— August 23, 2017
Small businesses have two options to increase revenue: sell more or reduce expenses. Online and mobile apps can help small businesses do both. These tools are cost-effective and intuitive enough for even the most novice user.
No single tool will help every small business increase revenue. The most effective use of any tool is to understand how your business makes money and how it spends money. That understanding will help you choose tools that best your company’s needs.
For example, a small business with remote employees might save money with a robust project management platform. A small manufacturing company that has only one facility might achieve better returns with order fulfillment and payment processing tools.
By focusing first on the business functions that increase or decrease revenue, a small business can choose tools from categories that will provide the biggest returns for the company’s bottom line.
#1. Improve project management.
Improved project management results in improved operational efficiency by reducing project costs. Tela Donelson, MBA writes in a LinkedIn article that “with effective project management techniques, you can make sure that your projects come in under budget and ahead of their deadline.”
Small businesses can spend inordinate amounts of time tracking projects, particularly if employees are scattered across multiple time zones. Project management tools like Asana give team members a centralized resource to create and track projects and progress. Effectively managing projects predict completion time. Completed projects means clients receive invoices on time.
#2. Don’t let company communications get out of hand.
Varun Mittal, in a LinkedIn article, writes that emails “represent an effective yet unobtrusive way to communicate with individuals and large groups, but are often overused.” The daily slew of emails and text message can derail even the most productive small business manager. Slack helps all business employees track and manage communication and prevent important messages from slipping through the cracks. Slack can save business owners from missing important details during contract negotiations. This slip could result in hundreds of thousands in missed revenue.
#3. Get better at tracking your employees’ time.
Capturing the full amount of employee time spent on a client project is critical to cash flow and profitability. EZClocker has built-in GPS verification allowing team members to clock in at the work site upon arrival and departure, tracking every minute worked. With the ability to clock in and out on mobile devices, businesses save money on wasted time spent tracking incomplete time cards.
#4. Consider tapping into the gig economy.
Most small business have a difficult time handling everything in-house. The global gig economy is a pool of contractors who provide services through platforms such as Freelancer. Forbes author Karsten Strauss says, “LinkedIn predicts that by the year 2020, 43% of the U.S. workforce will be made up of workers who freelance.” Services provided by independent contractors can help small businesses increase revenue while saving time and expenses associated with traditional talent acquisition.
#5. Use effective customer relationship management.
Dr. Steve Francis mentions in a blog post that a good customer relationship (CRM) system will “enable organisations to move away from two dimensional, non-relational tools like Excel spreadsheets, that fall short in valuable functionality.”
Tools like Salesforce, a leader in CRM, helps small businesses track projects, accelerate sales, and build client relationships that lead to repeat orders and more bottom-line revenue. The best CRM tools integrate with other online applications, which drastically improve a business’s opportunity to increase revenue.
#6. Choose the right accounting tools for your business.
Andrew Cravenho, in his Entrepreneur article, suggests that poor accounting is one of the reasons that 90 per cent of startups fail.
Costs and expenses for accounting software can quickly erode a small business’s budget. Wave Accounting has all but eliminated software costs with its free, cloud-based accounting package that was designed around small business needs. Wave is best suited for businesses with fewer than ten employees. Its user-friendly interface simplifies the setup process. This process gives entrepreneurs the best opportunity to start a business with an accounting package that can handle billing, payments, receipts, and basic reporting.
#7. Utilize cloud storage to protect your data.
AllBusiness writer Rieva Lesonsky says “[A]lmost one-third (32%) of business owners have lost data.” Lost data could cost small businesses millions of dollars.
Gone are the days when a small business needed to budget thousands of dollars or more for servers and data storage. Cloud storage services like Dropbox not only provide terabytes of storage at bargain-basement prices, but also enable file sharing and data synchronization across desktop and mobile platforms.
Effective use of the tools can help business owners realize greater profits and benefits. Project management, communication, time tracking, outsourcing, CRM, accounting, and cloud storage tools are just a few of the many useful tools available to help business owners save money and increase revenue.