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5 Types of Tools Every Online Business Should be Using in 2017

5 Types of Tools Every Online Business Should be Using in 2017

Today’s business owners have access to powerful tools that entrepreneurs of the past could have only dreamed about. But there’s a difference between having access to a tool and actually using that tool. If you don’t know what you need, then you’re missing out on a chance to thrive.

Here are five categories of tools to get you started:

1. CRM Software

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. “As its name suggests, CRM software was originally designed to help businesses build and maintain relationships with new and existing customers,” explains Sara Angeles of Business News Daily. “Today, however, CRM software has evolved from a simple contact management system into a robust tool that lets you manage sales, marketing, point-of-sale (POS), accounting, vendor and other types of operational data, all in one easily accessible solution.”

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From a cost-effective standpoint, CRM software is one of the soundest investments you’ll ever make. Most platforms are all-encompassing tools that can streamline a number of complicated tasks and help businesses better engage customers at each stage of the conversion funnel.

2. Social Media Automation Tools

You know social media is important, but you don’t want to spend hours of time on it each and every day. This is why adopting the right suite of social media automation tools can help you in a very practical way.

The great thing about social media automation tools is that many are free. The problem is that there’s also a lot of fragmentation. It’s often necessary to piece together three or four different tools in order to automate all of the pressing tasks you’re faced with. Choose wisely and you should be able to put together a good solution.

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3. Inventory Tracking Software

Do you have inefficient business operations and an overall lack of productivity? For businesses that move lots of product and possess hundreds or thousands of unique SKUs (stock keeping units) in their warehouses, inventory tracking software can be a game changer.

“Items collecting dust on a shelf or no stock at all does your business little good,” industry expert Paul Trujillo reminds businesses. “Too much inventory is a waste of money and too little is a missed opportunity. Inventory tracking software helps gather as much information as possible so you are tuned into your inventory needs and can meet customer demand in a timely manner.”

4. Payroll Software

In the early stages of a business, payroll may not be a complicated matter. But as your company grows, things get a bit more complicated. Instead of hiring a full-time payroll manager, opting for payroll software can be a cost-effective choice.

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With payroll software, you can streamline payroll processing, file and pay payroll taxes, report new hires to the government, manage paid time off, simplify taxes, develop reports, and more. It’s really a no-brainer.

5. Accounting Software

Nobody likes to think about accounting. The idea of crunching numbers and making sure everything lines up is enough to ignite anxiety in the most even-keeled business owner. Thankfully, the right accounting software can solve this point of friction.

According to Angeles, choosing the right small business accounting software comes down to three questions: How much are you willing to pay? Why do you need accounting software? Which features does your business require? Answer these questions and you should be able to narrow your options down to a few reputable vendors.

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Equip Your Business for Success

A hunter is only as good as his weapons, an artist only as good as her brushes, and a business owner only as successful as his software. In 2017, every modern business needs to be equipped with contemporary tools that make it easier to remain productive in a competitive marketplace.

Start with these five and see where they take you.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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Anna Johansson

Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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