For the small business owner looking for a better way to drive sales, find new customers, and save time managing finances, there’s an app (or a suite of apps) for that. When it comes to technology use, small businesses run the gamut from old-school processes to fully optimized operations. There are those in the middle with a little tech savvy, but for the most part, studies show that small business owners aren’t taking advantage of technology to grow their businesses.
Four apps released recently, and designed specifically for small business, are helping small business owners cross that digital divide. The new apps help streamline everything from accounting and payments, communication with employees and customers, time management, and organization. For those looking to save time on daily tasks, increase efficiency so they can focus more on sales and customer acquisition, or just make life as an entrepreneur a little less hectic, one or more of these new apps can help.
Microsoft Office 365
Last month, Microsoft Office 365 announced its suite of three new apps to help small businesses engage customers, streamline marketing efforts, publish business information, and create professional invoices. Microsoft Connections, Microsoft Listings, and Microsoft Invoicing will be available to Office 365 Business Premium customers. Users will also have access to Office 365 Business Center, which gives them an end-to-end view of their business and a way to manage the suite of apps all in one place.
- Microsoft Connections allows users to create professional-looking email marketing campaigns with pre-designed templates for newsletters, announcements, or customer referrals. The app also makes it easy to manage mailing lists, track open rate, clicks, new sign-ups, and offer redemptions.
- Microsoft Listings will help business owners manage their listings on Facebook, Google, Yelp, and Bing; with the app they can update things like business hours and track ratings and reviews across all sites in one place.
- Microsoft Invoicing assists businesses in getting estimates and invoices out on time, tracking pending payments, as well as processing payments. A business owner can create professional-looking estimates and invoices, and the app works with PayPal as well as QuickBooks to sync online payments and customer data.
Salesforce Service Cloud
A recent overhaul to the Salesforce app Service Cloud is making it easier for the smallest businesses to manage customer concerns. Small companies without a designated customer service specialist or team of reps can now respond immediately to customer concerns via the mobile app. Service Cloud is configured to work with Salesforce’s Lightning framework that allows customer service agents to drag and drop tools from the Salesforce app store onto the desktop interface. Agents can also prioritize complaints, search records from outside data, and build macros to perform multiple tasks in one click, including automated customer service responses.
Zoho recently consolidated its apps for small business into an all-in-one suite of apps for small business owners that include more than 25 software applications as well as mobile apps. Business owners can use the suite for HR tasks, inventory management, CRM, payment solutions, and all aspects of operations. Zoho’s new pricing model is aimed at small business owners on a budget who want streamlined, integrated applications so they can spend more time focused on their core business.
Google launched its new recruiting and job applicant management app last month to help small business owners recruit top talent more efficiently. Google Hire is designed to work with G Suite, and integrates with Gmail, Google Calendar, and other apps. Using the app, business owners will save time finding talented applicants, scheduling interviews, and collaborating with hiring managers, while tracking the hiring process from start to finish for multiple candidates all in one place.