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Whether you’re running your website from scratch or using a template-focused website builder, you’re bound to encounter unfamiliar terms and situations that are vital to your operations. Problems with your systems and workflow can become endlessly frustrating when you don’t have the proper means to address them. The essential business tools for online entrepreneurs that you want to choose should take care of needs in these three categories:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is an umbrella term entrepreneurs will run into often. CRM encompasses customer experience from marketing and lead generation to payments. Team members can usually run this process manually for small ventures, with employees handling any necessary calls, directly sending out promotions, and keeping track of sales. However, the scalable and sanity-maintaining alternative to juggling all promotional emails and sales records is to implement CRM software early on. If you find yourself struggling to handle spreadsheets or losing track of order information, it’s wise to invest in CRM software to increase efficiency and create a consistent customer experience.
Project management software is massively important to small teams, especially where each member tends to have a hand in every part of the business. If too many members are all responsible for the same kind of task and there’s no record of who is working on what, finding out how certain jobs fell through the cracks can be frustrating for the whole team. Developing a strategy for organizing and tracking work can also make tracking performance analytics easier and give you something to tweak over time to better your business. Graduating project management from sticky notes on a whiteboard to the virtual space allows for more customization and control and, of course, keeps the team from losing track of things.
Payment processing providers are perhaps one of the most crucial aspects of running an online business. First of all, you need to be able to accept payments. Second, customers need to be confident in the charging process, or, no matter how much they want your product, they’ll refrain from making a purchase because they feel their information is at risk. Before choosing a payment processor, make sure they offer 24/7 online or phone support so that you can assist your customers as quickly as possible. Also, ensure that developer support is part of the package you choose if you have a development team.
Covering these three areas will give you a solid foundation for operating your virtual business successfully. As you begin purchasing software to set up your e-commerce business, one thing to avoid is unnecessarily overlapping software functions and overpaying. You will need to spend time with these essential business tools for online entrepreneurs as their learning curves come in a wide range. The last thing you want is to not know how your tools work when a customer needs you to.
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