It took me a good deal of time to choose the best products not just for my businesses, but also for my clients.
Right now, I’m using the following products:
QuickBooks: This is a great program for any small businesses – but it’s only a great program if it is properly set-up for the individual business that’s using it. Proper set-up includes using the correct product; certain businesses thrive using QuickBooks Online, while others really need to use the desktop product. Though QuickBooks seems to want to phase out their desktop product in the future, the online version isn’t yet ready for some sophisticated businesses to convert. Once the product has been selected, creating a solidly constructed Chart of Accounts is critical! Having someone help with your Chart of Accounts is a sound investment, considering the Chart drives much of the function in QuickBooks, whichever version you opt to use. The next step is to set up Items for services, inventory and non-inventory products, and taxes.
GoDaddy: I use GoDaddy for most of my online products, including my cpanel, certificates and security, websites/hosting, and Office 365. GoDaddy has cost-effective products and they have excellent customer support. Most people don’t require cpanels or worry about certificates; for most online presence, the business needs a domain and a website. If a business wants to manage their own website upkeep, using WordPress (really not one of my favorite products, but it’s user-friendly and has a large number of Plug-Ins) makes the most sense. There are currently a number of Plug-Ins that can link an online store to QuickBooks, so integrating these products is easy – but, again, paying someone to do the initial set-up will save you a number of headaches!
G-Mail/G-Suite: For some basic online services, I use G-Mail and Google Drive. I have a number of work locations, and having my documents and files accessible no matter where I am or what device I’m using is certainly convenient. When collaborating on projects with remote businesses, using Drive allows for mutual collaboration in real time. It’s pretty slick!
Microsoft’s new Teams app is an excellent way to communicate with your Team. As an app that’s integrated into the Microsoft/Office Suite, it’s convenient to use and very user-friendly. I will confess to being partial to Slack, though. Slack and Teams are similar in ease of use and the integration ability with Microsoft/Office exists on both platforms. Slack leads the pack, though, in that you can have multiple Slack “locations” for different customers and personal groups, whereas you are limited to only being logged in to one Teams account at a time.
And, of course, there’s Zoom. I love this for online meetings. It’s not as sophisticated as GoToMeeting is in terms of screen sharing and control, or doing customer support tickets, but it is easy to have meetings with medium-sized groups that are both effective and efficient.
The best thing about all of the products I mention is that they can be set-up to work together seamlessly, providing you know how to do your set-up.
Despite wanting to talk about certain favorite products, it seems that what seems most important to share is that even tech-savvy people and forward-thinking entrepreneurs definitely benefit from expert help when setting up the office/administrative workflows efficiently. I know I sure would have in my early days!