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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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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