Starting and running a small business can be taxing financially, physically and even emotionally. You may have done all your homework and laid out a perfect business plan, but still things may end up not running quite as you expected. At this stage you need all the help you can get and in this digital era, you need technology to transform you into a front runner and a fierce competitor in your line of business.
Some of the sales software that will help you boost your business includes: business card software, customer relation manager software (CRM), business presentation software, inventory management software, and project management software, point of sale software, invoicing software and accounting software.
Business Card Software
The first impression a customer has is through your business card. When it comes to business cards, your goal should be to create a unique card that will leave a long lasting impression on your customer. Effort put in to create a card that stands out will definitely benefit your business.
Elite Flyers: This software has a myriad of features which includes a large selection of both design and printing options. It also creates 3D cards. You can upload your personal design or use Elite Flyers in house designers to help you custom create your design of choice.
They have available online templates, the option to create cards with bleed edges is available, the card can be printed from front to back and you can include a QR code which will direct customers and potential customers to your various social media platforms and websites.
They offer traditional and vibrant color schemes as well, you can choose to create a card with UV spot finishes with either a matte or a gloss finish. They require your proof before printing and most importantly they offer 24/7 live support through email, phone or chat.
Uprinting: This online printing company has been around for 25 years. They are affordable for a small business owner. The creation tool is basic and i found it extremely easy to use.Their variety of cards include standard cards, square and rounded cards.
They offer amazing picture quality and they have a very good selection of printing paper like stock, linen and recycled paper which is eco-friendly. If you are looking for a traditional card you will find it in Uprinting. You can upload an existing logo to your business card; file formats like TIF, PDF, PSD and JPEG are accepted. Printing is either digital or offset.
123 Printing: If you prefer easy to use software, 123 is for you. Their online creation tool is simple and they offer designing tips for the user. Paper quality is good; they require your approval before printing the card you have designed. After printing, your card arrives in six days time or it can arrive in 3 days time if you pay an extra cost. Other business cards software you should check out are Jukebox and 4Over4.
Customer relationship Manager Software (CRM)
CRM software deals with organizing and tracking customer interactions. It manages all the customer data you have collected as well as your business information.
We have already discussed, in great depth, the benefits of CRM Software. Please check out our article to see if CRM software is right for your business.
Some of the best CRM software packages out there are:
Salesforce: This industry standard proves very helpful in helping grow business. It is easy to navigate and has an intuitive user interface. Its features will help you to manage your contacts and at the same time track your employees. Salesforce is based on the cloud therefore all your information is saved on their server, which saves your business the headache of running its own expensive computing infrastructure.
As good CRM software should do, Salesforce helps to track customers’ complaints, if any, thus helping solve problems. The ability to track customer problems is a critical feature in CRM software, as it allows you to improve the users’ experience. For accounting reasons it shows payment history. Customer information can be imported directly into Salesforce.
On top of that, you can keep in touch with your clients by calling their phones, or sending out mass emails to multiple customers. This helps to inform them of upcoming events you may be planning. It has a feature called Chatter which is like a social media network that allows employees to connect and one can see their recent activity.
Netsuite: Allows interaction with customers, tracking of leads and management of emails. When managing contacts, the roles of employees are added, client emailing can be mass or individual.
Contacts can either be imported or uploaded and you can call a client from within Netsuite.
Its e-commerce feature helps track potential clients by tracking their cyber path, through this you will see each link and page they visited. This information is forwarded to the sales team so they can fine tune your sales funnel.
Employee productivity can be enhanced through its suite of workflow automation functions.
OnContact: This CRM software has a split screen view which allows one to view multiple windows at the same time. The software is cloud based and they connect departments by linking customer details to all, with all departments on one page, this ensures that the customer gets the best services.
OnContact provides 2GB of data for the first user and an additional 2GB for the next five users. One can still purchase more space
Business Presentation Software
A good presentation can earn you a client who would not have considered you without the otherwise stellar presentation.
The following business presentation software is what you need to get acquainted with:
PowerPoint: Of course, no list of presentation software is complete without the industry standard. Microsoft’s PowerPoint has 40 plus presentation templates, a master slide, 30 slide transitions which you can customize, a clipart library of 500 images, 200 cookie cutter shapes and 70 charts and diagrams available in 2D and 3D.
It provides Word ART which does graphic rendering of words and allows you to add photos, audio and videos to a slideshow presentation.
It’s easy to use, the inbuilt dictionary and thesaurus helps with grammar and word selection.
Softmaker: You can install the office suite on flash drive and use Softmaker on any computer. It ensures security by including password protection. With an inbuilt table creator and 40 customizable themes, this software makes a presentation very appealing.
It has a blank slide where you can create your own layout. The layout has individual boxes for texts, info graphics, video or photos. You can choose to use 2D or 3D slide. 150 object animations are available; its text effects include shadow and emboss. A built in thesaurus is provided as well as helpful organizational tools like rulers and grids.
Simplediagram: Its user interface is simple to use, the hand drawn look is a plus for your presentation. They offer 500 shapes and free web downloads. You can create diagrams and sketches with Simplediagram.
Project Management Software
Clarizen: It comes in three version; professional, enterprise and unlimited. Every module of this software is available through the left navigation bar in their interface. One can import data from Microsoft templates and the search tool allows one to search for information in the project notes. Their analysis tool carries out a what –if analysis to figure out the outcome of the project if things had been done differently.
By running ad hoc reports it informs you of the stumbling blocks of the project. Clarizen also allows for projects to be archived and cloned at a later date. It is very suitable for managing sensitive data.
Workfront: It automates processes, approvals and work flows. Time delivery increases because one can work on multiple projects simultaneously and project updates can be managed directly through Outlook.
Genius Project: With this software it is simple to create project, add resources and manage tasks. It exercises what if scenarios and lesson learnt projects to help analyze the project and rank it.
5GB of data are provided per month for free. Team members can submit their work; they are also included in a forum in order to receive notifications.
Other projects management software are Workzone, Replicon PPM and Mavenlink.
Inventory Management Software
One cardinal rule of a product based small business is to always have a record of your inventory! Track it to minimize loss and inefficiency. To assist with this, there are software like:
Trade Gecko: With this software you can import inventory, you can add products using a barcode and you can bundle many products together to sell them as a special deal. Trade Gecko accommodates different currencies for small businesses that cross international borders.
It manages invoice to track partially fulfilled orders to warn you if you do not have the stock complete in your order. It then tells you how many products you need to fulfill the order. This is in order to create separate invoices for partial payments.
Apart from being hosted on cloud it is available on mobile devices too. It is optimized to interact with the accounting program Xero
Inflow: A wizard helps you to set up Inflow. You can attach serial numbers to your products to help with tracking and security. Products can also be tracked by weight instead of numbers. The choice to use multiple currencies is available; multiple languages are also supported to help deal with international clients.
For accounting, it is integrated with QuickBooks. If one has similar products, notes and photos can be attached to products in order to help keep them straight.
iMagic Inventory: Adding or subtracting of products can be done using the barcode scanner. One can view report of sold items into a bundle for a special sale. When creating purchase orders, it fills in information if the information is on file like a customer’s information.
Multiple users can use iMagic but it restricts individual users to specific parts for security purposes.
You can export invoices and data to several file formats like PDF and CSV.
Other inventory software to consider is; Finale Inventory, Orderhive and Stitch Labs Review.
As a small business owner, you are going to need to take advantage of smart software solutions to get that competitive edge you need. This software ranges from business card design to customer relationship management software to productivity tools. Always be on the lookout for functions that can be automated or streamlined with the use of software!