Without help from technology, most modern businesses would struggle. They rely on accounting software to maintain the books, cloud-based productivity tools to streamline everyday tasks, and communication software so virtual teams and home-based employees can enjoy flexibility combined with productivity.
Some software is free; other solutions require an upfront fee or a monthly subscription. Not all free software is limited and not all paid software is ‘da bomb’. It’s important to do your homework before you trial a new piece of software. So, whether you are looking for a DVD burning software from Burn World or your office could do with a new productivity suite, here is a quick guide to the five most essential business software solutions your organization can’t do without.
Keeping the lines of communication open is critical. It’s not unusual for modern businesses to operate in a virtual landscape where teams work independently in various locations around the globe. Slack is a very useful tool for sharing documents, chatting about projects, and connecting with people from other organizations. There are 101 different ways to use Slack, so make sure your business starts leveraging it today. And, best of all, it’s free!
OK, so this one is part of the Microsoft universe, but the truth is, most free word processing and spreadsheet software solutions can’t hold a candle to MS Office. Excel is an incredibly powerful spreadsheet program and Access can crunch data for breakfast. In the days of old, businesses had to buy lifetime software licenses, but monthly subscriptions have made MS Office more affordable. MS Office isn’t perfect, but more businesses use it than don’t and compatibility is often an issue if you decide to choose a free software suite instead.
Email marketing is a critical tool for targeting new and existing customers. Sending out emails manually is tedious and time-consuming. MailChimp automates the process so you can get on with doing other, more important tasks. The more you use MailChimp, the smarter it gets. Use it to welcome new subscribers, thank new customers, follow-up on purchases, target customers with ads, and more.
Unless you operate in a really obscure niche, you likely have competitors biting at your proverbial ankles or developing better products right under your nose. Competitor analysis is critical if you want your business to stay ahead of the pack. SEMrush is an excellent tool for monitoring your competitor’s internet marketing strategies. You can use it to find out what keywords they are targeting (and use them in your own marketing strategies), analyze backlinks, gain competitive intelligence data, and more.
Cloud storage has largely replaced CDs and hard-drives. Businesses can upload vital documents to a secure cloud drive, share those documents, and collaborate on them in real time. The days of data loss are long gone thanks to cloud storage. Dropbox is a well-known cloud storage solution. Small amounts of storage are free, which may be sufficient for startups, but businesses can also pay for extra storage if they need it.
Honorable mentions go to WordPress, FreshBooks, Square, and Zendesk.