Your workforce is the backbone of your small business. Some may argue that it is your human resources department, or an external recruiter that makes it all possible. While that is certainly open to debate, one irrefutable fact remains: The quality of the people doing the work determines the quality of an organization.
Developing a quality workforce requires motivated employees; and motivated employees are engaged and productive individuals. Yet while motivation is not the sole responsibility of an employer, as a business owner, it pays dividends to do your part.
One of the best ways to equip your people is through the use of tools to help them do their job better, with ease. From task execution to expense reporting and more, here’s a look at five business tools that you, and your employees, will benefit from:
When working with teams, easy collaboration and communication is imperative. You don’t want tasks, updates and important news lost in instant messaging platforms or hard-to-track email threads. Bitrix24 is a free social collaboration tool with a host of features including real-time activity streaming, CRM, task management, database, instant messaging, group chat, file sharing, time tracking, workload planning, and even video conferencing.
Best of all Bitrix24 can be installed on-premise or cloud-based. While the free version offers a maximum of 12 participants, for larger small businesses with more than 12 team members, Bitrix24 Cloud starts at $99 per month (with added features such as external users, IP blocking, custom logo, and more).
Trello is a cloud-based project management software that takes care of both the big and small things. With Trello you can record every piece of information that matters to you – from daily to-dos to business ideas you may want to revisit in the future. Information is stored on cards, and cards can be organized into customizable lists that are stored via a board.
For team-based projects, you can invite as many people as you like to a board where members can be assigned tasks, add or edit cards, upload attachments, and vote on cards among other things. With Trello, collaboration happens in real-time, since changes made by other board members are instantaneously reflected on your screen. Meanwhile, Trello’s activity log and email notifications ensure that everyone receives timely information. Trello offers three subscription packages: Free, Gold ($5 per month), and Business Class ($50 per month).
Expensify is a cloud and mobile-based application that makes expense reporting faster and easier. It simplifies the entire process by centralizing everything from expense tracking to reimbursement, and lets users take snapshots of their receipts on the spot and save a digital copy. If receipts are scattered everywhere – in Google Apps, Dropbox, Evernote, for example – you can easily import them into Expensify with one click.
For individual users, Expensify is free. For small companies, the first two submitters are free, and every submitter thereafter is priced at $6 per month. For larger businesses, after the first two, submitters cost $11 per user per month. The great thing about Expensify is their business model: a pay-per-activity pricing strategy, instead of monetization based on a number of users. This simply means if nobody submits an expense for a month, you pay nothing.
After a hard day’s work, employees deserve access to quality employee perks. AnyPerk is a tool to help you do just that and more — you can reward employees with perks and VIP treatment. AnyPerk represents over 2,500 small businesses and startups, giving your company access to discounts from the top brands across different industries. For a minimum of five employees at $5 per month per employee, employees can immediately access AnyPerk perks upon registration.
As the name suggests, iDoneThis is a tool that helps employees keep track of the things they’ve accomplished for the day by responding to an email reminder. This can help your team stay on top of larger projects with many moving pieces, complete daily to-do lists, and bolster overall productivity. On the management side, you receive unprecedented visibility into what’s being done and what needs to improve, sans the endless team meetings.
For personal use, iDoneThis is free. For more features such as visual graphs, word clouds and organization tags, iDoneThis Gold is priced at $5 per month while team subscription start at $5 per member per month.
Maricel Rivera is a researcher, freelance writer, and the founder and chief editor of The Sourcing Pen. She has been into web writing since August of 2011 and regularly contributes to business and technology blogs.
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