Follow our ultimate guide of must-have small business software and tech tools all SME owners should be using.
Here are software solutions, apps and websites we recommend:
1. Learn how to turn an idea into a business
Taking your business ideas from a mere thought into a fully fledged business takes serious work. Some of the skills that entrepreneurs need starting out include financial management and implementing key business processes, as well as keeping track of goals.
Use: Lean Business Platform is an online entrepreneurship tech platform that offers support tools as well as training in the form of tutorials and guides for small business owners. The Lean Business tools has features to help monitor your business goals and help you keep track of objectives and KPIs.
2. Assess your funding readiness
Many entrepreneurs fail to secure the funding they need because they fail the all-important due diligence process. To succeed entrepreneurs need to keep an immaculate record of important documents, including business plans, good standing certificates, minutes to important board meetings, property deeds, copyright licenses and patents and loan agreements, among others.
There is a tool to assist both entrepreneurs and investors navigate what can often be the difficult process of due diligence.
Use: Yuediligence is an interactive web-based tool that increases due diligence efficiency for entrepreneurs, investors and service providers through process automation.
Entrepreneurs can assess their business, funding readiness, growth gaps and due diligence preparedness. Investors can use YueDiligence to analyse deal flow in a cost-efficient and effective way, whilst identifying gaps to add value to their investments and prioritise investment spending.
Cost: Free with limited features, then you have the option to choose packages with more features, pricing from R1500.
3. Start a crowdfunding campaign
Crowdfunding is becoming an increasingly popular alternative for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to raise capital. Now entrepreneurs no longer have to rely on banks or public funding institutions, they can now bank on the kindness and business savvy of strangers.
Use: Add-a-bit‘s platform allows anyone to set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a business venture, a project or a special occasion. Users are able to launch their own funding campaigns and support others. You are also able to encourage friends and family to contribute by sharing your campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Fund Code.
Cost: Free, but your investment funds will attract market-related fees.
4. Access FREE accounting software service
All entrepreneurs will need a financial management and accounting software tool, including one that can help them with their invoicing and bookkeeping. Traditional accounting software can be expensive, but cheaper alternatives are available.
Use: Wave is free financial software for small businesses, offering services like mobile invoicing, payment tracking and financial management, as well as credit card processing and payroll services. You will also get access to resourceful guides that help you improve your financial management skills.
5. Have no time to read? Listen to audio books
For entrepreneurs who find it difficult to find time to finish a book, audio-books offer a handy alternative.
Use: Blinkist is an audio-book tool you can use on your smartphone (iOS and Android), tablet, desktop, and Kindle.
This app gives you a 15 minute summary of any book of your choice. Small business owners can gain key ideas from bestselling nonfiction books, filtered by experts into bitesize text and audio.
Cost: Free trial for 7 days, thereafter you pay from R104 pm.
6. Keep track of your online reputation
It can be time consuming to monitor everything that is being said about you or your business both online and social media. However, business owners cannot pretend that social media has no impact on business. Companies face more difficulties avoiding bad news because of the internet, and bad news travels fast.
Use: Google Alerts is a content change detection and notification service, offered by the search engine company Google. You are able to monitor any mention of your company name or products online. It is also a way to keep an eye on competitors, and find out what people are talking – or asking about. The service sends notifications via email to the user when it finds new results.
7. Make it easier for your business to be found online
If you don’t have a presence online, you might as well not exist. There are ways to make it easier for potential customers to find you.
Use: Google My Business is an internet-based service for business owners, operated by Google. Business owners are able to create a profile for their business, making it easier for users to find the business (and contact information) on Google Search or Maps.
8. Take more useful notes
It’s a good idea to take minutes for every important meeting, but using a pen and paper, can be a drag and messy. To avoid the hassle, online tools are available as an alternative.
Use: Evernote is a mobile app designed to help you take notes, record voice notes and archiving.
The app serves as a note taker, pocket notebook, and your to-do lists. Evernote can also set reminders for various tasks, goals, and projects you have within the app.
Cost: Basic package is free, Premium package is R49.99 and Evernote Business costs R 96.00
9. Talk to your customers
Business owners need to keep engaged with their customers – whether it’s by running competitions and campaigns or conducting research into how to meet their needs better. It is a kind of exercise that was typically too expensive for a small business to consider, but this has changed.
Use: Google Forms is a survey administration app that is included in the Google Drive office suite together with Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides.
The service helps you create a poll or survey to get data from customers and collects email addresses for a newsletter. The responses (data) you receive from the survey is automatically collected, with real time response info and charts. An additional feature of Google Forms is that it manages event registrations.
10. Monitor and track freelancers and salespeople
It can be difficult for a business owner to keep track of employees that may work outside of the office like salespeople and freelancers, while also monitoring their productivity.
Use: GeoRep is a field productivity app which measures and tracks your field staff’s performance. Features include call logs and time sheets, call schedules and the ability to locate your field staff as well as keep track of their activities.
Cost: The Standard package costs R299. Professional and Enterprise packages offer more features and are priced between R599 and R799.
11. Keep in the loop with business news
A well read entrepreneur is a well prepared entrepreneur. Keep up with the latest in business news.
Use: Digest, a local email newsletter which helps readers stay on top of the world of finance and economics in SA. What we like about this one is how approachable it makes an otherwise complex subject matter. From casual, understandable language to its use of GIFs and emojis to keep things light – it’s worth checking out.
Cost: Sign-up is free at www.digestrsa.co.za and they only send one short email each weekday morning – a great addition to breakfast.
12. Insure your mobile phones and laptops
Business owners should not overlook ensuring that they are adequately covered against insurable risks.
Use: Pineapple.co.za, avoiding once-off expenses is key to avoiding financial woes. Mobile phones and laptops are often not insured despite their high-risk of damage or theft. Insurance can help protect you against a stressful loss. Pineapple makes insuring fun with its image recognition tech to insure your belongings and only takes a couple of minutes end-to-end. The app is available for iPhone or Android.
You download the app, snap an image of the item you want insured and get a quote for it.