Small Business Software Solutions

When it comes to small business, it’s never enough that you have the motivation and even the expertise. It’s also not enough that you have the right core staff who can help you manage the different aspects of your enterprise. You also need good small business software, which will allow you to automate your business, speed up the entire business process, and assure more accurate and fresh data that you can utilize.

Choices for Your Business

Today, there are a lot of small business software that you can select from, each having its own distinct functions. However, because of the uniqueness of your enterprise, not all will be useful. You only need to pick those that you think will be highly essential.

To give you some idea, you can start with the following small business software:

CRM Software. This software is important for contact management. You can easily manage information that is related to your customers, such as personal information. You can also easily determine the products and services they have purchased or enquired about, which then provide you data on what sells the most and what doesn’t amongst your line. Furthermore, you can keep track of your marketing campaigns generate reports and much more.

Lead Management System. When you are looking for prospects, you need to have a dependable lead manager. A lot of them are affordable, so you can get hold of them quite easily. The lead management system can help you keep track, score, and prioritize your leads. Also, lead managers can be customized according to the needs of the business and the industry you’re in.

Accounting Software. There are various types of financial applications that you could get for your business, but you may start with the accounting software since you want to determine the actual income and expenses of your business. However, unless you have solid or at least inkling of how accounting works, it would be ideal if you can pick an accounting program that is very easy to use. To know which will suit you it is advised you read online reviews.

E-mail Platforms. E-mail will be one of the best tools your business can have. You can market products and services through it, and you can communicate with your staff. With e-mail, you may want to stick with Microsoft Outlook, but remember that your valuable customer data will be housed in multiple computers and multiple email accounts.

It is important to understand that sometimes less is more. Try to implement the minimum number of solutions as they will require expensive integration to function effectively. If possible look for 1 sales system and 1 accounting system.

What is the Real Purpose of Your Small Business Website? Online Marketing Success

From the hundreds of small business owners that I have worked with to establish their online presence, I have found that the typical owner quickly gets caught up with trying to make their website ‘cooler’ than their competitors. They worry about color schemes, layouts and fancy mouseover effects. If that isn’t enough, they get bogged down with other perks like flash animations and javascripts that do more to entertain the visitor than they do to help the visitor.

When asked what the real purpose of their website is, the typical small business owner is hard pressed to provide an answer. Unable to answer that question, they often fail to answer how entertaining their website visitor will add value to the bottom line of their small business. The truth of the matter is that all the ‘pixel fireworks’ will do nothing for their business.

As a business owner, you must consider that your website visitor is really a qualified prospect. They must be. Otherwise, why would they be visiting your website? When I say qualified prospect, I mean that they have some interest in your product or service. With literally millions of websites online, if they are at your website, they must have an interest in what you are selling. Although every visitor may not be ready to purchase or do business with you right at that time, they must have an interest in what you are selling, right?

Now compare your website to how you handle prospects that call your company. What do you do when a potential client or prospect calls you on the phone? Of course you answer their questions and help guide them to the correct solution for their problem. But don’t you at least get their name and phone number to follow up with them later? You may even get their mailing address so you can send them your brochures or the product information they are interested in. In short, you have just qualified that prospect as a sales lead.

So why would you operate your company website any other way? The real purpose of your company website is to generate those sales leads, just like when potential customers call you on the phone.

Yes, your website showcases your products. If prepared properly, your website also includes additional product information like installation or operating instructions. Your website goes on to show visitors the entire array of products or services that you offer. But in short, the real purpose of your company website should be to generate that sales lead. After all, they are qualified because they are at your website. You must, at the very least, get their contact information to follow up with them.

How do you do that? The best run company websites will encourage their visitors to sign up to a company newsletter. Typically, they entice the visitor by offering some sort of product information or other resource that is valuable information that their customers want. The information or resource that is offered for free is typically called a ‘Lead Generation Magnet’. The visitor signs up to the opt-in e-mail list in order to download that information.

Once signed up through your website, you have the contact information for that prospect. You can continue to follow up with them by e-mail (just as you would have by phone), usually using a combination of preprogrammed auto responder messages and e-mail broadcasts that keep your name in front of your prospects on a regular basis.

Developing your auto responder series and marketing to your list of prospects is beyond the scope of this article. However, what is important for small business owners to understand is that your company website visitors are really qualified prospects. Capturing their contact information and developing that sales lead is not just one of the reasons you have a company website. It should really be considered as the only reason you have a company website. Of course, that is only if you are interested in expanding your business online!

Live, Love and Profit from Your Passion; Otherwise it’s just another job!

Website For Small Business – Do You Know the Top Pros and Cons of Having a Website For Your Business

As with most things, having a website for your small business has some pros and some cons. If you are sitting on the fence about building a website for your small business you might want to consider both sides.

These are a few objections I hear from my prospective customers when I talk to them about getting a website for their business and getting into web marketing.

I get most of my business from word of mouth and offline advertising, I don’t need to spend money on a website. This statement is true for a lot of small business owners and solopreneurs but unless you don’t want to increase your business at all or actually you are planning to decrease your business you need to have a website. Why? Because having a website will not only bring you qualified leads but it gives your business validity, as one of my customers said: “I have enough business but I want to be with the times…” showing that he is not adverse to change and progress and listens to his customers needs. I am sure you’ve been asked by now if your business has a website.

I like to have one on one “real time” talk and interaction with my prospective customers, talking on the phone or in person. I don’t like this new internet way of dealing with business.And here is the answer to this concern. Just because your business has a website it doesn’t mean that you are not going to have that personal touch and interaction with your prospective customers. Once you get in touch with them it is up to you how you continue to communicate. Your small business website if just another vehicle of advertising and let’s face it most people these days don’t bother to flip through the Yellow Pages anymore.

Building a website for my small business is way too expensive and even if I have one who is going to maintain it? Yes, there are very expensive web designers out there but if you do your homework you’ll find that having a website built for your small business is not nearly as expensive as you might think, as a matter of fact if you compare it to other ways of advertising and what you get out of it, it’s darn cheap. Also, if you are so inclined, you or maybe somebody on your staff can actually experiment and build your own basic website for free. There are many handy site building tools out there that you can use. The number one thing is to have a website built. After you have a website you will easily find ways to promote it. One of the first rules of promoting your website is to use your web address on all your offline advertising. As for maintaining it you can either do it yourself or hire the company who built it for you. They must have different options for different budgets to chose from.

The bottom line is that there are always cons and pros to any business decision. Allow your mind to go past your fears and seriously consider getting a website built for your small business. Afterall what do you have to lose other then some good leads and more profits?