Software for Small Home Businesses
When you run a business from home, one of the coolest parts is setting up an infrastructure of software and hardware that you feel compliments what you are working on, how you like to work and add some value to what you do. You can take as long as you want to trial and work through different apps until you have found a streamlined process that works for you.
First thing is first. Take a look at everything you and your business do. Now, zone in on a few areas that you think could be bolstered by an automated process (or outsourcing), take a peek at perhaps some of your personal weaker areas like accounting, or filing and aim to get those processes dealt with asap.
If you have a large contact base and you want to be able to reach out to them all, effortlessly, then track what the outcome has been then you might want to take a look at Infusionsoft Complete. This version takes care of 10,000 contacts, so if that sounds a little above where you are you can look at their smaller, less complicated programs. Infusionsoft has the ability to live record a customer’s journey of interactions with your brand. It has a custom email campaign builder, which when coupled with the information about where they joined your campaign, live website data and any buying habit displayed will give you great information to retarget with. If that sounds a bit too much right now, then you can take a look at MailChimp a marketing automation platform. Over the last few months, MailChimp has stepped up its already spectacular game. It has easy to use templates, guides you how to tell the best story through your newsletters or blasts, once setup is as fully automated, and you focus simply on the creativity – it is also Facebook, Google and Instagram integrated – giving you some serious social data and reach. Great for those starting out in marketing automation.
For some reason, when we decide to go self-employed many of us forget that actually, it is probably better to have a fantastic software from the very start or hire someone to do it. And then, we wait till tax time is upon us before we do anything about it. Well, frankly this needs to be something you have in order very early one – because as much as we forecast what we ‘should’ earn over the first year of business, we can never be sure we won’t go flying over those estimates. Spend some time looking through professional tax software reviews so that you can get exactly what you need. The moment you start making and spending money on or through your business, you need to keep note of everything. Be vigilant with your accounts.
Social Media Management
Unless you want to outsource all of your work (and you might like to), then it will pay off big time to check out some of the automated systems available.
Hootsuite – extremely popular and with good reason. Many people who started dabbling in SM years ago will have used Hootsuite as their first management platform, and since then the improvements on already fantastic software have been plentiful. The free plan includes 3 social media profiles, 30 scheduled post spaces and it generates some leads for you. It is still popular be the interface isn’t as sleek and easy as some of the others.
Buffer – This is very slick looking, easy to manage, and offers some fabulous features. The ease of use puts it miles ahead of Hootsuite and the information it can give really adds to your campaigns. The Pro plan is probably going to work perfectly for you here. Managing up to 8 social media platforms, with 100 posts per social account, a regular monthly calendar, post filters, link shortening and RSS content curation feed for $15 per month make it pocket-friendly and almost perfect.
Social Pilot is likely more useful for an agency or a social media manager with more than one account to deal with – however, the tools are worth taking a look at. You can bulk schedule, collaborate with team members, it has a host of browser extensions and the interface is smooth and easy to use. The free plan, similar to Hootsuite has 3 connected profiles, 10 posts per day and 30 posts per queue allowance.
All of them have a trial period for their paid accounts, so take some time and find which one you like best. When it comes down to it is more about personal preference ad the tools and capabilities overlap heavily.
An alternative is to get yourself a virtual assistant to take care of it all for you.
One of the most beautiful thing about working from home is in most cases you might never actually have to leave the house – unless you really want to. So, in order to get work to clients in a timely fashion, you’re going to want to check out some document sharing software.
Dropbox makes it really simple to share huge files with clients and within your team, and the free account packs a punch in terms of storage.
But, where you might want to look here is Microsoft 365. If you are used to office 2013 and 2016 then this will be a smooth continuation for you and let’s face it, Microsoft Office is the most used software around the globe. 365 offers the opportunity to save things in a cloud space, where you can access the documents from anywhere, invite others to access them, view, edit, and add notes in real time.
There are alternatives to everything mentioned above, and you should work through a few different software types to find what works best for you. Whatever you chose, make sure there is a download option for your data so that if you decide to switch you don’t lose anything that you have spent significant time on.