Run Your Small Company With Big-Business Efficiency – These Tools Can Help

In April, the Small Business Optimism Index rose to its highest point since the recession began in late 2007, the National Federation of Independent Businesses reported. While NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg emphasized there’s still plenty of room for growth, this optimism concurs with a TriNet Harris Poll conducted in January, which found that 74 percent of small business owners anticipated revenue growth in 2014 and half expected to hire new employees.

This increasingly sunny outlook assumes small business owners will overcome certain obstacles, of course. Along with common financial concerns such as getting more business and managing expenses and cash flow, a third of those polled in the NFIB survey said one of their top concerns was achieving better work-life balance, a concern that underscores the need for greater efficiency. Fortunately, today’s technological tools help small business owners perform key back-office operations with efficiency comparable to larger companies, while still operating within a small-scale budget.


One place where small businesses can access resources on par with their big-business counterparts is Web hosting. PC Magazine offers a comparison of popular hosting options for small businesses, ranking categories such as bandwidth, storage space and pricing. Most leading services offer unlimited bandwidth and storage, putting these features within reach of the average small business owner. Most companies can get online with a shared hosting plan for as little as $5 a month.


Backing up your business data is crucial, and many hosting providers don’t provide backup services (or charge extra for a minimal amount of backup). You’re not limited to your hosting provider’s options, fortunately, so arrange to have your data backed up by a provider that specializes in this area. For instance, Mozy’s enterprise cloud backup service offers both backup and file syncing that covers all of the mobile devices in your network.


Collaboration software is key to productivity in today’s virtual workspace, where business needs are rapidly shifting from an on-premise orientation to solutions compatible with mobile devices, the cloud and social media. ZDNet provides a rundown of the big players in today’s business collaboration landscape, which consists of solutions for content creation, document and file sharing, communication and enterprise apps. The market space includes traditional industry leaders such as Microsoft, IBM and Cisco, as well as newer players. Google is increasingly moving into this market with solutions such as Google Apps for Business.


Small businesses can use the same bookkeeping tools as companies with full accounting departments do. Sage 50 is one of the most popular accounting software programs among small business owners—it enables you to automate most basic accounting functions, including income and expense tracking, invoicing, online payment collection and electronic payroll submission.

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