In a connected world, technology has become indispensable to running a business. Nine in ten business owners use their smartphones for their business and one in ten actually run their businesses exclusively from their smartphones, a Forbes survey for Google found. Since technology is such a vital part of running a business today, your choice of technology is important, especially when you’re starting up. Here’s a look at some of the useful hardware, software and online services you should consider when choosing technology for your business.
Given the prominence of mobile, your mobile device may be your most essential piece of technological hardware. If you plan to work from a smartphone, you’ll want a device with a good display, speedy processing, long battery life, productivity features, capacity for easy integration with popular business software and strong security. Business News Daily currently ranks the Samsung Galaxy S7 as today’s best business smartphone. The S7 and its larger counterpart the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge stand out for business use for their productivity-boosting split-screen capability, easy-to-use file-finding tools and strong security features such as fingerprint ID and Samsung Knox.
Alternately, if you want a larger screen and traditional keyboard for mobile use, you might consider a tablet. TechRadar reviews some of today’s top tablet options, led by the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and the Apple iPad Pro. Or if you prefer a desktop PC, PCMag ranks the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display as today’s best option.
When it comes to software, your office suite is key to productivity. The leading product in the field is Microsoft Office, which combines word processing, spreadsheet and presentation tools with calendar, email and videoconferencing tools, along with numerous other features. Laptop Mag reviews some of the leading alternatives to Office, which include Google Apps, WPS Office, WordPerfect Office, LibreOffice and OpenOffice.
Another piece of essential business software is your accounting program. The leader in this field, Intuit’s QuickBooks, is designed to integrate easily with the TurboTax tax preparation program and other leading financial software. ContentMarketer.io co-founder Sujan Patel reviews QuickBooks and some of its leading competitors, which include FreshBooks and Wave Accounting.
If you have employees, human resources software may be another important part of your business. HR software can help you automate functions such as onboarding, payroll processing and benefits management. Here some of the leading options include Zenefits, BambooHR and sumHR.
If you need to schedule shifts for your employees or appointments for clients, you may also want to look at scheduling software. Two leading scheduling tools are Booker and Genbook, both of which let you schedule both employees and customers.
SurePayroll surveyed small business owners to find out what their favorite online tech tools were. For organizing your notes electronically, small business owners liked Google Drive, which edged out Evernote and Tripit. For file storage, the most popular app was Dropbox, which makes it easy to exchange large files in the cloud. For customer relationship management, Salesforce was the most popular tool for keeping track of customer contact information and sales history, coming in ahead of Act and SugarCRM. Constant Contact was entrepreneurs’ favored email marketing tool, ahead of MailChimp and Hubspot. For social media marketing, small business owners preferred to use HootSuite to manage their social accounts, while the most popular social networks were Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Twitter and Instagram.by