These tech solutions keep your distributed workforce together
You’re a savvy entrepreneur who has worked hard to build a business that’s now growing rapidly—and your distributed workforce is growing with it, spread over an ever-expanding geography. It’s crucial that you have the right tools in place to help everyone stay connected, especially to you, as you manage the company’s growth.
That geographically diverse workforce is called, in geek-speak, a “mobile workforce,” and there’s a plethora of great new tools available to help you manage it. Here are some tools you can use to bring your mobile workforce closer together:
- A mobile payment solution so you and your staff can accept payments wherever you are. The most well-known option in this space is Square, which provides a dongle that plugs into an iOS or Android device, enabling you to process payments on the go. Other providers include Chase, PayPal, and Etsy. Terms vary, so you may want to compare a couple of options before choosing a vendor.
- Cloud-based email and document sharing. Google Apps For Business is the top offering. Google has given every small business an office “to go” with professional email, Google Docs (a shared drive in the cloud), video Hangouts, shared calendars, and more. It’s very simple to use. There are free options, but for about $25 a month you gain phone support, which can be very handy when you don’t have an IT department.
- Digital signature software to remove barriers to getting contracts and invoices signed. A digital signature (also called e-signature) solution like Adobe Document Cloud (formerly EchoSign) or DocuSign can really help streamline the process of getting documents signed—these services can facilitate everything securely over email and the Web in just a few minutes.
- A program to capture and share leads and contacts. CamCard is a great tool for business people on the go—it enables you to essentially scan business cards and have them automatically dumped into your contacts. From there, you can easily share them with colleagues
- Expense tracking and management. Keeping up with expenses can be the bane of the small business owner’s existence—gathering receipts, managing petty cash, entering everything into a register. And this pain is amplified when you have multiple employees on the road. Bento for Business offers a prepaid commercial MasterCard that gives business owners complete control over what employees can buy on their dime, eliminating those pesky expense leaks. Plus, it integrates with QuickBooks to make expense tracking a snap.
Are there other tools you’ve found are must-haves for your business? Please share below.