Starting and running a small business requires an entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to cope with a wide range of obstacles that can impede your success. Adequate cash flow is almost always mentioned as one of the biggest obstacles in running a small business. Another challenge is staffing. Businesses that are just starting out may not have the resources to offer the same compensation as large competitors. Such a lack of resources can make it harder to find and hire the best employees.
Outsourcing complicated processes like payroll can help you avoid the time consuming record keeping necessary just to pay employees. Instead of worrying about calculating payroll taxes and preparing forms and reports for the government, you can use the time to concentrate on other aspects of your business. This is an example of one facet of business that hangs up small businesses, and absolutely shouldn’t with the internet on hand. There are so many online tools currently that it boggles the mind, so simply putting up with something that your business isn’t prepared for just isn’t smart. Use online tools to your advantage and help your small business succeed, whether it’s through outsourced payroll help, time management tools, or anything in between.
Getting Help Online
Whether you have an online store or you have a traditional retail store, you can take advantage of the many helpful software tools available on the Internet.
· Fonolo.com is an online tool that helps you save time when you make a phone call. It navigates those annoying automated phone systems that force you to listen to countless menus before being able to connect to the proper department. Whether it’s dealing with a banking issue, your credit card provider or the electric company, this tool can save you valuable minutes, or even hours, every day.
· TopCoder Direct is a new company that allows you to submit a specific request at their site for coding and creating a website or other online application. Interested parties can see how much you’re willing to pay for custom work and then present their qualifications and bid on the project. You then are free to choose the best fit for your project at a cost you determine in advance.
· Demand Base is a very useful tool that allows you to discover who’s visiting your website. The software analyzes visitor IP addresses and cross-references them with databases from Dun & Bradstreet and LexisNexis. You will get the company that the visitor is associated with and contact information that you can use to follow up with an email or phone call.
Small Business Collaboration Tools
It can get pretty difficult to manage all of your contacts and connections in the digital world. Having a well-organized platform or digital dashboard to access and evaluate your online presence is easy with OfficeMedium. Small businesses can develop live chat, check user profiles and create useful polls. Functionality is excellent, but there is a lack of mobile applications. Basecamp doesn’t quite have the same great interface design, but they make up for it with more than a dozen mobile applications. These companies are always evolving and getting better. Using small business collaboration tools like these or others can reduce costs and dependency of buying expensive software or having an IT department.
Small Retail Shops
Not every business sells online. Bakeries and barbershops are examples of small brick and mortar businesses that also need tools to improve their business. Some inexpensive ways to advertise and market for such businesses include handing out flyers and business cards, offering a free demo, writing an expert column and creating a contact list where you can send targeted offers or sales literature to previous customers.
Economists agree that small businesses are the biggest job creators and it’s important that they can grow and thrive. Small business owners can help assure their success by taking advantage of both traditional and online tools to help promote their businesses. Being smart and working hard can and will overcome financial obstacles to small business success.