If you’re looking to make your business more productive, you’ll want to keep it as lean and streamlined as possible. This might mean reorganizing the various segments of your business so it runs like a well-oiled machine. This project isn’t likely to cost much money, although it may involve time, depending on the size of your organization and the amount of work you have to do.
Here are the seven most important areas to focus on:
1. Organizing product development
Keeping product development on track with the scheduled launch date is important because you rely on this disruptive product to change the marketplace and drive your sales. Everything and everyone must work toward this same end goal, so it’s vital to organize all aspects of the product development.
However, when your team works virtually and is outsourced around the world, staying organized can become a challenge. One tool changing that is Jira, a development tracking software that helps your team to build a product, receive feedback to improve it, track progress, and interact with all product development team members. Jira captures a significant amount of data, which can be used toward improving processes as well as determining future product development projects.
Other leading tools include Nifty, which brings your team and clients together for meetings, tasks and events. Then there’s Trello, which delights with its Kanban board, lists and cards for forming meetings and events, managing projects, organizing tasks, and customizing workflows.
2. Organizing projects and teams
As part of a startup, your primary team is likely virtual and scattered across a wide area, so there is a greater chance for misunderstanding and confusion about who is working on what and when each component is expected.
Since putting everyone in one room with a schedule may not work, the next best thing is to use a work management tool like Wrike. This online organization software provides numerous ways to track performance and deadlines on projects, while also setting controls to keep groups focused on a particular project and ensure they get the right information to the correct people.
Monday.com helps you create a streamlined, automated workflow for your email marketing campaign tasks so your team can plan and schedule content accordingly. You can learn more in our full review of Monday.com. Asana is another popular app that helps team leaders manage their teams’ online projects and tasks online.
FYI: Work management tools allow you to engage with your team and share due dates and expectations all in one spot, while also creating custom workflows and integrating with other existing files created in Word, Excel, Google Drive and other software.
3. Organizing business strategy
You want a succinct, targeted business strategy that addresses your target audience and speaks directly to them. To achieve this end, you need to know your audience before the messaging and content is created.
A company like Searchmetrics can help by providing advanced analytics that show you who is most likely to buy your product or service, as well as how to communicate with them to maximize efficiency and profit margins. The solution can also help you increase your effectiveness with search engines so you can instantly gain a greater presence to engage with those key prospects.
UserVoice is a software solution that gives you customer feedback. Their built-in support desk also makes this tool your one-stop customer service dashboard. Meanwhile, MailChimp helps you manage your mailing lists and email marketing campaigns.
4. Organizing inventory
To keep overhead costs as low as possible, you need a tight rein on inventory. Doing so requires expert levels of organization. Use barcode technology to automate the process for greater accuracy and track everything you have. This means you can eliminate internal theft, as well as receive alerts when inventory is low.
When you’re on top of inventory, you can track how materials are being used for more effective ordering and cost management. The data you receive from inventory tracking software also helps you understand how sales and productivity among the staff impact the cost of inventory. That means you can make changes in other areas of the company to further increase efficiency.
Zoho Inventory is free software that helps you keep track of your sales along with every unit in your inventory. Another helpful platform is Automate.io, which stands out from competitors by helping you create one-to-one integrations and sync data between apps.
5. Organizing social media presence
While it helps your business to have an engaging presence on all the major social media platforms, the effort of maintaining your accounts can eat up all your time. That’s when you need a social media management tool that will help you organize all your social media campaigns, while leaving you time to interact and respond to your audience on these platforms.
SocialOomph helps you streamline your social media tasks by taking the manual labor out of updating Twitter, Facebook (including profiles, groups and pages), LinkedIn (including company pages, profiles and groups), RSS feeds, Plurk, App.net and blogs. You can schedule updates, get suggestions on people to follow, and gauge how your social media content and campaigns are doing in terms of engagement.
Hootsuite helps you schedule posts, manage your conversations and track your social performance all in one place. HubSpot Marketing Hub is another option that helps you run inbound marketing campaigns, turn leads into customers, draft winning content, and attract the right audience.
6. Organizing information
If you wear many hats while running a startup, your personal and professional lives often intersect and further complicate how well you can stay organized at work and at home. OmniFocus can create a structured task management system to guide your daily decisions and keep you from getting distracted by information overload.
Currently available just for Mac, iPad and iPhone, OmniFocus can provide context to all the information that hits you on a daily basis, separating the relevant from the currently irrelevant so you can get more done at a faster rate without losing track of anything.
The software gives you notifications about upcoming events and tasks, and provides updates on the goals and objectives you have set as they relate to various tasks. Even better, it syncs information across all your Apple devices so you can jot a thought down on your iPhone and see it later on your Apple mini.
Two other helpful platforms are nTask, a user-friendly and affordable solution with its single pane of glass and third-party integration tools, and Gravity Flow, an option for web-based businesses with its plugin to automate and customize your business workflows.
FYI: Cash flow is critical to your company’s success, with more than 82% of businesses failing because of a lack of funds. Tools can help you manage tasks like payment, taxes and more.
7. Organizing cash flow
Although it might seem easy to organize cash flow as a startup, since there might be very little, you may get so caught up in the other aspects of your daily routine that you forget to send an invoice or remind a customer that a payment is overdue. That’s when it helps to have an online invoicing tool that gives you a dashboard view of your current invoices, including those past due and those upcoming.
Companies like FreshBooks deliver this capability so you can focus on core capabilities and still keep an eye on cash flow from any device. Our review of FreshBooks found that the online invoice tool sends invoices via email with convenient links to payment options like credit cards, e-checks, and payment portals like PayPal. You can set automated reminders and acknowledgments to keep a steady stream of cash flow.
QuickBooks is one of the best accounting software options for small business owners, due to its introductory package and user-friendly inventory management tools. QuickBooks alternatives include Wave, which offers e-commerce checkout tools, Etsy integration, intuitive and streamlined user interface. (There’s also a free version.) Another alternative is Zoho Books, which has tax support and bank reconciliation tools, contact management, accounts payable, estimate tools that help you bill customers accurately.
Why keeping your business organized is key to your success
Even after your startup is built out and you are generating revenue, these tools will grow with you and continue to keep your business organized. Many offer features that you can add later on to handle larger volumes and projects, so you never lose the efficiency that helped you from the start.
Peter Daisyme contributed to the writing and research in this article.