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Software to run your growing company smoothly, safely and efficiently.

When you’re an entrepreneur, getting that “to-do” list whittled down to a manageable size is impossible — there just aren’t enough hours in a day.

If your small business has a lean team, being tech savvy is a critical advantage. Installing and integrating business software can prevent wasted effort and preserve staff hours. Check out the following 28 online and digital tools that can help you and your team stay on task and boost productivity1:

Managing human resources tasks

Most human resources departments have shifted from paper to paperless cultures in recent years, using computer programs to process payroll, track sick leave and oversee other employee services. If your company is still manually processing HR forms, your HR staff will thank you for a workforce management program. With these online tools, you can generate reports faster, provide self-servicing portals for employees and communicate important messages companywide.
 
Software to consider:

  1. people@work®*
  2. freeHR
  3. OrangeHRM
  4. People-Trak
     

Tracking employee time

By asking employees to track their hours, you can get a better sense of how much time is being carved out for a particular project or client. Many lawyers, accountants, and creative professionals are familiar with the process ― and many companies have integrated time-tracking and payroll into one easy-to-use tool. If you’re interested in tallying billable hours, check out the following options:
 
Software to consider:

  1. FreshBooksTM*
  2. Ceridian®
  3. Sage One
  4. ADP® for small business
     

Managing customer relationships
Keeping track of your customer touch points is easier than ever before with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. In a single dashboard, you can view and analyze your existing and potential business leads. You can also use it to generate leads or simply to send regular emails to your contacts. While Salesforce®** is a popular option for larger companies, you can look into the following for your small business, too.
 
Software to consider:

  1. Sage CRM
  2. Insightly
  3. Batchbook
  4. Microsoft Dynamics®†† CRM
     

Using online file storage

Are you still alphabetically organizing hard-copy files and folders in a locked cabinet? In the digital world, you only need to click, drag and drop into a virtual folder. But when dealing with confidential information, large files and hundreds of records with multiple collaborators, the task of storing files becomes complicated. Try these online storage portals to minimize wasting paper and easily sync, edit and share important records between multiple users.
 
Software to consider:

  1. Dropbox®‡‡
  2. Google Drive
  3. Box.com
  4. Microsoft®†† OneDrive
     

Creating a website

If you want consumers to find you, it’s important to create a business website. How important? Before buying a product in store, 74 per cent of Canadians will first research the product online. However, many entrepreneurs forgo a site, complaining about cost and time. Surprisingly, less than half of businesses have a website to promote their goods, according to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority.
 
Contrary to popular belief, you can design your company’s homepage without hiring a professional website developer. Browse these easy webpage-making sites geared toward non-technical people. It’s a quick and affordable way to create and maintain your online presence. 

Software to consider:

  1. SquareSpace®††
  2. Weebly®‡‡‡
  3. WordPress®****
  4. Tumblr®††††
     

Marketing via email

There’s an adage that goes: If you build it, they will come. However, your marketing director might disagree with that saying. They’ll tell you that you need to persuade people to stop by and shop, whether that means e-commerce or bricks and mortar. With the rise of email and the drop in direct mail, an email address is one of the most direct ways to reach your audience. If you want to invest more in this form of outreach, read Canada Business Network’s email marketing tips.
 
Software to consider:

  1. Constant Contact®‡‡‡‡
  2. MailChimp®*
  3. Emma Mail
  4. VerticalResponse
     

Marketing via social media

Today, social media is one of the chief forms of communication. In an eMarketer study, it was estimated that one in four people worldwide used social networks in 2013. You might speculate that the number could be even greater.
 
Create a strategy that works for a company your size and speaks to your company’s image, audience and budget. Consider using social media management tools to organize and share your content across multiple channels. In one platform, you can schedule tweets, share photos, review the number of followers you have and post updates.
 
Software to consider:

  1. Hootsuite™*†‡
  2. SocialMention
  3. Sprout SocialTM*††
  4. Crowdbooster®*‡‡
     

For more business tips, look to 5 things to consider when hiring your next employee and 7 steps to take to master your cash flow.
 
 
1For information purposes only. Bank of Montreal does not provide legal or tax advice to customers. You should review your particular circumstances with your independent legal and tax professional.
®*Registered trademark of Automatic Data Processing, Inc.
TM*Registered trademark of 2NDSITE Inc.
®†Registered trademarks of Ceridian HCM Inc.
®‡Registered trademark of ADP, LLC.
®**Registered trademark of salesforce.com Inc.
®††Microsoft One Drive and Microsoft Dynamics are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
®‡‡Registered trademark of Dropbox Inc.
®†††Registered trademark of Squarespace Inc.
®‡‡‡Registered trademark of Weebly Inc.
™*†‡Registered trademark of Hootsuite Media Inc.
®****Registered trademark of Automattic, Inc.
®††††Registered trademark of Tumblr, Inc.
®‡‡‡‡Registered trademark or trademark of Constant Contact in the United States and other countries.
®*†Registered trademark of The Rocket Science Group.
™*††Registered trademark of Sprout Social.
®*‡‡Crowdbooster, Crowdbooster.com, Conversely Inc, the Crowdbooster logo and all other trademarks, service marks, graphics and logos used in connection with Conversely.com or the Website are trademarks or registered trademarks of Conversely or Conversely’s licensors.

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