:
- Drag and drop functionality
- Embed and Export
- Save/Share Templates
- Revision History
- Privacy Control
- Full-Screen Presentation
- Dedicated URL/Team Workspace
- Dedicated Customer Success Manager
- Premium Support & Onboarding
Square (Credit Card Payment System)
Square has branched out to include nearly every business niche imaginable. And it’s made credit card transactions easier and more mobile than ever. Just pop in you card, sign (or not depending on the situation) and your receipt is instantly in your inbox. It’s an incredibly clever device that makes old POS (point of sale) systems look, well, old.
Square offers a simple reader and a full POS and retail product depending on your needs, and includes a number of simple tools for SMBs. These include:
- Ability to accept credit cards, cash, checks, and gift cards
- Digital and printed receipts
- Invoice creation and recurring payments
- Real-time inventory management
- Sales reporting and analytics
- Tipping options
As a consumer, the best thing about Square is its speed and transparency. It uses large and clear text to show me exactly what I’m purchasing along with any taxes. It makes it easy to leave a tip. And it’s eco-friendly because most customers select the digital receipt option. Because the Square payment system recognizes my credit card regardless of the location I only need to enter my email address one time. The result: a credit card payment system that’s a lot more user friendly.
Most people are familiar with QuickBooks as it’s become the standard accounting software for many SMBs. Now, QuickBooks Online has made accounting even easier, and it comes in a number of options to fit just about any SMB.
Quickbooks Online features include:
- Multiple users
- Income and expense tracking
- Invoicing and payments
- Inventory tracking
- Analytics and insights
If you’re looking to both upgrade and simplify your accounting, take a look at Quickbooks Online.
G Suite by Google
This is Google’s business application package with all applications run from the cloud, making collaboration and backup easy. G Suite has many of the same features found in Excel, Word, and other Microsoft products.
Google has aggressively improved each product in G Suite to the point where few users may pine for Office. And that’s OK because most of your employees will be happy with G Suite when they realize how easily it runs on all of their devices. Here are some of the most important features you’ll find in G Suite:
- GMail, which includes powerful junk filters and automated responses
- Store and share files easily using Google Drive
- Easily open/export/share files between G Suite applications and Microsoft Office formats
- Easy IT admin and strong security
The best thing about G Suite? You don’t have to install any software. Simple!
Zendesk (Customer Service Software)
Zendesk builds software the helps you improve your customer relationships and scales as your company grows. The Zendesk platform offers both customer and sales support to ensure you provide the best possible customer experience from the first contact and make it possible to manage every aspect of customer engagement.
The Zendesk Support Suite delivers a full-service customer experience including:
- Integrated customer support
- Knowledgebase and smart self-service
- Chat and live messaging
- Call center software
On the sales side, the Zendesk Sales Suite is an end-t0-end sales solution that offers:
- Sales CRM
- Analytics and reporting
- Community forum
- Proactive campaigns
StorageCraft (Backup and Disaster Recovery)
And, of course, make sure you’re taking regular backups to protect all your business data. Massive losses can pile up if you can’t restore your applications and data when disaster strikes. Fires, floods, and hurricanes are all a real possibility, even if they aren’t always top of mind. Human error is also often the cause of data loss as is data corruption and software or hardware crashes. When it comes to backup and disaster recovery (BDR) built on a cost-effective scale-out storage platform StorageCraft has you covered.