As an entrepreneur, you have big dreams and innovative ideas. But how do you turn your ideas into reality?
If you’re an entrepreneur running your own business, you need the right tools to help your company grow and succeed. Business technology is a huge industry, so which tools are right for small business owners?
To help increase sales, gain attention, and best manage your logistics and administration, the right business tools can make all the difference.
Keep reading to learn the top six types of business technology that all entrepreneurs should be using.
1. Your Business Technology Should Include a CRM System
If you’re an entrepreneur trying to grow your business, you need to be organized. How can you keep track of current, past, and potential clients, in a way that’s effective for you but also keeps their details safe?
You need a customer relationship management system, also referred to as a CRM. Think of this as a database for everything when it comes to your business.
Use your CRM to create entries for clients, stakeholders, leads, store data, and manage interactions and relationships with customers. A CRM will keep your vital data much more secure than a Word or Excel file, so it’s with investing in.
The cost of a CRM will vary, depending on the size and needs of your business. Popular CRM providers include Salesforce, HubSpot, and ActiveCampaign.
Each CRM business software offers different features. So, take the time to research which is best for your business and budget before purchasing.
2. Accounting Tools
Even sole trader businesses need to manage their accounting properly—even more so if you’re hiring and paying staff or contractors.
Technology in business can be used to make accounting, and even HR, much simpler. If you’re looking for simple and straightforward accounting software to keep track of your expenses, tax deductions, and invoices, you might want to check out products such as QuickBooks or Xero.
If you’re managing staff and finances for a larger business, such as a medical practice, try out this billing software.
The right accounting software can make it much less stressful to prepare for tax time. It will also help you manage all outstanding invoices, ensuring you get paid accurately and on time.
3. Project Management Software
Sometimes, it takes a team of people to bring your entrepreneurial goals to life. When you’re working with a team, how can you keep track of projects and programs?
It can be helpful to invest in the right project management tools and software. These can help you assign and delegate tasks, set due dates, and communicate quickly with teammates.
If you’re managing a team, tools such as Trello, Slack, and Asana may be helpful. They’re intuitive and easy to use and are also available as apps, perfect for keeping in touch while you’re on the go.
Microsoft Project is also helpful if you’re already the Microsoft Office suite. It allows you to manage both large and small projects effectively, and users can make Gantt charts, manage budgets, track progress, and analyze results.
4. Secure Computer Network
Computer security is something every small business owner needs to take seriously. Unfortunately, hacking attempts are extremely common—not even huge corporations are immune, as companies like Marriott, Yahoo, and Equifax have been hacked in recent years.
How can you keep your business safe? You need to invest in the right security business tech.
At a minimum, you need a system that will keep your network connections, software, and company data safe from attacks. This should include a strong firewall and anti-malware software, a VPN (like NordVPN), cybersecurity insurance, and password-protected systems.
Many companies outsource their cybersecurity needs to an IT contractor, as that way their company is in expert hands. If you manage your own IT, be aware that hackers and phishers are constantly trying new techniques, so you may have to adjust your security systems over time to stay one step ahead.
5. Artificial Intelligence
One of the most cutting-edge technologies in business is artificial intelligence. How can your business benefit?
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are all around us, helping us make the most of life. You may already use tools such as Amazon Alexa or Siri, which learn over time how to work best for you.
However, you can also increase the effectiveness of your business by using AI. If you’re selling a product or service, why not use AI chatbots on your website or social media? They provide instant replies to customer questions, ensuring you’re offering the best possible customer service, even outside of business hours.
You can also use AI to analyze large sets of data, refine your marketing techniques, and streamline HR tasks.
6. Video Conferencing Tools
As a busy entrepreneur or business owner, you may have clients, staff or stakeholders spread out all over the world. The easiest and most effective way to stay in touch and host virtual meetings is via video conferencing—but do you need to invest in the right software?
Yes. While many video conferencing platforms, like Zoom, over free packaging, they usually limit your time limits and number of participants. You want to appear professional, so it’s better to purchase the paid version of a video conferencing tool.
This often results in better image and sound quality as well, helping you put your best foot forward. In addition to Zoom, you may want to check out GoToMeeting, Skype Meet Now, and Google Hangouts.
Video calls make it easy to catch up with everyone, allowing more interaction and engagement than you’d get from a phone call.
You can’t use video conferencing tools without the right equipment. Getting state-of-the-art desktop computers or even laptops is not always possible for everyone, especially small businesses. Consider purchasing refurbished tech because it’s much cheaper than its brand-new counterparts are, and you will find good deals when you buy in bulk. Additionally, refurbished gadgets have warranties. Just make sure that you buy from certified refurbishers.
Bring Your Entrepreneurial Vision to Life with the Tools Above
With the right business technology tools, you can help your business grow. Tech can help with generating new leads, increasing web traffic, and earning higher profits.
To get started, conduct an honest review of your business and its technology needs. What are you doing well and are there areas where you can improve?
If you need some help, try out some of the business technology above and see how it can improve your business.
Once you’re using business tech to the fullest, you’ll be able to focus more on what you do best—creating and implementing your entrepreneurial vision!
Did you find this article useful? If so, please check out some of our additional content across our site, like our guide on 10 key concepts in entrepreneurship.