Starting a business requires many back-office programs and tools in order to make your office run efficiently. When you are just starting out, however, the last thing you want to do is spend your entire investment on things to get you started. It can feel like a double edged sword because without these items you are not going to be able to be productive or profitable, yet you don’t want to spend too much money up front, leaving yourself in the red before you even hit the ground running. Luckily, with advances in today’s technology, there are numerous affordable and even free tools that help you get started and stay productive.
7 Affordable Tools to Increase Productivity: Get the Legal Stuff Squared Away
Before you open your door or website for business, you need to know that you are legally protected, but let’s face it, lawyers are expensive! The SBA has set up a great little program called SCORE for businesses just like you. It’s a panel of business professionals with years of experience. They will help you get your business off on the right foot for no charge – now you are protected and saving money!
7 Affordable Tools to Increase Productivity: Have a Way to Communicate
If you are going to have employees that span the globe, or even those that come in and out as they please, you need a system that lets everyone communicate and be on the same page for ongoing projects. For these tasks, you need a Project Management program that works in the cloud, enabling everyone to log in whether it is in the office, on their laptop, tablet, or Smartphone. For a nominal fee, with a program like Basecamp, you can share ideas, make changes, share documents, and complete projects without ever picking up the phone or meeting in person.
7 Affordable Tools to Increase Productivity: Make Business Calls from Anywhere
It is a normal occurrence to have employees on-the-go, but that does not mean that customers and vendors will appreciate constantly getting voicemail or being placed on hold. This is why a service, such as Switch, a company that allows you to have your work calls on any device, is so valuable. This VoIP service works over an internet connection, which means you are always connected to the office no matter where you are at any given time. Communicate via phone, video chat, host a conference call, or share files all with one system for one low price.
7 Affordable Tools to Increase Productivity: Access your Files Anywhere
Files need to be accessed in order to complete a sales call, answer a customer’s question, or just to satisfy your own needs. If you are out of the office, it can be time consuming and frustrating to call into the office, wait for someone to be able to locate the file and then send it over to you. With a service like DropBox, storage in the cloud, you can have access to all of your files on any device. This means better customer service, quicker task completion, and higher levels of productivity for everyone.
7 Affordable Tools to Increase Productivity: Invoice in the Cloud
Invoicing is the only way you are going to make money. If you are always on-the-go, burning the midnight oil might seem like your only option to get those invoices out as you don’t have time during regular business hours to be in the office and at your computer. With programs like FreshBooks or Quicken online, you can pay for SAAS, or software as a service, which allows access to your invoicing wherever you have an internet connection. Invoicing customers while you are right there in front of them or from the comfort of your own homeincreases customer satisfaction, decreases accounts receivable time frames, and decreases the hours you put in on a daily basis.
7 Affordable Tools to Increase Productivity: HootSuite
Time is money and yet so is social media. How do you balance both? If you have multiple accounts, you do not want to be spending all of your time updating them, yet you need to in order to garner the interest in your business as everyone operates on social media. Sites like HootSuite manage your social media sites for you. With one log-in you can access all of your social media sites, make sure you have ample posts ready to be published, and interact with your followers.
7 Affordable Tools to Increase Productivity: Bring your Apps with You
Have you ever been out on the road and wished you could have a particular app with you on your laptop or home computer that existed on your desktop computer at the office? Now you can with Portable Apps. After loading your programs onto a flash drive, you simply plug the flash drive into the computer you are using at the moment and you have access to the program.
These 7 tools are a great way to get you operating in no time and with very little investment. Utilizing the power of the internet and the cloud is the key component to most of these programs, especially Switch.Co, giving you communication on-the-go. So whether you are using a co-working environment, working from home, or are constantly on-the-go, you can have access to the back-office software that keeps your business running productivity and efficiently.
What tools do you use for your business startup? Let us know in the comments below!
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