Every business relies on technology to keep it running smoothly. Here at Flex Business Capital we’ve sifted through software and app options until we’ve found a good blend of tools that keep our productivity and profitability high. Here’s what’s in our tech toolbox, as well as some options we’re considering using that may help you manage your business.
Salesforce – Nobody does CRM (customer relationship management) like Salesforce. They’ve created a powerful way to build relationships with customers through a simple interface. We use it for every stage of the client cycle – from website lead through contract, then we continue to support clients in every stage of their business whenever they need financing. Integrate Salesforce’s marketing, sales and customer service platforms to fully optimize your business relationships.
DocuSign – The industry leader in virtual document signing makes our online paperwork transactions simple, fast and legal. We can send contracts instantly and securely to anyone. The software also allows us to use templates so we don’t have to recreate the wheel and provides an easy solution to following up by email when paperwork hasn’t been viewed or signed yet.
COMMUNICATION & CALENDAR
Microsoft Outlook – Outlook is our preferred email communication and calendaring tool. So many people use it that it is easy to sync up. We appreciate the robust navigation panes so every option we need is right in front of us. Whether we’re scheduling emails, setting up meetings, sharing calendars or just replying to questions, Outlook is always open.
JivoChat – This live chat software is on our website allowing us to quickly answer visitors’ questions and helping to turn site visitors into leads. JivoChat is a powerful agents app with a simple interface and makes it possible to handle hundreds of live chats daily. It works on desktop or mobile – so even when we’re out, we’re in and can connect with leads on our phones. JivoChat also works on Facebook, Telegram and Viber.
QuickBooks Online – QuickBooks makes life easier by organizing and simplifying financial stuff. There are lots of ways to use it, within the company, within the company and with your accountant or simply have your bookkeeper and accountant take care of everything within the software. QuickBooks has thought through all the details and guides you through the process of tracking financial progress effectively. The QuickBooks invoicing option can make invoicing painless as it provides templates and a recurring payment option which is perfect for businesses where services are paid off in installments. Invoicing with QB let’s customers decide how to pay through bank transfer, credit card or Apple Pay.
NETWORKING / SOCIAL MEDIA
LinkedIn – Choosing the social media platform that works for your customers is key. For us, the right option is LinkedIn. We use it to connect with prospects and referral sources, as well as grow our network.
Google Analytics – Every online toolbox has to include Google Analytics. Google Analytics can be intimidating and overwhelming, but by focusing on just a few areas you can learn valuable, profitable insights without losing your mind in big data. Check out which content on your site is the most popular, trends in website traffic, how visitors find your site, where your leads are coming from, and which ads give you the greatest return on investment. Understanding these stories can help you create content and campaigns that are more successful.
Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) is another great tool from Google that really helps your site get seen online. Upload your sitemap, check for website problems and mobile usability and get better rankings in Google from the dashboard of info about your website.
WordPress– “WordPress powers 28% of the internet.” That’s the tagline on their homepage and for us that incredible statistic was enough to make us choose them. They’ve got plan options from Free to Business level and offer a wide range of services, like unlimited storage, unlimited premium and business themes, Google Analytics support and the ability to remove the WordPress branding. Plus their email and live chat support and the WordPress user community is unparalleled. If you have a question, someone else has had that question, too, and there is documentation to help you get through it.
Divi – Divi simplified our website creation as it is a drag and drop visual builder with 20+ pre-made templates. We chose a template that worked for our business, then easily customized the look with the mix and match content elements. Divi is a WordPress theme from Elegant Themes and is definitely the simplest theme we’ve ever used.
Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress – Everyone knows SEO is critical, but to apply the best practices to every website page and post isn’t easy to remember when you’re running a non-SEO business. So we rely on Yoast SEO Plugin to remind us of all the SEO pieces we need to fill out. Yoast SEO Plugin helps with meta titles, snippets, breadcrumbs, keywords, readability check, internal linking suggestions, permalinks, sitemaps, and many other SEO items running in the background that we don’t even want to know about! We’re big fans of this plugin. Yoast SEO has a free option and a Premium version.
With new and improved software and apps constantly being developed, our tools of the trade will morph. To keep ourselves grounded we ask these questions when evaluating new software and apps: How does this new software compare to what we currently use for this area of our business? Are the advantages of the new software necessary or niceties? What would the transition to new software cost in resources (e.g. time, money, training, setup, consultants)? Does the software’s benefits merit the cost to change? Knowing that we’ve done our due diligence makes the decision and transition easier and keeps our techie toolbox well-managed and focused on growing our business.
Bjorn Peterson is the Owner of Flex Business Capital. Flex Business Capital offers small businesses factoring financing to solve cash flow problems without debt, so they can focus on growth and success. Apply for funding for your company here.