7 Must-Have Productivity Tools for SMBs in 2017
Productive people register outputs for the time they spend working. This is the key difference between getting work done and simply doing work. However, productivity in the workplace can be greatly reduced if employees spend hours on logistical and repetitive tasks like locating equipment they need to get their work done. Fortunately, there are a number of productivity tools for project management, accounting, human resource management and asset tracking that help SMBs organize their workplace for greater efficiency, productivity and better time management.
Below are my picks for top 7 productivity-boosting tools every SMB should opt for. These are proven solutions that many famous entrepreneurs recommend.
1. EZOfficeInventory – Asset Tracking Software
Modern offices are equipped with a multitude of assets ranging from IT equipment to office stationery. However, in many offices there are no automated management solutions to track the location, ownership, condition and availability of these tools. In fact, 30% of all businesses are not fully aware of all the assets they own, where they are situated, or indeed who has access to them. This means that employees have a hard time locating and using equipment, and often experience project delays due to equipment breakdowns.
In order to overcome asset management woes and save costs, it is necessary for SMBs to adopt an efficient asset tracking solution. EZOfficeInventory.com is one of the best asset tracking solutions out there – with over 18000 companies using it. The software enables offices to seamlessly manage and organize all their assets and equipment from asset procurement to eventual retirement. In addition to tracking assets and their maintenance but it also sends automated alerts that ensure that asset shortages, equipment breakdowns and asset availability clashes do not hamper office workflows and productivity. Additionally, the extensive reporting features within the software provide SMBs with valuable insights on their assets allowing them to execute better asset procurement, disposal, maintenance and usage decisions.
2. Google Drive – Document Management and Collaborative Creation
If you are still creating and storing your documents offline and sharing them as the need arises, there’s a chance you are losing valuable time just having to send, request and update documents.
Google Drive is the best productivity tool for document management and collaborative editing that almost every office needs. Cloud Computing has become the go-to place for businesses to store their data. The online drive stores all your files in one place enabling you to access them from any location. With all your documents in one place, employees no longer need to create duplicate data on separate hard drives or locations. This ensures that only assigned and relevant employees can access, edit, comment and share ideas on a single copy of a document. This reduces the effort and time spent on making copies of that document offline and then gathering pieces of information in one. Google drive makes creating documents and collaborating with other team members a breeze.
3. Quickbooks – Accounting Software
Managing finances is a tedious task that often leaves even the best of accountants in frustrating situations. Around 64.4% SME owners use an accounting software to help them handle their finances. One of the most popular choices for accounting software out there is Quickbooks. Quickbooks streamlines and optimizes budgeting and cash flow management for businesses. It has a proven track record when it comes to accounting software and offers the perfect balance between an easy-to-use interface and sophistication for professional accountants.
The software also integrates with your bank accounts to download and categorize transactions. With Quickbooks, you can easily generate financial reports, automate pictures’ uploads of your bills, generate professional invoices, process payrolls and accept online payments. All this with the added ability to add your accountant to the system simplifies account management and saves both time and money. Make sure you aren’t spending too much time doing the grueling number crunching and using Quickbooks to considerably improve your productivity.
4. Slack – Messaging App for Teams
Collaboration plays a vital part in increasing workplace productivity. Communicating with co-workers to coordinate efforts and learn from fellow workers is key to getting things done faster and better. However, coordinating with employees scattered across offices and locations is a challenging task. Fortunately, things have been made easier and smoother with the use of cloud technology.
Slack is a leading team communication software that provides an excellent platform for communication within the workplace, different work locations and businesses. With it, businesses can create messaging groups according to their projects, have private and public conversations, video calls and conferences with fellow employees. The best part about Slack is that it logs previous conversations keeping employees updated about conversations between teams leading to a reduction in emails and more effective meetings. At various occasions, it has been quoted as the ‘email killer’. Both small and large businesses are using the software to simplify communication within teams and increase their productivity including NASA and SurveyMonkey. In 2015, 32% of respondents in a survey reported that Slack helped them increase their productivity by 20 – 40%.
5. Trello – Project Management Solution
When it comes to productivity it is important for employees to have clear goals. Keeping track of all the little things that need to be done can often detract from the target goals. Without a proper system for project management deadlines may be overlooked or projects may be left in pending due to communication delays. Using Trello for project and task management enables teams to coordinate and organize tasks required for projects smoothly.
Trello users can leave comments on project lists, assign tasks, tag co-workers, set project deadlines, share files (also the most common reason to use project management tools) and create checklists for things that need to be completed for one project. Therefore, the software enables you to make visually coherent boards that contain information about all your projects and tasks. Additionally, the software is primarily free and easy-to-use. With Trello you can easily increase office productivity by ensuring that your to-do lists are both collaborative, comprehensive and effective. Trello not only lets you get work done faster but also improves the deliverable quality of your products – also concluded in a survey.
6. Freshdesk – Customer Relationship Management Software
Providing customers with the best possible support is always a priority for businesses looking to establish their credibility with clients. Individually replying to queries on all the multiple channels of communication open to your customers is time-consuming and ineffective. The CRM software market is valued $24 billion globally, targeting over 57% of the marketing executives using best known CRM tools.
Freshdesk is one such cloud-based software that is benefitting from the increased demand for an automated software solution. It is user-friendly and integrates with all your channels of communication i.e. emails and support chats to allow you to check and respond to all your customer queries from one platform. Additionally, it supports the use of multiple agents who can respond to the multitude of tickets and customer queries making it faster and more efficient to handle customer responses and interactions.
7. BambooHR – HR Management Software
If anyone needs to get rid of the overloaded cabinets, multiple desktop folders and spreadsheets, it’s human resources. Human resources are often overwhelmed by data on employee benefits, payrolls, and leave records. Finding talented employees is one of the biggest challenges faced by SMBs. Mismanagement when it comes to hiring new employees and managing existing employees can push talented employees away. Of course, it doesn’t help that around 66% of SMBs are not familiar with HR management solution software.
BambooHR provides a centralized system to manage all your employee records and allows you to easily track employee leaves and manage time-off requests. Its excellent reporting tools allow you to get a clear picture of your human resources and automate the process of salary transfers, increments and promotions. Additionally, BambooHR offers an excellent applicant tracking system that simplifies the hiring process and helps you identify the best talent. This HR management software will make sure you stay on top of your human resource management and efficiently manage your employee lifecycle.
Software productivity tools can help automate logistical processes and streamline office workflows to save time, frustration and money. The above-mentioned productivity tools for equipment management, HR, customer, finance, document, communication and project management are must-haves for SMBs that want to overcome hindrances and boost business growth and increase profits.
If you feel there is a tool that has helped you achieve higher ROI, do share your experience with us.