Technology is one of the core elements of any business app, even if we are talking about businesses that appear to have nothing to do with technology. It is the element that keeps everything in sync and working optimally, but it is also one of the key aspects that will determine the scalability of your business.
For example, using a simple spreadsheet might be a good way to keep track of your business partners when you have 5 or 10 of them, but becomes a bit outdated when your business grows to work with hundreds of partners. Technology, both the hardware and the software, needs to be flexible and allow your small or medium-sized business app to grow, and while on the hardware part there’s a universal solution – the cloud, it’s the software part that can prove to be trickier, as there are countless options out there. Luckily for you, we’ve done the hard part of going through it all, so here are the top five apps that are helping small to medium-sized businesses in growing.
Trello is a great platform for keeping track of, well, everything. It’s the equivalent of a to-do list on steroids. What makes Trello an indispensable business app is the fact that it is a visual-based organizing system that’s easy, intuitive and straightforward to use for simple tasks and new users, but also very complex and powerful once you start getting familiar with it. Trello uses a multi-layer organization system, where you can create boards, which are big layers that contain everything; on each board you can create multiple lists, one for the current day, current week, next week, upcoming project, etc. – you get the idea. In each list, there are multiple cards, which can be anything from simple notes to checklists or even attached files. Add color-coded items and tags into the mix and you’ll discover that, once everything is set up correctly, Trello is a very efficient tracking method regardless of how much your business grows.
Zendesk is a platform that will allow your business to handle customer support more efficiently. You may not have a lot of inquiries or complaints when you’re a small company, but as you grow, so does your customer base, and it’s very important to keep each and every one of your customers happy. Zendesk provides an easy way for your customers to contact you about something, and the fact that it can integrate with email, social platforms and even phone can make the whole process fast and straightforward. When someone contacts you, a ticket is created, which will then be processed by someone you assign as a support agent. You can set up multiple accounts if you need to do so, but the price of the service will be higher, as it charges based on number of active accounts. The interface is simple yet powerful, and the agents have all the necessary information alongside the request, such as customer information and history, and can also reply with canned responses, which are useful for repetitive issues.
When running a small business, chances are you’ll want to be able to make a sale wherever you are, and this is where Square comes in. Square is a payment processor that turns your smartphone into a POS. Once everything is set up, just plug in the Square card reader and swipe your customer’s card – easy as that. There is no fixed-fee, but a small percentage is charged for each transaction, making it ideal to process small payments as well as larger ones.
Regardless of the field you work in, your business app will make use of some files and documents, and it’s important that you have everything at hand when you need them. Google Drive is the perfect cloud storage solution regardless of the size of your business, and the fact that it’s powered by one of the biggest companies out there allows you to rest assured that your files are in good hands. You can start out with a storage plan for a certain amount, and increase it once your needs change. There’s even a plan with unlimited storage space.
Salesforce is a cloud-based platform that offers customized CRM solutions. It is one of the most popular CRM providers out there, and this is due to the fact that its products are highly customizable, adaptable and easy to integrate with other platforms. Although the base product is a CRM, Salesforce has powerful solutions for other business segments as well such as sales, marketing, analytics and everything in between. Whether you’re running a small business or an enterprise, Salesforce is the way to go.
This article is contributed by Jason Phillips, has a great interest in writing about technology and latest tech trends. He also works for Conosco.com which provides IT support in London and around the world for an existing team. If you would like to write for us, join eSoftload Community.