According to a study by tech company Mavenlink, time is considered to be the most valuable asset to small business owners.
This isn’t overly surprising, given entrepreneurs all tend to wear a lot of hats. No two days are ever really the same, however one thing tends to remain consistent: there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, am I right?!
If this sounds familiar, it’s probably time to start investing in some affordable, user-friendly technologies which will help you get some precious time back, enhance client and team communications, and minimise human error.
Below is a snapshot of some of the tools we use here at MicroChilli, as well as recommend to our small business owner clients.
Bookkeeping tools for accurate financial management and analysis
Now I might be biased as I’m in the business of numbers, but if you choose to invest in only one piece of tech (aside from things like your phone and computer), make it accounting and bookkeeping software.
Why? Because managing your incomings and outgoings in a spreadsheet or other similar format, and updating them as and when you get a chance, can lead to inaccuracies in important financial reporting and data.
Receipts, especially for the smaller items like subscriptions which inevitably add up, can be easily missed off, and invoices forgotten when you’re inputting data manually. In the long run, this can see you make purchases that you might not be able to afford, as the figures you see aren’t a true reflection of the actual state of the business.
Platforms such as MYOB, Quickbooks, Xero, Wave and Rounded simplify these processes, as they all allow integration with the business bank account (on that note separating your personal and business finances is a must). So, when supplies are purchased for the business, invoices or receipts can be forwarded straight to either the accounting software or a document and data capture software. This means you’ll never lose track of those expenses again, and won’t be paying too much tax because you’ve forgotten about all those little expenses!
Tools for owning the invoicing process, once and for all
These platforms can also be used to create and automate invoices with ease. You can schedule payment reminders in too, so there’s no need to do the chasing. This can all be achieved on the go, as these platforms are equipped with phone applications, allowing for the creation and monitoring of invoices as and when you need.
While they offer a lot of similar functions, it’s important to take a look at the unique state of your business, from its size and niche, to the locations of your client base and your budget, to determine which one is best for you. Luckily we’ve done some of the work for you in our handy comparison guide on bookkeeping software for small business.
For when you’re scaling fast, and not sure how to manage staff
Managing payroll is important from the get go (which many of the platforms mentioned above can also help with), but as you grow, staff management and the clear assigning of tasks will become essential to your success.
Tools such as Bright HR (pricing available on request) and Deputy (pricing starts at $3 per user per month) are widely used across shift-based industries such as hospitality, healthcare, retail and construction. They allow business owners to view rosters in real time, see when employees have started and ended their shifts, and look back at previous rosters to determine how many employees will be required on a particular job or day. Plus, they offer reporting functions which allow you to export time sheets to your accounting and bookkeeping software, and simplify the payroll process.
If you tend to charge clients based on time, project management tools such as ClickUp, Trello or Monday could be for you. Their fees all start at $0 per month, with pricing increasing as your team grows.
They allow for small business owners, managers and employees to organise and assign tasks – from daily to do lists to projects with longer lead times, provide status updates, and track their time, all in the one place. This ensures no task is missed or forgotten, and that your business isn’t undercharging.
Tech for beautifully branded business collateral
If you’re struggling with the admin work associated with putting proposals, contracts, questionnaires and more together, customer relationship tools like Dubsado (pricing starts at USD $40 per month) are worth exploring. This platform allows busy business owners to create standardised templates which reflect their branding, and they can be easily and seamlessly personalised for clients.
It also offers a client portal functionality, where they can view invoices, services agreements, messages, deliverables they’ve received from you and more, all in the one place.
Technology doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg, and if anything, the small investments you make now, will lead to your ongoing growth and success in the future.
If you’d like to learn more about which technologies might be best suited to your business, get in touch today! Book a call in with me here.