10 Must Have Tools for Small Business
When we speak of business tools we often think in terms of calculators for complex business ratios and the following list certainly incorporates a few of these. However, it is important to alter your perspective on business tools and this list may just accomplish that for you.
#1 – oDesk
No, this is not a calculator. It is a resource for freelance talent. One of the silver-linings emerging from the economic downturn is the increased availability of immensely talented freelancers. If you need something accomplished in your business, consider the services of a freelancer.
And oDesk is by no means the only purveyor of freelance talent. There are a host of others, as a brief spin around the Internet will reveal. Hiring a freelancer may make more sense for your business than hiring a permanent staff member for a short term project.
You needn’t worry about benefits. They are not expected in the freelance community. If things are not working out as expected with your freelancer, ending a contract has none of the legal repercussions you may fear in conventional employer-employee relationships.
#2 – Skype
Now you are probably wondering how you are going to make a hiring decision over the Internet. The answer is Skype. Video conferencing, telephone calls (including inexpensive international calls), and chat capability combine to make this platform a powerful and cost effective business tool.
#3 – Square
This one is every budding entrepreneur’s dream. Anyone from an Avon representative to the sidewalk hot dog vendor should have this tool in their arsenal. Square offers a totally portable, unobtrusive, card reader that allows anyone with a checking account and verifiable identity to accept credit cards. The possibilities are endless; from mom’s yard sale, to kids mowing lawns, vendors at flea markets or any small business person just starting out. This is a tool which allows your imagination to run rampant. It works with all android smart phones and tablets and, of course iOS based gadgets like the iPhone, iPad, etc. Imagine being able to conclude a sale anywhere and at any time…wow!
This is an excellent tool for the small business looking for ways to cut costs and improve cash flow. Though some of you may not be acquainted with factoring, it is never too late to learn what a help it can be for many a business.
A thumbnail explanation of factoring: a factor will buy accounts receivable at a discount and provide the client business with immediate cash. Of course there are several other options a factor makes available to the small business client, but this is the nitty-gritty of the factoring business.
Employing the services of a factoring company can smooth out cash flow problems, save businesses the expense of borrowing to meet emergencies caused by cash flow problems and in many cases, serve as a business’s accounts receivable manager.
This invoice factoring calculator will show you what factoring can do for your business, provide an annual profit outlook over the next 12 months and show a breakdown of current profits and expenses—all for free.
Just plug in the data and press calculate. It is a great tool and may introduce you to something about which you know very little … factoring.
#5 – Google Drive
Google drive, first of all, is free and as a business tool it is awesome. In combination with Google Docs it can provide cloud storage for all your critical documents, photos, etc. Google Drive also allows you to share documents with other users, making it an ideal means of sharing information with staff and clients. In combination with Google Calendar, it is a great way to stay organized. Perhaps the best feature is accessibility. Any information stored in Google Drive can be accessed from any PC, smart phone or tablet. This makes Google Drive an ideal back up for important data and every business owner understands just how important offsite storage of critical records can be. Information stored in Google Drive is completely private and is only shared with your approval. This approval does not provide access to the total contents of the drive, but rather to only those documents you choose to share and with only those you choose to share. Google Drive and Google Calendar are small business tools available in Google Apps where other useful tools can be found.
Small business owners are frequently faced with the need to borrow. Loans are not a one-size-fits-all proposition. The savvy small business owner understands the necessity of tailoring borrowing needs to the business’s unique needs. This handy, free calculator allows you to compare three different loan scenarios side by side making the decision making process a much easier proposition.
#7 – Net Profit Margin
This is an important metric for any small business. It is sometimes referred to as the return on sales ratio. It is an easy calculation, but using this free calculator makes it even easier. Bookmark it and use it monthly to understand any trend developing in your business with regard to profit margins.
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