Starting a business is one thing. Growing the business is another, while keeping operations from becoming unwieldy is a different ballgame.
Business owners must build systems and explore how to operate them more efficiently. There are tools to help budding businesses focus on what matters most. We look at a few here, which we use in our own operations at HomeBusinessWiz.
A business can easily become overwhelmed with meetings and deadlines. Google Calendar makes it easy to schedule meetings and share events. It is excellent for internal and external appointments. It also provides a way to monitor your people, so booking team meetings doesn’t get to be a hassle.
- A comprehensive business plan
Doing business without a plan is akin to going to war without a strategy. You need to pull away from the competition. Your business plan sets the focus and tone of your operations.
It is self-defeating to toy with your operations even if your business is a hobby. Many home-based business owners show this inclination. It is a path to frustration and failure. Get a business plan right away.
You do not need a PhD to run a successful business, but you must be thoroughly versed in your chosen niche. There are numerous online courses available online. You can audit (take for free) many of these.
The insight will help you rethink many aspects of your business and inject ideas that customers will yearn for. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) from the world’s top universities are available. The most popular MOOC sites are Coursera, edX, and Udacity. You won’t get a certificate but the content is priceless.
Other avenues for continuous learning include video outlets, Youtube and Vimeo.
- Project Management
As a budding business, reliability should be your watchword. Do this enough times and the word goes around. But, how do you manage all the madness in the face of changing project requirements? Use Trello, the famed project management tool.
Trello is adaptable to teams and one-man operations. You can keep track of marketing or promotions using this nifty tool. Everyone on our team, for instance, can log in and check our blog’s progress. They can also tag other staff for their opinion.
Trello does not cost you a penny–it is free with premium pricing plans for teams, but you’ll likely do great with the free option. Find Trello here.
- Networking with Social Media
You probably have an account on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. These social media platforms have tools and features to cater to business needs. You can chat with and pitch old acquaintances, join common-interest groups and engage industry thought leaders. If you are active enough, you will grow a large following.
An up-to-date profile is important on social media. Regular post updates or tweets tells your audience what you are up to and has been effective for product launches and press releases.
Social media is also an excellent outlet for repurposed content. The fun aspect of social media remains attractive to millennials, who are likely your target audience.
- External and Internal Communication
You typically want to explore every avenue that makes it easy for clients to stay in touch with you. You also want to have robust internal communication systems.
Zoom can be used to engage clients and prospects and has seen plenty of adoption in enterprise and small businesses. It has greater utility than phone calls and email because you are face-to-face with the client or associate. With Zoom, you can share schematics with them without the risk of ambiguity.
Internal communications can also use Zoom, but since many things are on-the-fly, rather than resort to email, the workspace tool, Slack, excels at offering an instant messaging service for teams. File sharing in Slack is a breeze, and there’s room for plenty of fun while at it.
- Payment Systems
Doing business online has become the new normal. But how do you receive payments? There are services you can incorporate on your website for low fees per transaction to ensure you get paid even before you deliver the service. Two of the most popular ones are Stripe and PayPal. Many existing banks have their own financial apps to make the payment process easier as well.
This is merely a small round-up of tools you need to get your business running until other tools become essential.