Best Tech Tools for Entrepreneurs, Startups & SMEs 2017Syah Ismail
As the World evolves towards a much more sophisticated digital age, businesses should strategically plan their growth and expansion more aggressively. Startups, small and medium enterprises especially, should not rely solely on growth hacking techniques and prospective business models — but to keep up with the technology in order to achieve not only an incredible sustained growth, but utmost productivity, and effective management.
5 Best Tech Tools for Startups & SMEs
PointStar understands businesses’ needs for better management thus, regardless of your organization’s size or the ecosystem you are operating in, here are some of the best tech tools for startups, small businesses and SMEs to employ in staying ahead of their game plan. The list is categorized by segments and tools that are found to have unmatched efficiency.
#1 Internal Communication
There is an urgent need for this, as it makes or breaks a team. Regardless of which framework, policy, tool, or process is used, internal communication directly relates to the probability of any startups’ growth, expansion, and consequently, success. Here are some recommendations that could help streamlining your internal communication:
Workplace by Facebook
This is quite the best option available as the pricing structure is brazenly simple in the normally complex world of SaaS. It is also conveniently user friendly as Facebook is being used by one seventh of the world population thus, it is certain that employees are very familiar with it’s interface. On top of that, Workplace’s prime security and privacy features prioritize company’s ownership of data, separating personal FB and Workplace accounts, and is awarded with an SOC3 certification.
✔ USD $3 a month per user for companies with less than 1000 employees
✔ $2 for organizations up to 10,000 people
✔ $1 for over 10,000 employees
✔ Free for non-profit organizations and educational institutions.
Slack is a “messaging app” and the idea behind the application is to make communication easier between employees and teams, with a few advanced features to improve collaboration.
Slack is developed to assist organizations to structure their internal communication better. It comes with plenty of useful tools such as channel for blog posts to discuss social promotion, integration with Google Drive, open API tool for developers (which means the tool works conveniently with additional tools to developers’ need for Slack for payroll, Intranet, advertising, structure management etc), and interestingly, building referral networks.
✔ Free with an unlimited free option.
✔ US$ 6.67 per user per month — though whenever a team sign up for Slack they are entitled to Slack Credits worth of US$ 100, just by taking a survey.
The ‘plug n play’ global email solutions available since a few decades ago have obsoleted local email providers, whereby the added value provided by each is incredible and eliminates the need for additional services. Below are some of the best email solutions that provide more than just email services:
G Suite is by far the torchbearer of all email solutions, as it provides more than just email platform. G Suite is a set of intelligent apps by the World’s most innovative tech giant, Google, that include Gmail, Docs, Drive and Calendar to connect team members, regardless of their location. The suite’s line of online tools empower startups and small businesses with enterprise-like premium features to have better control and collaboration across all departments. With G Suite, companies can have these benefits below:
Provides Business with Professional Email
Many small businesses use @hotmail, @gmail or @ISP address for work email. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this though, it would look more professional when sending emails if it comes from @YourCompanyDomain.com email address. On top of that, with a domain name in email adress future clients might look up businesses’ website and lead to new business.
Storage Space and Search Function
Google provides 10GB free storage space for small businesses, while most mail servers providers only serve 1GB of storage space. The search function in Gmail on the other hand is the fastest and most reliable in locating emails — just type in the sender’s name, or even the subject within the email and Gmail will auto-search it for users; if the email is available and not deleted.
Using a calendar to keep up with appointments and schedules couldn’t be easier than with Google Calendar. It links up with Gmail, and is accessible across all devices so users can get updated on the go. Check out how our client, MyRepublic utilizes Calendar to connect their cross-continents team members in our customer’s success stories.
Keep ALL DEVICES in Sync
You can use all of your mobile devices with G-Suite to keep your inbox in sync. Applications such as Apple Mail and Microsoft Outlook support Google’s IMAP settings and by using IMAP users are able to centrally store their mail in the cloud, and when they leave their desktop computer and move to mobile device, their Inbox has the same contents and constantly remains in sync.
