There are a few staple categories of small business administrative software. Most fall into categories of the essential, but the increasing diversity of each type lets businesses tailor to more specific needs. Some features or categories will be indispensable while others may seem highly specialized or unnecessary for your current stage of growth. Perhaps you have been functioning with software integrating all the main groups of administrative software and are looking to adapt with something new. Hopefully this guide will help navigate what is available.
Team collaboration software can include and overlap with task or project management software and plays a key role in the process and outcome of coordinated group work.
Task management software like Asana can sufficiently allow users to create and delegate multi-layered collaborative tasks but is simpler and created for extra-organizational activities with the individual user’s work-life balance in mind.
Project management software is more extensive with in-depth cross-user collaboration. Here is a helpful guide for determining which suits your business. There are lots of intuitive task management software that can immediately help you organize individual tasks or a series of small collaborative maneuvers.
Project management software allows for room to grow. In general, task management software can help accomplish many of your smaller, short-term goals but project management is its own skill within a company. Project management software often requires more learning for comprehensive use but allows the extensive and complete organizational coverage that larger endeavors call for.
Content management software, or CMS, enables the collaborative creation or integration and revision of online content through a centralized platform. It does not have to include publishing capabilities and can be reserved for internal use such as Dropbox or Google Drive, but also shares functions with web content management and website building software. In a limited number of settings, each type can be used interchangeably, but they also have important distinctions that impact many other areas of use.
Web content management includes access, file sync, edit and share capabilities between users, but also is bundled with the capability to publish this content on the web. For the needs of a small business, and given how easily most systems can seamlessly integrate web publishing, you may not need to distinguish.
As a tried-and-tested web content management system, WordPress does not require coding skills. Considering that this humble program powers 27 percent of the internet, it still wouldn’t be a bad time investment to learn the basic HTML, CSS or PHP to access a wider range of functionality beyond what the theme plugins have to offer. There is a good selection of website building software requiring no technological knowhow beyond learn-as-you-go intuitive click-and-drag interface design. Wix, Weebly and Squarespace are examples, offering monthly services from free to $15 per month. Knowing basic code will expand functionality within these frameworks as well.
Time tracking software can benefit small-business owners managing in-house and freelance workers. It can help to focus on problem areas of the work and completion process to help tailor a more agreeable use of billable hours for all parties.
Mobile time tracking is especially desirable for freelance and telecommuting, allowing users to keep on task with a sense of accountability to both themselves and the employer.
Knowing that a clock is ticking somewhere in relation to a designated task can be very helpful for focus instead of stressing about other aspects of a large project that needs to get done.
Some options allow adjustment of hourly or fee-based rates to specifications like task, project and user. Paymo offers most of these features, along with other popular ones like Harvest and Toggle. This top ten list is a good place to get familiar with what is available.
Document creation software can be collaborative or solo, remotely accessible on a mobile device or simply for use on a desktop. It is fairly straightforward and many business content management systems come with a document creation element like Google Docs or Dropbox.
Microsoft Word remains an industry standard that has also adapted to function extremely well among different operating systems, devices and collaborators. Pages receives excellent user feedback and is included in the newer Mac suite but requires more steps to send and convert documents across outside operating systems and devices.