Even if your business is just getting started, there’s no reason you can’t use the same methods and toolsets as the big boys.
Part of the fun of being an SME is in the agility you have at your disposal. Yes, one day you will want to scale to planet-conquering proportions, but for now, there’s free small business management software available that can substantially change the way you work, adding value and efficiency to your internal processes and customer communications.
The good news is that many of these free apps have paid components that will see you through to enterprise level use, should you love the product enough to pay for it.
Trello is a customisable Kanban board-based productivity app that is usually the first port of call for those beginning an agile journey. Trello is designed around the use of cards and lists, making it perfect for individual projects and the wider management of to-dos.
Trello is well-supported online, and because of its flexibility, there are innumerable tutorials on how to use it to achieve success across a broad variety of project types. I’ve used it to plan short stories and holidays, so it’s even good for sorting your life out.
Slack is the internet’s new favourite communications app, adored by developers and the denizens of San Francisco. At it’s core Slack is a modernised take on the #IRC days of yore, built around creating multiple communications channels across an organisation.
It’s telling that Slack has largely supplanted Skype and other internal team communication tools in businesses outside of it’s core constituency (which is arguably developers and tech outfits).
Slack integrates well with many other third-party business tools, too.
Insightly keeps getting better and better. It’s the ideal CRM for a startup or small business, with free seats to begin with and a generous capacity of records that will take you far enough that you wouldn’t feel too bad about paying to remove any caps on usage.
Insightly gives you all the usual features of a CRM but comes with some interesting scraping tools out of the box. It’s great for BDMs operating on a shoestring and it’s reporting tools have matured significantly since launch.
If you’re looking for a CRM, Insightly is one of the very best free options.
Balsamiq is a tool for mocking up user interfaces and user journeys. It’s primarily aimed at creatives or software professionals, but it’s a great tool for visualising customer processes and edging towards a more agile way of working.
If you’re a marketer, for instance, Balsamiq is a fantastic way to visualise your customer personas and create customer journeys or story maps.
Or, if you’re evaluating tech projects, it’s a good means of visualising what it is that you want the service provider to produce for you.
While many ERP systems are incorporating their own digital document signature solution, Docusign is still the best way to tackle digital signatures for those without Macs or any other proprietary software. It’s invaluable for those instances where you need to collate various different forms of authorisation to people not in the same geographic location, and you may be grateful for it when you’re trying to get that tender in at the last moment.
A great accompaniment to your small business management software is the VisiPoint visitor management system. If you want a new approach to managing everyone coming in and out of your small business, Get in touch for a consultation!