Collaborate Seamlessly – Across All Departments or Even Different Organizations
This is the best feature yet, as users utilize other useful tools that enhance productivity and streamline collaboration, G Suite’s services give users the ability to collaborate and share with others within and outside their organizations using Google Drive and Docs. Aside from that, G Suite is also equipped with Hangouts — a unified communications platform that allows members to initiate and participate in text, voice or video chats, either one-on-one or in a group. Hangouts are built into Google+ and Gmail, and mobile Hangouts apps are available for iOS and Android devices.
Google Hangouts Update – Meet by Google Hangouts
Being the leading tech company, Google works relentlessly to provide businesses of all sizes the best of technology. From Hangouts, Google has launched a new video conferencing application called Meet by Google Hangouts, which is designed for HD video meetings. Update includes 30 participants in a HD video meeting (Hangouts only cater up 10 participants per meeting). It also includes other features aimed at making it easy to access calls while on the go, including dial-in numbers for those who are travelling, links users can join with just a click, and integration with Gmail and Calendar for G Suite users. The app’s main screen displays a list of scheduled meetings, along with other details like time, location, subject, attendees and more. Dial-in numbers are available only to G Suite Enterprise Edition customers, but that’s the only limitation noted so far.
Microsoft Office-Like Applications
G Suite users can use Docs, a word processor that looks, feels, and functions similarly to Microsoft Word. Aside from Docs, there is a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel, though it doesn’t do everything excel does. Slides on the other hand works like Power Point. The best thing about these applications is that not only users can create nice documents, but they can share their documents with others to edit, view, comment and most importantly, anything created is saved automatically in real time. And with all the G suite applications, files are accessible on multiple devices, including user’s’ smart phone. Need to distribute an event registration, feedback, order forms, or job applications? Forms allows users to do a custom form as needed.
The drive is a place where users can create folders and store all their work they created with the above apps. And, once again, everything is accessible through multiple devices. If users are on the go and need that important document, all they need is their phone or mobile device, sign into their Google account — every document saved will magically be at their fingertips.
G Suite is absolutely hands down one of the best tools competitive businesses use every day. If you would like to know more information on how to setup and use G Suite, visit us here or give our Singapore G Suite Specialist a call at +65 6773 0987 / +65 6240 6897.
#3 Project Management
Asana helps to keep team member in sync with project goals in a seamless and easy way. It is free up to 15 members — suitable for startups at the birth stage. Users can easily create task, subtasks, projects or conversations with team. Asana also offers calendar view, list view and board view for projects – users decide which one is the most convenient for them.
✔ USD$ 99.96/person per year, or USD$ 10.00/person per month
✔ Free premium plans for student groups
Trello lets users work more collaboratively and get more done. Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable teams to organize and prioritize projects in a fun, flexible and rewarding way. Trello utilizes the concept of boards (which correspond to assigned projects) and within board, there are cards (represents tasks assigned). Trello is currently one of the most attractive project management/collaboration systems, very well-integrated and reasonably price. The system enables member to discuss a project or a task in real-time, keeping everybody informed through task assignments, activity log, and email notifications. It’s user friendly interface can add member easily to a board where members are free to vote on ideas contained in the cards.
✔ USD$5/month or USD$45/year.
✔ Users can upgrade free Trello to Gold account, with expansion of attachments size up to 250MB and 3 ‘Power-Ups’ (integrations) per board.
#4 Integrated Business Software
Modern day businesses are using sophisticated business software to fuel their growth but many are still struggling to keep up with their growth and manage costs effectively because of a hodge-podge of disconnected functional systems causing process bottlenecks and employee productivity issues. Integrated business software suites are transforming how companies run, and enabling them to rise above challenges, and NetSuite is one of the business software solutions that has assisted more than 40,000 organizations with one unified business management suite, encompassing ERP/Financials, CRM and ecommerce.
NetSuite Cloud-Managed Business Solutions
NetSuite is the first cloud-managed solution to deliver on the promise of intelligent, integrated and simpler applications for growing and midsize businesses. The system holds all corporate data in a single database, giving users access to their key performance metrics on a customizable, real-time dashboard. As a result, NetSuite enables businesses to make better, faster decisions. The system is integrated — built within a single, powerful application, combining complete customer-facing CRM and Ecommerce capabilities with back-office Accounting/ERP and self-service portals for partners. As a result, it allows companies to unite fragmented data and automate processes from end to end.
