Famous cosmetics entrepreneur Mary Kay Ash once said that ‘People are a company’s greatest asset’. She wasn’t wrong, but it’s also frequently said that workers are only as good as their tools. Small businesses, especially at the moment, are often working on the narrowest of margins, which is why they need to be sure that they have the best tools at their disposal with which to do the job. Here we look at some of the tools that we think SMEs (small and medium enterprises) might find useful.
Accounting for many businesses is a necessary evil. It’s time-consuming and can be somewhat taxing (ha!), especially if you don’t have a particularly good grasp of figures. Add to that (ha!) the fact that a good accountant can be expensive, and that most small businesses don’t have the luxury of a dedicated finance department, and you can begin to see how accounting can pose a problem. There are plenty of accounting programs that can help you out in this regard, but our favourite is Xero. It’s easy to use and has a staggering array of features, from the standard invoicing, payroll, expenses and financial reports to more complex tasks like handling foreign accounts, asset depreciation schedules and retail logistics.
Email Checker is a very useful tool that verifies emails without having to actually send an email. The beauty of this tool is that you can bulk upload several email addresses in a csv file to help ensure your email marketing lists are updated. The tool also has a smart api that can be integrated into external websites. Users often find people they want to outreach to on LinkedIn but don’t have their email address but with this tool, you can try a few combinations to work out their email address. Once you get a green thumbs-up, you’re good to go and can outreach as you wish.
Wunderlist – task management
When an application receives rave reviews from such tech luminaries as Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Mashable and TechCrunch, we’re hardly going to argue. Wunderlist isn’t the only task manager available, and when they’re all fundamentally glorified to-do lists there’s very little to choose between any of them. It’s really down to personal preference, but this one is our favourite at Kalexiko. Whether it’s shopping lists, sandwich runs, birthday reminders or just sorting your life out, Wunderlist is convenient, customisable and easy to use from a mobile or a computer.
Goodprint – business cards
When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Which is why, without wishing to mention any names, the ‘value’ that you supposedly get from companies offering 1000 business cards for £2.50 etc is usually reflected in their actual quality when they arrive. Goodprint aren’t necessarily the cheapest, even though they do run some pretty insane offers now and then, but even their basic cards look and feel great. They also do letterheads, labels and other office stationery, but the real clincher here is how easy it is to use their interface for creating your own business card design. It stays on file too, so you can always get more or change the design in the future if necessary.
You wouldn’t believe how useful this is, especially in our line of work. Remote control is the term given to controlling a computer remotely, which is great for if we want to share ideas, demonstrate something to a client, deliver a live presentation or provide support. There are other practical applications for it too, like being able to use it as a virtual server for copying files to and from computers even when you’re not sitting in front of them. If this sounds worrying from a security standpoint then it shouldn’t do, as it requires permission from both computers in order for it to work.
At risk of putting ourselves out of a job here we’re going to recommend Pagemodo. With Facebook currently being the most popular social media platform for engaging with customers, you want your Facebook page to look as good as possible.
Pagemodo requires no knowledge of web development to use it, and it’s easy to add videos, maps, Twitter feeds, pictures and more to engage and impress your audience. Whilst their business packages do cost money, we think that it’s money well spent considering how powerful a tool it is.
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