Posted by Pamela Swift in Operations
The world of business has changed dramatically over the last decade. No longer is the 9-to-5 routine the norm and more and more people provide services in freelance positions or run small businesses on their own or with just a few employees. These changes have made a big difference in how people run their businesses and the tools they use to get the job done.
These days there’s an app, an online tool, or another small business waiting in the wings to help you make your business a success. Whether it’s a communication channel geared toward remote work staff or simple ways to accept credit cards for payment via a smartphone, the people on the other side of the digital world are continuously creating ingenious ways to help businesses run better, faster, and smarter.
If you’re a business owner and want to break away from some of the traditional models we’re all used to then consider some of these tools that might take your business to a new level.
Managing Expense Reports and Travel
If you or any of your employees incur a number of travel-related expense reports during the course of the quarter or fiscal year then you know how frustrating it can be to keep track of receipts, mileage, and other travel-related expenses.
Enter Expensify. This app allows users to keep track of expenses by integrating with other apps, such as Uber, and allows users to scan receipts and send them to the appropriate person in an instant. It also integrates with airlines, rental car companies, and hotel chains to automatically integrate expenses in real time. This is probably the best app available for expense tracking and, again, it’s perfect if your business requires frequent travel.
Mobile Payment Systems
Small businesses and businesses that conduct most of their work outside the office have previously struggled to accept credit cards for payment while on the go. Without a standard POS system and credit card reader it used to be almost impossible to accept payment in any form other than cash or check, both of which are inconvenient, especially for accounting purposes.
Today companies like Square and many others offer credit card readers that attach to your smartphone or tablet so you can accept credit cards no matter where you are. Some of these apps can also integrate with your inventory system and other accounting tools you use to make the payment process of your business much easier to manage. Square might be the most well-known tool, but other mobile payment processors include PayPal Here, LevelUp, and Spark Pay.
One of the main tasks of a freelancer or small-business owner is invoicing. This can become very cumbersome if you have a large number of clients and even worse when clients don’t pay within the contracted time. Taking the time to chase down payments takes time away from work that does pay and leaves many freelancers in a bind. Hiring legal services is often too cost prohibitive, yet losing the money owed can be devastating.
Many companies are turning toward invoice factoring to handle this very issue. An invoice factoring company essentially buys your outstanding invoices freeing up revenue instead of having to wait until outstanding clients paid up. These companies do charge a percentage of the amount owed for their services but if you have a stack of overdue invoices it can be a small price to pay to collect what you’re owed.
If you find you spend too much time creating invoices, free yourself up with an invoice creation tool. Some of the top ones to consider are FreshBooks, Invoiced, and InvoicedTo.
More and more companies operate on a completely remote system and employees could be located in any part of the world. This is a rapidly increasing trend and team communication is critical in this very different type of business environment. Email isn’t always the best route when you have several members of team that need to communicate in real time.
Tools like Slack have become the top choice of remote businesses to ensure their communication needs are met. Within Slack it’s easy to create channels for certain employees who are working on a project so they can chat, files of all kinds are easily shared, and private messaging is also one of its features. According to Slack, the use of their service cuts internal emails in half and increases productivity by up to 30 percent.
Running and managing a business has never been an easy task but today we have thousands of tools at our disposal to make it just a bit easier. If you’re looking for simple ways to make your business grow consider some of these ways to make that happen.