NetSuite is simple and cost-effective, implementations are both faster and less expensive than traditional business applications. Modularity enables phased implementations according businesses’ need. In addition, click not code and advanced customization supports business as you define it. As a Web-based on-demand solution, NetSuite significantly reduces businesses’ total cost of ownership (TCO).
Benefits of NetSuite Software
Unify Business Processes across the Enterprise
With a single, integrated platform for CRM, Accounting/ERP and Ecommerce, you can automate keybusiness functions across all departments, including sales, marketing, service, finance, inventory, order fulfillment, purchasing, and employee management. Your employees no longer have to re-enter data in different systems, rectify inconsistent or inaccurate data, or wait for batch updates. Instead, all your employees view and share accurate data in real time, leading to greater collaboration among departments and increased productivity across your business.
Increase Visibility for Better Decision Making
Customizable Dashboards offer real-time access to key performance metrics, supporting intelligent, timely business decisions. In addition, full visibility into unified customer records results in more efficient and highly personalized sales, fulfillment, and service processes.
Extend Processes to Customers, Suppliers, and Partners
Given today’s business landscapes, companies need to work closely with partners through an extended enterprise, NetSuite offers self-service portals that enhance both B2B and B2C collaboration. In addition, proactive notification of partner-specific events accelerates process cycles and improves responsiveness, ensuring your position as a preferred partner.
Customize and extend NetSuite with SuiteFlex
NetSuite is the world’s most customizable Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution. Click not code configuration and modular implementations jumpstart your business on NetSuite. Advanced customization with simpler, industry standard tools allows you to tailor business practices and processes to meet your specific company and industry requirements. Because our customization carries forward seamlessly with upgrades, we actually encourage you to highly customize NetSuite—make it your one-of-a-kind software application.
Get Superior Value with an Affordable Solution
Built from the ground up for growing and midsize businesses, NetSuite offers affordable pricing, accelerated implementation, and comprehensive support packages that result in unbeatable TCO. Plus, you eliminate the costly and time-consuming integration often associated with using a patchwork of disconnecteddisconnecte systems. NetSuite also provides leading-edge professional services and educational programs that ensure efficient implementation and continued, long-term success. You can check the NetSuite low-cost package with our Singapore NetSuite specialists here or call us at +65 6773 0987 / +65 6240 6897.
#5 Network and Security
Network security for small business is becoming increasingly complex, as new Internet threats appear daily or even hourly. Small business networks face constant threats from viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, zero-day attacks, and more. Achieving effective network security for small business requires a solution that’s designed to fit businesses’ needs today and can adapt to tomorrow’s security threats. When it comes to network and security, nothing can beat Cisco Meraki’s cloud-managed network system.
Aside from protecting businesses against such threats, the best network security for small business gives many business benefits. Learn how Cisco Meraki’s cloud managed security appliances protect businesses, regardless sizes in this video below:
The Benefits of Cisco Meraki Network Security for Small Business
Effective network security for small business:
- Provides a secure e-business foundation
- Enables businesses to be in compliance with industry and government regulations
- Gives employees easy, secure access to the tools and applications they need, whether they’re at home, in the office, a hotel room, or at an airport departure gate
- Let team works easily, securely grow network
Network Security for Small Business Provides Collaboration, Empower Productivity
Network security for small business also:
- Promote collaboration among employees as well as vendors, partners, suppliers, and others by providing them controlled network access
- Improve productivity by ensuring network uptime and by recovering quickly from security breaches
- Enhance your customer’s experience by allowing them to access confidential information on your network applicable to them
Finally, it’s important that any network security for small business:
- Reduce the risk of litigation from loss of data or security breaches
- Allow companies to hire talented employees, anywhere, as remote teleworkers with full, secure network access
- Provide worker flextime by giving employees options for where and when they work
- Add new locations, branches, and offices quickly, without worrying about having to redesign your security system
Overall, cloud networking offers a number of business benefits, which also include lower total cost of ownership and greater reliability. To learn more about the Meraki cloud managed product family, get in touch with our Singapore Cisco Meraki experts today by visiting us or by calling +65 6773 0987 / +65 6240 6897 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.