Business technology can take many forms in the 21st Century, but it’s software and apps that will have the most impact on small businesses. Whatever you choose, the aim is to make aspects of running your business secondary to getting on with the job of meeting customers, spreading the word and promoting yourself.
Given that there’s a massive variety of both software and apps available in the marketplace, deciding which would be best for you can be tricky. Which is why we’ve come up with our top five:
1) QuickBooks. The makers of Intuit Pay, is available as either an app or software, QuickBooks is the cornerstone of all good business accountancy – and you don’t have to be an accountant to use it. Both versions of QuickBooks pack a real punch when it comes to organising your accounts. They offer you the chance to create invoices, financial reports, sales reports, tax reports and even view your cash flow in real time. In addition, if you’re not familiar with how to do these things it offers online tutorials to take you through the basics. The only real difference is that with the QuickBooks Online Mobile app you get to manage your accounts from wherever you are. For many entrepreneurs, the QuickBooks Online Mobile app is the better choice, as it offers greater flexibility; you don’t have to be in the office to check out what your cash is up to.
2) As the Internet and communications get faster and more streamlined, you need an operating system that can at least keep up. Windows 8 easily matches the fastest speeds on the ‘Net and is far more efficient than its previous counterparts. Windows 8 has built on what its predecessors have established, making it simpler to share documents, print out data and link to both your home or business networks, and all with a simple three-click process from wherever you are. Windows is the most popular operating system in the world and, while others might cost a bit less, it’s well worth keeping up with the Jones’s in this instance.
3) With the advent of cloud computing, file storage and data transfers have become the most important aspects of online activity. However, if you can’t afford to buy into a cloud network, Adobe Acrobat X Professional is as close as you can get. Traditionally, Adobe has only been used for file conversion. However, this software – also available as an app – takes it all to the next level. You can now convert a wide range of file types into PDF format and present them with easy-to-use layouts, themes and colours, making them easier to store and far easier to share. This software also makes it that much easier to build in audio and video, helping you to achieve that ultra-professional look.
4) Part of the problem for SMEs and entrepreneurs is navigating the Law – especially when it comes to creating contracts and other legally binding agreements. Quicken Legal Business Pro holds over 100 templates and forms that are legally compliant and easily tailored. Hiring a lawyer can be an expense too far and yet the need for legal advice is often on the horizon. This software gives you your own instantly accessible Legal Department, at the fraction of the cost of a real one.
5) Another often overlooked but vital part of getting any business off the ground and helping it to flourish is the business plan. Business plans aren’t rigid and inflexible; they should have the capacity to change and evolve alongside your company. Business Plan Pro Complete gives you advice, templates and everything else you need to know to create the plan you need.