Running a start-up is a time consuming and, frankly, hectic venture. You have to wear many hats at the same time. You have to be the CEO, CMO, office manager (if you have an office), and more.
If you are an e-commerce business, check out our list of services to build your website. Luckily, there are many pieces of software that help make it much easier to run your business from all aspects. Here are 12 essential pieces of software that can make running your e-commerce business easier.
Accounting & HR
A lot of times as an entrepreneur or designer, accounting falls to the bottom of your list of priorities though it should be toward the top. QuickBooks is a simple tool to use.
It offers small businesses analytics to manage revenue, profit, expenses, etc., Quickbooks can run payroll for your employees, as well as pay and manage your bills. One of the most helpful tools is their invoicing software, which helps you get paid quickly and on time.
If you’re looking for a place to handle your human resources in one place, Zenefits can handle everything from payroll to benefits to vacation. It allows you to have a single system for onboarding employees, who will then be able to access their info with a username and password.
It can also handle compliance and commissions as well.
If you’re just looking for a software to handle your payroll, Paychex is an easy solution. In addition to payroll, it can also handle human resources, insurance, benefits, and more.
It can also help you with tax preparation and accounting.
Marketing & Analytics
When you’re starting your brand, social media is going to be one of your main marketing tools. It’s free, easy to use, and can help you reach millions of people.
However, sometimes social media gets hard to manage when you’re managing multiple platforms. Hootsuite is a great way to not only manage your social media content, but also discover new content to include on your feeds. The program will also allow you to respond to followers, and schedule out nearly all your social media accounts.
Despite the rise of social media, email is still an incredibly powerful marketing tool. MailChimp‘s “freemium” pricing model is ideal for startups. If your mailing list is less than 2,000, it is free to use the software.
MailChimp allows you to easily compose emails using drag-and-drop templates. You can also build sign-up and pop-up forms for your website. It provides tools such as A/B testing and analytics so that you can get the most out of your email marketing.
Advertisement is only useful if it leads to conversions. That’s what makes AdRoll a great tool.
The online shopping cart is abandoned 70% of the time. That means that you are losing 70% of potential business. AdRoll uses analytics to retarget ads to help convert leads into sales. However, what makes AdRoll even more powerful is that it can also share ads on other, targeted platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and mobile.
For more, check out real advice on building your online store.
Growing your business begins with knowing your customers. For that reason, Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool for startups.
The software is able to help you understand how your consumers interact with your business online. More importantly, it can put a dollar value on your customers and their behaviors. It gives you great insight into the effectiveness of email campaigns, SEO, landing pages, site search, etc.
On top of that, you can get insights on your customers which will help convert leads into sales.
For more on using Google Analytics, check out this post on tracking reports.
Of course, no e-commerce business is complete without an e-commerce platform. And for that we recommend Shopify.
In addition to hosting your domain, they supply hundreds of different templates that are customizable so that you can make sure your website fits your brand identity.
However, what separates it from other e-commerce platforms, is your ability to fulfill order, manage your inventory, and create different sales channels right from the dashboard. Not only that, you can track sales and growth trends, handle your marketing, and payments.
Data protection should be a huge priority for you and your business. Google Drive is a great way to store and protect your files.
For free, you can store up to 15 GB of documents. It also allows you to easily share your slides, documents, and spreadsheets as well. Using cloud storage offers other benefits as well like collaboration, easy access from different computers, and recovery.
Dropbox could be another option if you use video and photos more heavily.
When you’re just starting out, you are going to be meeting with a lot of people. And we really mean a lot.
Sometimes you don’t have the time to research who you are meeting. That’s where Charlie comes in. Before your meeting, Charlie sends you a one page summary of the person you’re meeting with. The report includes everything from their latest company news, your common connections, their company stats, how their competition is performing, and even common interests. Charlie can help you make the best first impression possible.
As your team grows, it is important to stay in constant communication, even if you’re not all working in the same room. Slack is a great messaging app for business since it allows you to organize chats by channels, which helps you organize conversations. You can also speak in direct messages to co-workers and create groups.
It’s a powerful tool that can also be used to send documents, search your chat archives, and keep in constant contact with your team. Slack also has a mobile app so you can keep connected on the go.
Not only is communication important as your team grows, keeping track of the progress of tasks is integral as well! Trello is an excellent way to create a workflow for the various tasks you and your team might be tackling.
Your Trello is organized into boards, then channels, and then cards for individual tasks to give you the most control over the organization of your workflow. Most importantly you can add team members to each card, have disussions right on the card, and even add individual steps to them so you can check them off as you go.
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