When running a small business, there are many things a manager has to juggle, and unfortunately, it is easy for a ball or two to be dropped. If the business is mostly run remotely, managing work that is going on in and out of the office can be difficult.
However, there are many tools that a business can take advantage of to keep track of all of the action. The best part is that most are available for free or for a nominal fee. By leveraging these tools and getting the most out of them, keeping track of things such as accounting and work files is a breeze.
Here are five tools that every business with workers who work remotely absolutely need for success.
Dropbox is a cloud-based storage system where all of a company’s documents can be stored securely in one place. Dropbox does not just host documents, but also photos, videos, and music. It can be accessible on any platform, including a computer, tablet, or cell phone.
Dropbox is the perfect tool for team projects because it is easy to access and then share a document or folder with one person or everyone on the whole team. Others can edit and contribute to it also. With all parties in a company using Dropbox any file that could be needed is right at their fingertips.
It is important to get all employees on the same page when choosing a tool that will help everyone collaborate effectively. Slack cloud-based software is innovative in the way that it provides a secure, efficient collaboration platform. Organized into public and private channels (which are essentially chat rooms), groups or teams can easily communicate with each other without the use of email or instant messaging through other channels. Employees can drag and drop to share files with each other for easy access to work documents.
Slack also provides one-to-one messaging, so everyone can communicate with each other with no question as to which chat platform a co-worker uses. As was said before, Slack is very secure, safe, and free, and it gets everyone using the same software for important interoffice or remote communication.
Trello is an amazing, free, web-based software that is perfect for project management. It is very visually oriented and user-friendly. First, users create a board, which represents a project that needs to be done or an event to be planned. The creator of the board can invite all team members to use the same Trello board so that everyone can collaborate in one place. Lists are then added to the board. These can be labeled in ways such as “To Do”, “In Process”, “For Review”, and “Finished”. Cards are then created under the Lists.
Cards are used to represent tasks, ideas, deadlines, and they hold useful information. All users invited to the board can comment using the cards, add valuable information to the cards, and then move the cards around under lists (i.e. a project is reviewed and finished, so the card is moved from “For Review” to “Finished”). There is also a search function so that users can look for specific aspects of a project through the boards, lists, and cards and find what they need easily.
Trello is perfect for keeping a family’s busy schedule in order, keeping track of tasks for a large personal project, or collaboration for groups large and small. When users finish a project, the Trello board will provide a visual roadmap that will provide them satisfaction when they see the completed tasks.
ZipBooks is a free accounting software a small business can use to keep track of all business related accounts and expenses in one place. Employees can keep track of time worked so pay can be assessed. Customer billing can be automatically processed and invoices sent to clients on a regular schedule. Company expenses can be processed easily for reimbursement.
ZipBbooks allows business owners and operators to set up various accounts for their incoming and outgoing funds. The platform allows for businesses to have a login, and they can also provide their clients with a login so associates can always see the state of their account. ZipBooks also processes credit and debit card transactions so that customers can easily pay their bills online. With all of these free tools in one place there is no reason to use expensive accounting software or complicated spreadsheets to keep track the money flow.
Although not free, GotoWebinar is a reasonably priced software that allows any business to host secure presentations and seminars for employees or prospective clients.
GotoWebinar is highly customizable, with users able to display their company logo, use email templates to invite and remind employees to view upcoming webinars, and add surveys or handouts to webinars. The webinars can be practiced before final presentation, and up to six people in six different locations can participate face-to-face in one webinar. The webinars can be lived streamed, and recorded for later viewing. GotoWebinar includes a dashboard which provides real-time feedback on attendance and interest as a webinar is streaming. GotoWebinar is a wonderful way to bring people together who are not working in traditional settings for instructional presentations.
Running any business, large or small, is a challenge. When starting up a new business, it is not always ideal to have all employees in one workspace. Companies that have employees work remotely have many advantages as long as everyone is using the same tools to work towards the same goals.
Organizational tools such as Dropbox, Trello, and ZipBooks are vital for project and money management, as well as having secure virtual platforms to control work product. Communication software such as Slack and GotoWebinar keep everyone in the know as to what is necessary for specific projects, as well as business wide. By using these tools effectively, a company that operates remotely can thrive in the crazy world of startup life.