An old saying by Emmert Wolf states that “a man is only as good as his tools”. And while we are sure that he didn't have modern companies in mind, this saying holds true even in 2022. In order to run and grow a business, you need to utilise appropriate tools to their fullest extent. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Below is information to help you find the tools you need to run and grow your business.
How to research tools
Once you start looking for tools, you'll soon find out that there are many options. There is no shortage of companies that provide various tools for business management. Each of them promises terrific results and outstanding performance. But, once you take a more in-depth look, you will find that few are actually suitable for your business strategy. With this in mind, we will give you a couple of pointers on researching tools before deciding on what you need.
Your needs vs. your budget
When it comes to finding business growth tools, you would, ideally, purchase all the best ones. But unfortunately, this is seldom possible or financially advisable, especially for small businesses. Every company has specific business needs, depending on its size and clientele. Small businesses usually have a limited budget that they can spare for software and tools. Therefore, your best bet is to keep cost-effectiveness in mind if you want to make the right call. This means outlining your requirements first and then finding the cheapest tool that properly fulfills them. By doing so, you will not only get the right software for your needs, but you will also ensure that your budget can support it.
Once you start searching for tools, we advise you to see whether other businesses similar to yours are using them. Learning what your competitors are using is a great way to start your research and direct your efforts. The more you know about specific tools, the better you will be able to compare them and predict their cost-effectiveness. So, don't try to rush this process, even though you likely need these tools as soon as possible. By picking the right one, you spare yourself from considerable headaches.
Which are the essential tools you need to grow your business?
While every business has specific business needs and therefore requires specific tools, there are some that we feel are universal. In order to grow a business in 2022, there are a couple of aspects that you'll need to tackle. With that in mind, below are some tools to make that easier.
If you run a company of only a few people, you might get away with not having a project management tool. But, if you plan on expanding your business, you are pretty much required to invest in it. From keeping track of your taxes to outlining new ideas for product development. The more you use a project management tool, the more you'll wonder how you ever managed without one. The best ones we have to recommend are:
Customer management software
Business growth usually implies that you'll have a larger number of clients. If you are a B2B company, this can mean only a few more. But, if you are a B2C company, you can easily see exponential growth. In either case, the necessary tool for managing your customers is called CMS (Customer Management Software). With it, you will address the customers' needs with ease and learn from customer feedback. Proper CMS enables your customer support team to be much more efficient and productive. And seeing how modern customers have grown to expect near-instant 24/7 customer service, you'd be wise to invest in it. Some of the CMS tools you should consider are:
- Zoho CRM®
Growing your business doesn't only mean expanding your services or coming up with new products. It also means developing your online presence and boosting your brand awareness. To make any of this possible, you need to tackle your SEO. SEO management as a whole can be pretty arduous, which is why many companies choose to hire marketing agencies to handle it for them. If you decide to tackle it on your own, here are the tools to help you out:
- Google® Search Console
Social media management
Apart from getting good SEO results, you will also need to tackle social media. In today's age, trying to grow your business without addressing social media is a fool's errand. Therefore, if you haven't so far, try to handle social media marketing with due care. The best tools to help you along include:
- Sprout Social®
Developing your online presence isn't simply about picking the right tools for the job. To truly see your brand grow, you need to experiment with different options and choose the ones that suit you. The only tried and true way to make this possible is by using proper web analytic tools. Through them, you will be able to monitor your marketing reach, how effective it is, and which areas of marketing require further investment. The top tools we recommend are:
- Google Analytics
As you can see, there are plenty of essential tools you need to grow your business. Apart from the ones we've mentioned, there are likely more that specifically cater to your industry. And you'd be wise to prioritize them in your research. The final advice we have for you is to consult with your employees before getting any specific tools. After all, they'll be the ones using them. They could even have some previous experience that may help you pick the right ones.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The SmartBiz® Small Business Blog and other related communications from SmartBiz Loans® are intended to provide general information on relevant topics for managing small businesses. Be aware that this is not a comprehensive analysis of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide specific recommendations to you or your business with respect to the matters addressed. Please consult legal and financial processionals for further information.
About the Author
Jonathan Hill worked as a business manager for over 20 years. He now focuses on running his own business and providing helpful tips to aspiring business managers, either through blog posts or personal consultations.