Small business management tools

When you’re running a small business, it’s easy to get caught with the day-to-day stuff and not see the bigger picture. As time is a precious commodity for all of us, here are five software tools to help grow your business and save you time.

1. Project management – Trello

When you start your business, you have the best intentions, but as your client or customer numbers grow, getting organised can take a back seat. Trello lets you keep notes and ideas all in one place, and if you work with someone else, you can share your Trello board with them. It shows you how many projects you have, who’s working on them and where they’ve got to.

2. Accounting – Xero

Every penny counts when you’re running a small business and using a cloud-based accounting software solution can help you manage your accounts easily and efficiently. There are lots of different reviews out there about the best, so take a look and get started. Our hot favourite is probably Xero.

You’ll be able to see a picture of outstanding invoices, money collected and expenses all in one place, all calculated for you without the need for any complicated formulas.

When you need to let HMRC know how much you owe them, submitting your tax return will be easier and quicker if everything is all in one place.

3. Marketing and analytics– Mailchimp and Google Analytics

I’m sneaking an extra one in here really, but you can’t spend time and money marketing and then not measure how successful it was. First, we’ll take a look at MailChimp (there are others out there).

MailChimp is used by around 15 million users and gets rave reviews. With the free plan, you can have up to 2,000 subscribers and send up to 12,000 emails each month. If you need more than that, you can pay to upgrade.

It integrates with WordPress, Twitter, Facebook and Google Analytics (to name a few). Plus, you can easily see how one email compares to another you sent with easy-to-read graphs.

Now the technical bit. Measuring your return on investment can seem like a really big task, but there are services out there to help you.

Google Analytics is the big player here, but again, you could find an alternative.

It’s relatively easy to set up and offers a wealth of information about your website’s users and traffic. You can see how many people have been to your site, which pages they’ve viewed and how long they’ve stayed. You can also see where they’ve come from and which channel gives the most leads or sales.

Just enter your website’s details and it’ll start tracking straight away. Simples.

4. Social media management – Hootsuite

Using social media to build your brand and grow your business is a no-brainer. However, managing countless social media accounts takes time.

Hootsuite, for example, lets you post the same thing across your social media channels at the same time. With the free account, you can add up to three social media channels, but will need to pay for any additions.

The scheduling feature means that you can add a week’s worth of posts at the same time and Hootsuite will spread your posts out over the day or week.

5. It’s good to talk (now which old advert is that from?) – Zoom

It’s great to meet in person with clients or customers, but sometimes it’s not necessary or possible. Having a reliable video conference call service available when two becomes three or more will save time and money.

There are lots of free services available, so make sure you find one that’s right for you and get set up well before you need to make a call. The last thing you want to do is try and set up your first call five minutes before it’s due to start.

These are just some of the many great small business tools to help you run your business more efficiently.

Need further advice on any of the topics being discussed? Get in touch and see how we can help.

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    Avatar for Mark Ingle
    About Mark Ingle

    Owner-manager business specialist, Mark Ingle is key to building relationships with clients at the Chelmsford office. “I like to see clients enterprises grow and succeed.” Mark explains, “The team here has a lot to offer and I can see a lot of new businesses responding to that.”

    Having worked for accountancy practices in London and Essex, Mark has worked with a range of companies varying in size. For Mark, THP stands out for its “local firm approach with the resources of a larger practice.”

    Although a keen traveller, Mark is focused on giving his clients at THP the highest service, “Right now, I aim to help the clients we have to the best of my ability which will help me attract more of the right clients in the future.”

    Mark’s specialist skills:

    • Annual and Management Accounts
    • Tax and VAT
    • Strategy and Business Planning
    • Marketing and Sales
    • Business Development
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