Group of co-workers collaborating, Maryland, Delaware

Owning a small business can be one of the most difficult and time-consuming careers to have. You’re the manager, the accountant, the maintenance man, the HR rep, and the face of the company. With so much going on, how can you make time to work on the business while you are being pulled in so many different directions in the business? You might wonder why the competition in town seems to have it all figured out. You ask yourself questions like “What are they doing that I’m not?” “Do they know something that I don’t?” “Maybe they’re just better at this than I am…” If these thoughts are running through your head, you’re not alone. If you want to get a leg up on the competition, you need to start working smarter.

Successful business owners understand that delegation is key to operating a successful enterprise. In today’s world, that means finding appropriate business management tools for your business and using those tools to enhance your office’s productivity and efficiency. If you haven’t been using management tools already, there are thousands of them out there to choose from. Here’s our top five list of tools that will help you take your business to the next level.

 

1. DropboxCreative partners working on computer at their desk

Dropbox is a safe and easy way for you to store files, docs, photos, and videos in one space that’s easily accessible from any device. Once stored in Dropbox, files can be edited, updated, and shared with others. Dropbox also allows multiple users to edit the same document at the same time, always updating and displaying the latest version to each user.

Cost: Free

Website: Dropbox

Best for: Businesses that share documents and files remotely with employees or clients

 

2. IFTTT

Don’t worry, you’re not out of touch if you don’t know what the acronym IFTTT means. “If This, Then That” is one of the greatest tools that no one knows about. IFTTT enables you to connect and automate processes that otherwise wouldn’t work together. Here’s an example of a process or “recipe” you can implement: If the motion detector in my business goes off after 10 pm, then I will get an alert on my iPhone. There are many ways you can use IFTTT to increase efficiently in your business and everyday life, especially if you already utilize Smart products.

Cost: Free

Website: IFTTT

Best for: Best for businesses that rely heavily on processes and business owners who can’t live without their Amazon Echo

 

3. Intuit QuickBooksCustomer at counter of coffee shop pays using touch screen

In addition to their well-known accounting software, QuickBooks provides solutions that help small business owners streamline invoicing and payment collection. Solutions like this are a dime a dozen, but QuickBooks offers a couple features that set them apart from the rest. First, QuickBooks allows you to customize invoices with your business colors and logo. Their software also enables your clients to make online payments, making the payment process easier for clients and more efficient for you.

Cost: $5 – $30 per month

Website: Intuit QuickBooks

Best for: Businesses-to-business transactions and businesses with eCommerce sites

 

4. DataConnect

DataConnect sums up what they do perfectly: “How eCommerce integration should be. Quick. Painless. And not your problem.” Need a little more information? Just go to the “No, really. What does it do?” tab on their Q&A page and you will find this explanation: “DataConnect was built to reduce in-house development efforts for eCommerce platform connectors to a minimum and enable you to concentrate on your core business. No more dealing with platform-specific authorizations, authentications, data formatting or de-serializations. Increase your number of available shopping platforms without having to write custom integrations each time. Scale without additional development. It’s how eCommerce integration should be. Quick. Painless. And not your problem.” We love DataConnect, but we really love their sense of humor.

Cost: Free trial / Prices vary

Website: Dataconnect

Best for: Businesses with eCommerce platforms that are seeking superior customer service

 

5. ClockItman using mobile phone in street, checking watch

If you’re still using paper time cards to track your employees’ attendance, upgrading to a digital tracking system will save you time and money. ClockIt is a cloud-based workforce automation tool that works seamlessly for businesses that employ on-site and off-site employees. If your employees are coming and going throughout the day, they can easily access ClockIt via their mobile phone to record their hours, lunch breaks, etc. For businesses in the transportation industry, ClockIt offers GPS tracking services making mileage reimbursement easy for employers to track and calculate.

Cost: Free trial / $8 – $100 per month

Website: ClockIt

Best for: All businesses, especially those with employees who are on the road

 

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