These are the tools worth looking at as you grow your business.
2016 will be the year of action for businesses, according to Computerworld. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 27.9 million small businesses in the U.S., who account for 54 percent of all U.S. sales. In the coming year, small businesses will not only need to focus on customer acquisition and employee retention as in year’s past, but the role of technology for SMBs is even more critical. From data recovery, to lead capture to mobile analytics, small business tech will take a giant leap forward in the year to come.
Below is a list of six tech tools that SMB can benefit from in 2016:
1) Fathom Voice, cloud-based, united communications. With so many business practices moving to the cloud, it only makes sense to move your communications to the cloud, as well. Small, growing companies with agile and remote workforces need communications solutions that are easy to integrate and use across multiple locations. As an added benefit, not only are cloud solutions usually cheaper than on-premise phone systems, but they also usually come equipped with a host of useful features such as voicemail to email, call logging, video conferencing, chat and more.
2) Stitch Labs, online inventory control. As small businesses work to scale, the first task must be to get inventory and product in order with a system that works in conjunction with platforms consumers use most, such as eBay, Amazon, and Square. Without a multichannel selling solution, businesses cannot grow substantially, if at all. Business owners should look for a platform that syncs consistently with big names, and offers enterprise features such as pricing tools, sales data and predictive analytics.
3) DriveSavers, data recovery. The worst time to look for a data security and recovery company is when the data has already been compromised. Working with a team that has helped hundreds of thousands of customers who have lost data since it’s inception thirty years ago. The company offers worldwide service for a diverse range of small- to medium-sized businesses and supports a range of devices from high-end multi-disk servers to consumer-level hard drives, camera cards, smartphones and tablets. Having this phone number handy could mean saving precious time in the event of data loss.
4) Likeable Local, social media automation. I’m pretty biased about this one, since I’m their founder and CEO. Currently helping thousands of SMBs access their social media success, Likeable Local helps grow businesses with social media. The software monitors social media for conversations relevant to a customer’s business in a listening platform. It suggests content to publish, plus you can schedule Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn postings at once. Finally, its Turboboost technology amplifies all of your posts, so you can reach more prospects and customers across the social web.
5) Formstack, online conversion optimization. Full of features like A/B testing and optimization tools to help businesses’ capture and convert leads – without any coding necessary. Using online forms for event submissions, contact submission and content gating gives SMBs a better chance at closing leads from website visits.
6) Wasp Barcode Technologies, asset management solution. Created for small businesses, Wasp helps track key assets like computers, smartphones and software. However, the asset tracking solution isn’t limited to office equipment, it’s used by SMBs of all kinds to track any asset that needs to be reported on a company’s tax return. Better tracking eliminates equipment and financial loss and can even help companies earn tax deductions.
7) Crittercism, mobile app intelligence platform. Dedicated to helping businesses ensure apps are working properly, Crittercism helps companies see if their apps are performing. By tracking crashes, latency and transaction, Crittercism’s solution helps small and large businesses proactively monitor their mobile apps’ success.
These are 7 tools I believe small businesses can use in 2016 to manage and grow their businesses. How about you – what tools do you use and love?
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.