“If you are going to work smart, and not hard, these tools are a step in the right direction.”
A wise man once said, “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” You may have no trouble setting up shop in your bedroom, but effectively running a business out of your home is about more than putting in a desk and buying some pens and sticky notes. Here are some very helpful tips for those of you who are striving to improve on your home business.
QuickBooks is one of the most indispensable tools for any business. The software includes comprehensive features that give you solutions to all of your bookkeeping needs. You can connect your bank accounts and company credit cards to track income and expenses, create professional invoices, view various reports such as balance sheets or profit and loss, sync to your PayPal account (and other apps), and a lot more. QuickBooks Payments, one of the best features of this program, allows you to send invoices, accept payments via bank transfer or any major credit card–and your books are immediately updated with every transaction. It is almost like having a personal accountant. The software boasts “bank-level” security, with a self-contained toolbox full of resources that all work together to give you the freedom to monitor the big picture of your business’ finances, or zoom in to each aspect.
Whether you are working out of your home, or not, your business needs legal representation. Upcounsel is not a law firm; they are an organization that has collected top attorneys from some of the best firms in the country. On their website, you can submit a specialized job for which you need representation and counsel and select an attorney who best fits your needs and price range, after looking over multiple proposals. These are not junior associates; in fact, many of them were educated at top law schools, worked at Fortune 500 companies, and have an average of 14 years experience. More than likely, you will end up finding long-term counsel for you business, through their service.
Premium Anti-Virus Software
You have hopefully never experienced a computer crash, but it could happen to you at any time. We all know they are out there–computer viruses. Any computer usually comes with its own firewalls and security to protect against this very thing, but if you want real protection, the truth is that you will have to pay for it. There are companies working tirelessly to combat this threat because very smart people are writing new viruses, every day, which are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and harder to catch. Your computer/servers/network contains an overwhelming amount of sensitive and valuable information. Do not leave yourself open to an attack.
This is a tool that can be invaluable to a home-business. As a matter of fact, pretty much all the Google apps are extremely useful. When it comes to remotely maintaining a clear channel of communication, their applications make it a lot easier. Within Docs, you are supplied with a platform to write documents, using many of the functions you will find in Microsoft Word–such as spell check and formatting options–which you can share with whomever you choose. Once you make your document available to them, your chosen recipients are free to comment on the work, as well as edit. The interface is smooth and intuitive with various functions, such as different colors for each person who is commenting or editing. Once you start using it, you will never go back.
In addition to Google Docs, this is an online calendar that allows you to input scheduling information which is automatically shared with everyone who is part of your group. Whenever you or your partners post something on the calendar, this information is instantly visible to every other member of the private group. You will find that there is virtually no learning curve; it is very easy to use. Each day on the calendar holds everything you input for that schedule as a distinct block of time, and you can quickly change or edit these blocks.
If you have never used Google Analytics before, then you need to start right now. In the past, businesses used customer surveys, suggestion boxes, and questionnaires to find out how they ranked with consumers and how to cater to their needs… this is a super-optimized and efficient version of that, allowing you to track every piece of data associated with your web traffic. Using this program, you will be able to see, accurately, how many people are visiting your website, what they are looking at, and even where your content is being shared externally in Twitter, blog posts, etc. Instead of using guesswork and feeling around in the dark, your business will be able to strategically target its customers.
A vital contributing factor to making the best product is using the best equipment. It can be very difficult to find reliable tools that consistently work for your business, and these are a few quality resources that are sure to make things easier for you, especially when working from home. If you are going to work smart, and not hard, these are a step in the right direction.
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Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.