According to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, there are more than 460,000 small businesses in Wisconsin, making up over 99% of businesses throughout the state and employing around 1.3 million people. Owning a small business can be a rewarding, fun experience, but it takes commitment and hard work. While there are numerous benefits that come with running your own business — autonomy, flexibility, creativity, and control, for instance — there are also several elements of the job that are less than glamorous. Business ownership requires plenty of sacrifice and resilience, in addition to some tough losses at times.
One of the most pressing challenges small business owners face is keeping everything organized and running smoothly with minimal or no external aid, including finances, inventory, e-commerce, social media pages, and more.
recommended tools and apps to make small business owners more efficient
Accounting and finance
Most small business owners’ goal is to be profitable, which is why maintaining solid records of earnings and expenses is crucial. Accounting is one of the most tedious tasks involved with owning any type of business, but modern tools have removed at least a little of the stress. These user-friendly bookkeeping platforms give users access to their financial accounts all in one place and empower them to quickly draw up expense reports and manage invoices, billing, and payroll.
Social media management
With so many social networks available today — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest you name it — it can be draining to stay in the loop with all the new features and interface changes, let alone keeping your channels regularly updated with quality content. In recent years, social media marketing has become essential to running a successful small business. When juggling multiple channels at once, it’s smart to have a social media app that integrates all your pages into a single place, plus allows you to schedule posts in advance, analyze their performance, engage with customers, and more.
Content management systems
If your company has a website, be sure to keep the content updated as frequently as necessary. Consistent updates help your website rank higher in search engines. It also gives your customers a sense that you are taking the time to let them know about any new offerings and important announcements. While there is certainly no need to give your website a total makeover year after year, keeping things fresh can go a long way. A user-friendly content management system can make updates easy for anyone.
Tracking your website’s performance is also key, as these tools allow you to take a deep dive into metrics that matter, such as visits, clicks, and where users navigate throughout the site. Website analytic platforms allow you to monitor visitors’ behavior and can even help you make more informed decisions regarding what improvements to make to your pages.
If your small business employs a team of workers with various roles, responsibilities, locations, and schedules, managing everyone can be a challenge, especially with all that’s on your own plate. Along with organization, many innovative project management platforms on the market help boost productivity, collaboration, and creativity. They provide a visual way to see who is working on particular tasks, when projects are due, and next steps that must be taken to complete tasks on time and within budget.
If you sell products, having a trustworthy inventory management system can help you track stock, oversee transactions, and fulfill orders. And whether you sell your goods and services online, in-store, or both, there are several apps and tools that make your sales process run as smoothly as possible.
Having real-time access to important documents and media is a priority for many small business owners, especially those who are on-the-go and often need to share information immediately. Cloud-based file storage tools have the power to accumulate a multitude of records, photos, and more without the worry of losing valuable data. With file storage and sharing apps, you can grant different users access to files as well as collaborate with team members and clients.
While the above apps can save small business owners time, energy, and money, it’s still important to know you’re not fully alone in managing your daily operations. At Rural Mutual, we strive to ensure businesses of all shapes and sizes are protected with coverage that best fits their needs. To learn more about finding the best insurance coverage for your small business, contact your local Rural Mutual agent.