Small businesses often have to operate with a lean team. While the collaboration and camaraderie of a small team is part of what makes running a small business exciting, the small size can also make things difficult. There are so many tasks necessary for a business to operate, and simply not enough hours in a day for a small team to complete them.
Luckily, technology can take away a significant amount of the burden. Administrative tasks related to accounting, marketing, and more can be done by software, freeing up your small team to do the creative work they do best.
To get you started, here’s a list of some must-haves for your small business tech stack.
1. Payroll Software
Managing payroll can be a complicated, time-consuming task. It encompasses much more than just delivering a check every couple of weeks. You also need to consider complex tax requirements and benefits withholdings.
Using robust online payroll software is the best thing you can do to take the burden away from your team. Solutions like OnPay can calculate how much to pay your employees, and how much to set aside for various taxes and benefits. You save a significant amount of time and effort while also making sure employee paychecks are more accurate.
2. HR Software
Few small businesses can afford a full HR team, but HR is still vitally important. Managing employee benefits and hiring great talent are necessary if you want to attract the kind of talent that can help your business grow.
Online payroll software can take care of benefits for some companies, but if you have more complicated offerings – such as pre-tax transportation benefits or a health savings account – there are platforms available that are dedicated to benefits management.
Hiring can also be streamlined with tech. While you can’t replace your own judgement when it comes to making the final decision, software can scan resumes for relevant keywords and surface the best matches for you to review.
3. Marketing Automation
Successful marketing doesn’t just mean talking about your brand online. It means talking about your brand online at the right time, on the right platform, and to the right audience. There are entire businesses dedicated to this, but small businesses have to manage it with a lean marketing team.
To help small businesses compete, you can use marketing automation tools to get your message out there. Email platforms like Mailchimp let you schedule emails, send them to segmented lists, and collect data on engagement.
There are also social media solutions that let you schedule posts for various social platforms and collect data on their performance. You can send similar messages to each platform your brand has, but tailor the content and frequency to what makes sense for that platform.
4. Accounting Tools
At the end of the day, the goal of business is to drive revenue and gain profit. It’s difficult to know how well your business is doing if accounting isn’t accurate.
There are a number of accounting tools on the market that can help you keep track of all your expenses, capital, and revenue. Many also have reporting capabilities so you can easily understand whether your business is thriving and where the areas of greatest risk are.
Under the umbrella of accounting tools are also tools for invoicing, accounts payable, tax management, and more. It may feel overwhelming to get a massive suite of finance software, but in most cases, it’s not quite as overwhelming as managing it all via spreadsheets.
Making sure your employees can collaborate with each other is critical, especially now that many people are working remotely. Email is fine for non-urgent needs, but when employees need to communicate in real time, an instant messaging client like Slack is necessary. Many collaboration tools expand past instant messaging and also allow for file sharing, project management, and more.
Along the same vein, you probably also want to choose a video chat client. Whether it’s Google Meet, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or something else, it’s helpful to keep your preferred video chat platform consistent across the company. That will make meeting scheduling and management easier.
6. Project Management
For a company to be productive, everyone needs to know what’s expected of them and when it’s expected by. Miscommunication can sink any promising project. Project management software prevents that miscommunication by keeping everyone on track.
Some platforms, like Trello, have free online versions. Other popular ones include Jira and Basecamp. Each of these tools have their own pros and cons, but common features include the abilities to break large projects into small tasks, to assign specific team members to certain tasks, and to assign deadlines to each individual subtask. Team members can receive alerts when a certain task is ready for them, when someone comments on a task they’re assigned to, and when their deliverables are due.
Running a small business is difficult, but technology can make it easier. Getting tools in these categories can help you manage your business more effectively, make better use of your team’s time, and, ultimately, grow your business.