Life and Style

College 101: Essential Tools Your Business Needs to Grow

How many tools do you currently use in your business? Often, small businesses tend to err either on the side of "too many" or "none at all." This can make it difficult to find a balance for your entire organization. 

For small businesses that want to grow, it's important to incorporate useful tools that help you align your company strategy, achieve key results, and achieve your goal-setting metric of sustainable growth. Here are a few tools that can help. 

Outsourcing

As a small business owner, you may think you and your team members can do it all. If only that were true. From an e-commerce business to a marketplace vendor, almost every niche can benefit from some external help. Take the ecommerce business example, for instance. Chances are, you're focused on stretch goals of product sales for your online business. 

This probably means you're doing your own bookkeeping, even if you're not all that confident with financial statements, accounting software, sales tax, and monitoring cash flow. You could be missing a variety of key performance indicators in your ecommerce accounts. What if you decided to invest in ecommerce bookkeeping services that would allow you to achieve a better result financially in a smart, measurable way? Having a dedicated bookkeeper for your online business can make it easier to hit your ambitious goals and turn a profit. 

In the first week, your bookkeeper can review your credit card statements and bank accounts, as well as teach you some best practices for finances. Truly, an outsourced bookkeeper can be your ticket to growth and success

OKR Software

OKRs are known as objectives and key results, and they're about to be your best friends. OKRs help you assess and set goals on an individual level, in addition to tinkering with company strategy and more ambitious goals that span your entire organization. The OKR framework uses a set of key results and monitors them in near real-time. Sometimes, you'll use weekly check-ins and performance reviews. Other times, you'll be looking at personal goals over the span of an entire quarter. 

OKRs work best by incorporating an OKR system that can help you streamline the OKR process. If you're juggling stretch goals, individual level goals, and ambitious goals on a company-wide scale, the use of OKRs through an OKR system can especially help put your business in a great place. The ideal OKR system will have an intuitive interface that will make it easier to track all of your progress. If you're already thinking of some strong company OKRs for growth, an OKR system is what you need. 

A CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) is more important now than ever. In many ways, the customer experience is the new brand loyalty. Even if you're running an online store that's little more than a shopping cart and privacy policy page, having a CRM platform on your side can help you increase leads and acquire better results when it comes to your profit and bank account. 

CRM software helps you track every stage of the sales funnel, from initial contact to a completed sale. You can set up nurture campaigns for returning customers to track their progress. You can also keep a balanced scorecard of which leads and campaigns are progressing most effectively. CRM software works almost on an individual level, but still incorporates some of those previously mentioned company OKRs to succeed. 

While these are three strong tools that you should have in your arsenal, it's commonly recommended to have somewhere around 10 tools per organization. Whether it's OKR software that tracks key results or an outsourced bookkeeper, you can always benefit from having the right tool handy.

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