Time and money are two of the most precious commodities for startups. Half of small business owners say one of their biggest challenges is not having enough time to get everything done, an eVoice survey found. Meanwhile, 90 percent of small businesses fail because of cash flow problems, according to Dunn and Bradstreet. The technology tools you select can play a big role in your success at managing both these issues. Here are some online office automation solutions that can help your startup use time more efficiently while saving money.
Time Management Tools
Managing your time efficiently is easier when you plan and track how you’re spending it. The RescueTime app helps you and your team do just that. RescueTime lets your administrators and team members see how much time they’re spending on productive tasks versus how much time they’re spending on non-productive activities, such as email and meetings. It also includes a feature that lets your team members block virtual distractions for a half hour or other set intervals in order to focus on the task at hand. You can try the personal version of RescueTime for free to see if it’s worth your time to invest in the premium version, which starts at $15 per user and includes a 14-day free trial.
One of the most essential pieces of office software for any business is a productivity suite for handling functions such as word processing and spreadsheet management. Microsoft Office is the leading productivity suite, but for startups on a budget, a less expensive alternative is Google Apps. Google Apps includes basic productivity suite functions for the creation of documents, spreadsheets and other types of files, and it also integrates with other features such as Gmail, Google Hangouts, calendar tools, social networking tools and cloud storage. Pricing starts at $5 per user per month for 30GB of storage and $10 for unlimited storage with additional features.
Having a good backup system is crucial to protect your business from losing all your vital data to an emergency. SOS Online Backup lets you schedule automated, secure cloud backups daily, monthly and weekly, allowing you to restore data in the event of accidental deletion. Pricing starts at $10 per user or device per month for 50GB of storage, covering up to five computers.
Customer Relationship Management Software
Managing your customer contact list effectively is the key to making sales and generating revenue. Customer relationship management (CRM) software is designed to assist you with tasks such as storing customer contact information, tracking sales activity and sharing customer support issues between team members. A CRM tool suitable for startups is Zoho. Zoho gives you and your team an overview of your sales cycle and pipeline, so you can see where your hottest leads are and focus your sales activity, increasing your efficiency and lowering your costs per acquisition. Zoho integrates with Google Apps. It’s free for up to 10 users, with the standard edition starting at $12 a month per user.
The most crucial technological tool for keeping your business profitable is accounting software. The most popular accounting solution for small businesses is QuickBooks. The online version of QuickBooks lets you access your accounting data from your mobile device and perform additional functions, such as sending invoices, receiving payments online and tracking expenses. Pricing starts at $12.95 per month with a discount price of $10.36 available for the first twelve months, following a 30-day free trial.