To de-clut­ter your busi­ness in the new financial year

Business First - - APPS -

One in three Aus­tralian small busi­nesses in Aus­tralia strug­gle with cash flow, prof­itabil­ity, price mar­gins and the tim­ing of cus­tomer pay­ments. The in­ter­net and the app stores of­fer a wide va­ri­ety of new tools and ser­vices that are much eas­ier to learn and op­er­ate than in the past, but which ones are worth im­ple­ment­ing?

Busi­ness own­ers who em­brace new soft­ware and au­to­ma­tion tools will find that af­ter an ini­tial learn­ing phase with de­creased pro­duc­tiv­ity the right tools will ac­tu­ally free up valu­able time and resources in the mid-term, if used con­sis­tently while pre­par­ing the com­pany for growth through au­to­ma­tion.

Here are five top apps that will help de-clut­ter your busi­ness in the new financial year:

Ac­count­ing soft­ware

Whilst most of us do not en­joy num­ber crunch­ing, financial ac­count­ing must be a core dis­ci­pline for ev­ery busi­ness. The days of end­less pa­per re­ceipts and nu­mer­ous fold­ers on the shelves are over. Cloud-based ac­count­ing soft­ware such as MYOB Es­sen­tials al­low you to man­age quotes, in­voices and ex­penses via on­line, email or mobile. You also keep an over­view of your em­ploy­ees by man­ag­ing their time, an­nual leave and pay­roll – all in one place. The main ben­e­fits how­ever are the im­proved abil­ity for busi­ness own­ers to an­a­lyse and plan for a healthy financial sta­tus and fu­ture growth of the busi­ness. Ac­count­ing soft­ware also helps you to be­come fi­nan­cially lit­er­ate, since it forces you into proper ac­count­ing best prac­tices and stan­dards.

Col­lab­o­ra­tion soft­ware

Thou­sands of sole traders or small busi­nesses are still us­ing the good old Big­pond or Hot­mail email ad­dresses with­out be­ing able to share files or even cal­en­dar en­tries se­curely with their team or sup­pli­ers. One of the most pow­er­ful and af­ford­able col­lab­o­ra­tion so­lu­tions is google apps for busi­nesses. What you’ll get is a ded­i­cated email for each of your em­ploy­ees for only $5/month, shared on­line cal­en­dars, shared on­line file stor­age plus google apps al­lows you to also ad­min­is­ter all your other im­por­tant google as­sets in one place and with one lo­gin, such as google adwords for mar­ket­ing, Google an­a­lyt­ics to mon­i­tor­ing your web­site or google web­mas­ter tools to man­age your SEO. Google apps even in­cludes on­line ver­sions of Word, Ex­cel and Pow­er­point. Google apps al­lows you to run your busi­ness com­mu­ni­ca­tion and file ex­change from any­where. Sim­ply reg­is­ter an in­ter­net ad­dress e.g. with the world’s big­gest hoster GoDaddy and fol­low the step-by-step setup to set up your google mail. Once set up, all you need is in­ter­net ac­cess and a browser, log into your gmail and you are ready to go from any­where you are.

Web­site man­age­ment

We see a lot of busi­ness strug­gle with their web­sites, but it can be re­ally easy. One of the most pow­er­ful tools, we have used our­selves, is Wee­bly.com. It comes with beau­ti­ful and re­spon­sive themes that au­to­mat­i­cally dis­play a mobile-op­ti­mised site when vis­ited through a smart­phone or tablet, which is very im­por­tant for search en­gine rank­ings th­ese days. Wee­bly also has the op­tion to cre­ate an on­line store for your prod­ucts, to ac­cept card pay­ments through Stripe or Paypal and it lets you cus­tomise the check­out ex­pe­ri­ence through coupon codes or in­voice tem­plates. You can also set up a blog for your site and as­sign dif­fer­ent edit­ing roles for your team. Wee­bly runs as a drag-and-drop tool in your browser and is very in­tu­itive.

Pay­ment soft­ware

Cash flow is the lifeblood of ev­ery busi­ness and since 82% of Aus­tralia’s pay­ments are dig­i­tal th­ese days a busi­ness can­not ig­nore the con­sumer de­mand for quick, easy and se­cure dig­i­tal pay­ments. With a mer­chant fa­cil­ity from your bank you can get paid via your web­site, via but­tons in your email in­voices or when­ever you are face-to-face with your cus­tomer, you can use a mobile Eftpos ma­chine, such as Mint mPOS, that works any­where with­out any ca­bles re­quired by pair­ing with your smart­phone via Blue­tooth. 53% of all cus­tomers al­ready pre­fer to use Con­tact­less and soon Ap­ple Pay and An­droid Pay will win con­sumer hearts by storm re­plac­ing credit cards with dig­i­tal wallets on smart­phones. On­line or mobile pay­ments so­lu­tions usu­ally come with an on­line por­tal for real-time re­port­ing and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. Get­ting paid straight away will greatly re­duce the time you waste in chas­ing out­stand­ing in­voices and it im­proves cash flow dra­mat­i­cally. Man­ag­ing your pay­ments starts with your bank­ing app how­ever. It is un­likely that your busi­ness bank does not have on­line bank­ing or a proper iOS/An­droid app that al­lows you to stay on top of your bank ac­counts and busi­ness cards any­time and any­where. Most banks au­to­mat­i­cally synch into your ac­count­ing soft­ware as well once you en­able this fea­ture.

Mar­ket­ing soft­ware

This one may come as a sur­prise for you, but there is a mar­ket­ing plat­form that al­lows you to build up a loyal, ac­tive and highly tar­geted fol­low­ing, to cre­ate your on­line store, to pro­mote app down­loads, up­load images and videos and act as your main com­mu­ni­ca­tion and sup­port chan­nel. Have you guessed it? Yes, it is Face­book. Set up your page and cre­ate an ad­vert in min­utes. It can also re­place any email lead gen­er­a­tion or nur­tur­ing you do and it is much more vi­ral than any other chan­nel, which means that your fol­low­ers will share your con­tent with their friends for free as long as it is help­ful or in­for­ma­tive and not too ‘salesy’. Bjorn Behrendt is the Chief Mar­ket­ing Of­fi­cer at Mint Pay­ments Lim­ited. Prior to work­ing for Mint Pay­ments he worked for eBay and KPMG and be­came the co-founder of Style­Tread Pty Ltd and ParcelPush Pty Ltd.

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