For years, economists and social scientists have debated whether or not computers have made us more productive.
The best answer is that it depends. It depends on the user, the computer resources they have available, and how they use those tools.
Employees spend up to two hours each workday on social media, which means they’re not working. They also spend too much time on email and meetings.
You can use computers for good, but you have to have the right resources in place to improve productivity.
What are the top computer resources that your business needs to maximize productivity? Read on to find out
1. Reliable Computer
The number one resource is a good, reliable computer. Think about what would happen if your computer suddenly broke down. You couldn’t work until the issue gets resolved. That leaves you with a loss of productivity and revenue.
You also need something powerful enough to handle the tasks you do regularly. Plus, more applications are demanding more computer resources.
If your computer can’t handle the workload, your work takes more time than it should. Your machine should grow with your business, too.
Sure, you can get a consumer-grade computer because it’s less expensive. You’ll end up having to replace it sooner because your needs will shift. The best class of computers that offer enough power is workstations.
These computers are built with demanding business applications in mind, whether you have to crunch complex data or get enough processing power for live streaming. You can find good deals on workstations at lenovo.com, HP, and Dell.
How do you manage all of your contacts and leads for your business? Do you have systems in place or try to manage everything in your head?
A customer relationship management system is designed to create a system for your leads. How many times have you missed opportunities because you didn’t follow up in time or at all? That’s potential revenue down the drain.
With a good CRM, you can remind yourself when to follow up with leads, and manage notes so you know where each lead is in the buying cycle.
HubSpot offers a basic CRM for free. You also have the option to upgrade to a paid version. Salesforce and Zoho are other top CRM providers.
3. Accounting and Bookkeeping Software
The importance of managing cash flow is behind this computer resource. Poor cash flow management is the reason why roughly 82% of all small businesses shut down.
A good accounting and bookkeeping solution tells you where you are financially at any point in time. You no longer need to track everything on a spreadsheet.
QuickBooks is the dominant accounting and bookkeeping software provider. There’s also Wave, which is free for small businesses and has many of the features that QuickBooks has.
4. Social Media Scheduler
People won’t know about your business unless you make it a point to tell them. With the majority of the world spending more time online, you need to be there as well.
The problem is that you can’t be there all of the time because you have a business to run. That’s the beauty of a social media scheduling tool.
You can upload your content into the schedule and let the schedule post at the right time. This puts your content in front of people when they’re online without the stress of having to be online.
Which tool you choose depends on what social networks you use the most. For example, if you’re on YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, then Loomly is a solution that performs well for all of these networks.
Tailwind is a popular choice for people who schedule to Pinterest and Instagram. Hootsuite, Later, and Sendible are other well-known schedulers.
5. Website CMS and Hosting
So, there’s CRM and CMS. What’s the difference? A CMS is a content management system. Think of it as the backend of your website.
WordPress is by far the most popular CMS, and almost 40% of all websites use the platform.
If you do use WordPress, then you need to have a fast and reliable website host. That’s because you want your website to load quickly and always be up.
What if you don’t want to go that route? Then you can use a service that costs more money, but it has a CMS and hosting in one platform. Shopify, BigCommerce, and Squarespace are services you should take a look at.
6. Email Marketing Suite
Email marketing is alive and well. It’s one of the resources that you need to have to help you be a better marketer. You can automate emails to warm leads, promote your business, or share information with your customers.
MailChimp, MailerLite, and Constant Contact rank among the top email providers. When you look for email providers, you want to make sure that the program integrates with your CRM for seamless communications.
7. Data Backup Tools
The information that you collect and store is the backbone of your business. Documents, contracts, plans, meeting notes, client work can live on your hard drive.
You need to have at least one backup tool to make sure you don’t lose that data because your hard drive failed. Smart businesses use external hard drives and a cloud platform like OneDrive or Google Drive. This way, you always have a copy available.
8. Presentation Equipment
Since everything went virtual over the last year, you need to deliver a great impression online. That means upgrading your tech for presentations.
You don’t need a television studio to do so. You’d be surprised to learn that you can get the business technology at a reasonable cost.
At the very least, a good webcam and microphone will help you project confidence to your audience.
9. Computer Security
Security should be one of your main business concerns. Some estimates show that 20% of small businesses are hacked each year. Being one of them can cost you thousands of dollars.
There are ways to secure your computer networks, such as investing in virtual private networks, which keep internet connections private and secure.
10. Calendar Management
It’s common for people to email back and forth to try to schedule a meeting. It’s so much easier to send a link to your calendar and have them book a meeting when it’s convenient for them.
That’s what a calendar management tool does. It integrates with your Google or Outlook calendar and lets people schedule meetings without the back and forth.
You can also embed them into your website to let new leads book an appointment instead of calling your business.
11. Productivity Assistance
You learned at the beginning of this article that employees spend way too much time on social media. There is a time and place for everything, and you can make it more difficult for employees to access social sites during the workday.
You can encourage employees to put their phones in focus mode, where they can turn off certain apps like Facebook and Instagram during the day. There are Chrome extensions and apps that will block social sites.
You can then shift your time and attention to using other productivity tools. Evernote helps you manage tasks and ideas. Recording apps capture ideas right away so you don’t forget your million-dollar ideas.
How to Choose the Right Computer Resources for Your Business
It’s really easy to get lost in all of the information out there. Fortunately, there are ways to narrow down your options to find the computer resources that are right for your business.
You need to take a look at your budget and how many people will need access to these computer resources. Most programs are priced on a per-user basis. That keeps them affordable, and you can scale up or down as needed.
You also need to see which areas of your business need the most improvement. If your sales team is struggling, a CRM can help. If your teams don’t communicate well, then start with messaging and communications tools.
Invest in Training
As you can tell, there are tons of different tools that help you make your work much easier. If a business invests in all of these tools and there are still problems, you need to take a fresh look at your business.
The bottom line is that you can have all of the shiny tools at your disposal, but if you or your employees don’t put them to use, then you’re wasting money.
You need to invest in training for these tools to make sure they are used. That will help your employees do their jobs better and you’ll see real results.
Advance Your Business With Computer Resources
Did you learn what computer resources are worth getting? The ones listed in this article are going to help your business do things more accurately and in less time. That can translate into real results and cost savings for your business.
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