The pandemic had one positive effect on American businesses: it accelerated digital adoption in all sizes of companies. Carl Carande, vice-chair of advisory at KPMG USA, stated that “The move towards digitization has accelerated and the benefits will remain permanent.” There is no going back.”
This is underscored by the 2021 Small and Medium Business Trends Report from Salesforce that shows SMBs accelerated their tech investments–83% moved some of their operations online, most in the past year. They cited the following reasons: Increase productivity, increase business agility, and improve data security as their top reasons.
And the report says 43% of SMBs have long-term plans to become a virtual business and embrace remote work.
If you’re like many small business owners, your company is still in process of transformation. So here are seven web tools that can help you seamlessly make the digital transition.
1. Web Hosting
By now, most of you know your business’s online presence is the first impression of your business clients and prospects see. You need a professional, high-quality website that clearly explains your products and services. It should also be attractively presented. To ensure that your website doesn’t crash or is hacked, you will need a web host. HostGator is an affordable hosting platform with website-building tools (if required), free domain registration for the first year, and free site transfer if you already have a website but are not happy with your current host.
2. Digital Marketing
Your social media profile and postings offer potential clients and customers a lot of insight into your professional activities. You can also use social media to showcase your latest products and new menu items. HubSpot’s Social Media Management Software lets users schedule and post content to LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram from a single dashboard. HubSpot analyses the number of views to recommend the best social media platforms and the best times to post content to increase engagement. You can also set up keyword monitoring, so you’ll get notifications whenever your business is mentioned.
3. Payables & Receivables
Getting paid and paying bills are time-consuming and tedious, although necessary, tasks for business owners. When you have a pile of paper checks to fill out, bills can quickly accumulate. You also need to reconcile those bills with your accounting software. These are the types of mistakes that can cause serious damage to your credit score and business reputation. If you fail to monitor your receivables, your business’ cash flow will be negatively affected and could put your future in danger. Bill.com is a platform that tracks payables and receivables. It was created to help business owners save time so they can spend their time growing their businesses. Bill.com’s digital billing tool is easy to use and integrates invoice billing with payments. Bill.com’s secure online system allows customers to pay online and business owners can quickly create and send invoicing electronically. It’s easy to pay your bills. When bills/invoices come in through email or postal mail, the information is scanned into the system, and the bill gets paid through ACH or, if preferred, Bill.com will mail a paper check.
Now that your invoices and bills are taken care of, you need an accounting system that keeps track of your business’s overall financial health, separates your business and personal expenses, and gathers all the necessary information for tax time. QuickBooks offers a range of accounting programs that can be integrated with other tools, such as Bill.com. These tools will give you all the information you need to avoid getting into trouble with the IRS. They also help calculate your small business deductions, estimated taxes, and more.
5. Project Management
Business owners juggling numerous clients and simultaneous projects can often get overwhelmed trying to get organized and stay on top of deadlines. Project management tools can be your best friend. There are many different project management tools, but you need to ensure that the one you choose is easy to use and understand. It is not worth spending time and money learning complicated systems with many features that you won’t use. Toggl Plan is easy to use. You can set up a timeline, add notes and prioritize tasks. Plus, you can give clients access to Toggl to keep them updated on the project’s progress.
6. Video Conferencing
Last year the business world learned how essential video conferencing was to keeping operations and communications running smoothly when people are scattered and working remotely. The platform that your clients and important contacts use is a key factor in choosing the right video conferencing tool. It is smart to set up accounts on multiple video conferencing platforms, as most offer a free version. Zoom, Google Meet and Skype all offer free versions that you can download. If you need more features than the free versions offer, each offers a variety of paid plans.
7. Appointment Scheduling
One of the most challenging tasks for many business owners is scheduling calls. There are many calendar scheduling software options available, each with unique features and different price points. It can be difficult to choose the right one. Capterra offers details on more than 500 options of appointment scheduling software with a solid filtering system, so you can narrow down the features you need.
I’ve owned my business for nearly 14 years now, and I wish many of these tools had been around then. I would have been able to increase my productivity significantly.
In partnership with Bill.com.