Technology is one of the most important tools that businesses have at their disposal and if you’re not making good use of it, you’re just putting yourself at a disadvantage. Your competitors will be making good use of various pieces of software and if you aren’t doing the same, you won’t be able to match them on product quality, efficiency or customer service and you’ll soon fall behind. There are a couple of different reasons that a business might not be making good use of the software available to them; in some cases, it’s just because the business owner doesn’t like using technology and prefers to do things the old fashioned way. While there is a lot to be said for the tried and tested business techniques, a company that doesn’t embrace technology is setting themselves up to fail.
Often, though, it’s not that the business owners don’t want to use technology to help better their business, they just don’t know how. If you’re not aware of the different tools that are available to you and how best to use them, you’re not going to reap the rewards of business software. If that sounds like you, check out this list of the essential software solutions that all businesses should be using.
First and foremost, you need good security software. Businesses are a prime target for cyber attacks and if you fall prey to hackers, it can have a devastating effect. They could shut all of your computer systems down and you’ll be losing money until you can get them back online again. They may also crash your website so you can’t make any sales. But the most common way that hackers exploit companies is by stealing the credit card information of their customers. You’ll be obligated to let the customers know that this has happened and you can be sure that they, and anybody that they know, aren’t going to trust you with their details again. It can be incredibly hard to bounce back from something like that so you need to make sure that you’ve got good security.
Security software can be expensive but don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can save money by using a free one or getting the cheapest option. Those programs are fine on a personal computer, but for a business, they just won’t cut it. It’s also important that you have a good IT team on hand to keep it updated and patch any weaknesses in the system as they come up. You can either hire your own in-house IT team or, if you don’t have the capital to do that, you can outsource it.
If you or your employees are using your personal computers to work outside of the office, it’s important that you consider security there as well. The best way to protect yourself outside of the office is to make sure that everybody has a virtual private network (VPN) installed on their computer. A VPN creates a secure, private network that is not easily accessible so it gives you another layer of protection from hackers. That way, you can safely browse work documents on a personal computer.
Handling business finances is one of the hardest things about running your own company. You could hire a full-time accountant but when you’re a new startup, that’s not always viable. But good accounting software can do a lot of the work for you. Even if you do have an accountant, you should still be using this software. It will help you to keep track of all of your spending so you can budget properly. You can also use it to handle your payroll and generate invoices for customers. Doing all of that stuff manually is incredibly time consuming and you’re likely to make costly mistakes along the way, so make sure that you’re using software to help you out.
Understanding your customers is a key part of marketing. If you don’t know what they like and how best to engage them, you’ll struggle to direct marketing campaigns properly. But tracking all of your interactions with customers and how successful they are is a massive undertaking and you’re not going to be able to do it manually. The good news is, there are some great pieces of marketing software out there that can handle the workload for you. You can use it to track all of your interactions with customers and work out which interactions generated sales and which didn’t. If you use that information to target your resources in the areas that are generating more leads, you should see a significant boost in sales.
If you’re not making good use of these pieces of software already, your business isn’t working to its full potential.