You’re competing with nearly 22 million small business owners in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau. How quickly and efficiently you get something done for your customers can make the difference between earning their loyalty or losing them to the competition.

Managing your time well can get you repeat business and referrals, and these tools will help you be fast and efficient, no matter what your business.

 (1) Manage Customers

Not long ago, only large corporations could afford to use sophisticated customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Now they are available through software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers on the cloud. A good CRM system lets you access and analyze customer information, get better visibility into the sales cycle and learn the business trend information that helps with forecasting. Zoho CRM is one such cloud-based tool. Use it to:

  • Get reports on customer activity every morning
  • Integrate your sales activity with customer contact information and have a complete record of how the sales cycle is progressing
  • Access customer information on the road with the Zoho mobile app

(2) Manage Accounts Receivables (AR)

Your cash flow depends on getting payment from customers, and payment from customers depends on you getting your invoices out promptly. A cloud-based invoicing tool such as Intuit Quickbooks automates many AR tasks and lets you monitor customer account activity. Quickbooks can:

  • Schedule electronic invoices for delivery and follow them up with reminders when payment is past due
  • Find your slow-paying customers, so you can send incentives to get their payments in on time
  • Generate revenue reports and tax statuses at any time
  • Access customer account information whereever you are with its mobile application

(3) Manage Your Team

Whether you have one or 100 employees, you need to manage company and project information in a way that gives people access to what they need when they need it. Expensive and complicated collaboration tools such as Microsoft’s Sharepoint were out of reach for many small businesses. Evernote Business is a better option for small businesses, and it continues to add helpful features. With Evernote Business you can:

  • Manage all company data and create notebooks that contain information for specific projects
  • Easily search for data within all project notebooks
  • Link team notes, so you can view the thread of activity and comments on any project
  • Capture data from the Web and store it in a project’s notebook for future reference
  • Access Presentation Mode, which lets you display team results and statuses directly from within Evernote without having to use other presentation tools

(4) Manage Your Social Media

If you are heavily invested in social networking for your business, use Hootsuite to manage all your social media campaigns from one place. All of the major players including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are integrated into one dashboard view. Use Hootsuite to:

  • Track your campaigns, analyze results and receive customer feedback
  • Access advanced analytics, including an integration with Google Analytics (Pro version only)
  • Save time you would spend working on each platform individually

There are hundreds of excellent software tools out there today to help you manage your staff and your time. The place to start of course is to first identify which of your tasks are tedious or recurring and then find a software solution to improve the process.

Once you’ve shortlisted the time consuming tasks in your work you can then begin searching for the right software. Or, even better why not just ask our community right here and share what you’re searching for in the comment box below.

QUESTION: What is your favourite piece of software that has helped you manage your small business?

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