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5 must-have tools for every small business


Want to work smarter, not harder? Check out our expert tips on the most helpful tools for small business owners.

From marketing and HR to finance and accounting, it's not unusual for small business owners to have their hand in every business discipline within their organisation.

Instead of entire departments focusing on something, they might have one person looking at it or they might be taking on the entire role themselves.

It's no surprise that small business owners quickly become jack of all trades. And what does a jack of all trades need above anything else? That's right, a fully-stocked tool kit.

With that in mind, we reached out to a variety of small business owners and experts to find out which tools they use - and love - on a daily basis. How many do you have on-hand?

A budget

It might sound simple, but a clear and well-crafted budget is one of the few business tools that is just as relevant today and it was 200 years ago.

In fact, finance expert and Honed Accounting director Jeff Williams says budgets are his all-time favourite business tool. A business without one will find it far harder to forecast results and reach their potential.

"Budgets help you understand your fixed expenses and your monthly break-even costs so you can set your minimum sales targets and easily project profits," he told Finder.

A business card

Staying in the realm of finance and budgeting, business credit and charge cards can also help small businesses with everyday expenses as well as more long-term goals.

"If you've got a business card, you can account for all those transactions directly into your accounting system, whereas if you're using a personal credit card, you have to sift through the personal costs to find the business expenses," says financial educator and CFO Amanda Fisher. "It's messier and will cost more in bookkeeping time than is necessary."

But business cards can help with more than just expense tracking. They can also help with cash flow management and open up more opportunities.

Let's use the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card as an example. Card members can access up to 51 days to pay for purchases.1

This can help alleviate cash flow issues by giving business owners some extra breathing space between buying something and actually paying for it.

It can also make certain opportunities easier for business owners. For example, a business may be turning away customers because they aren't equipped to meet orders. However, they could use their business card to pay for extra machinery, and then use the increased revenue to help pay off the balance in retrospect.

Amanda Fisher

Social media scheduling

Most business owners try their hand at some form of social media but Amy Flanagan, owner of booking agency Spill District, says many are making things more difficult than they have to be.

"Lots of small businesses run their social media strategy on an ad-hoc basis, posting when they feel like it or, more commonly, when they manage to find a spare 15 minutes," she told Finder. "It might not feel like it, but this is actually more work for them in the long-run."

Instead, Flanagan says business owners should be utilising social media scheduling platforms which let them manage their posts in batches, ahead of time.

"Many scheduling platforms also allow for visual-planning and post-analysis so it's easier for businesses to create a cohesive social media presence and make informed decisions about the content which is working best for their brand," she said.

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A password protector

A cyber security breach could spell disaster for small businesses and one of the most common causes comes down to weak or compromised passwords - but it's largely preventable.

"Password managers ensure your passwords are strong by generating unique encrypted passwords for you to use," says Daniel Florido, tech lead and developer for Pixelstorm.

But password managers go beyond just creating strong passwords. They'll warn users of weak or duplicate passwords, automatically provide your password when you arrive at a site, and allow you to share log-in information with others, without actually disclosing the password.

"This is possible because a password manager handles the act of logging into a website for you" says Florido. "Therefore there is no reason to view the password."

Communication platforms

Prolonged uncertainty has forced businesses to adapt and react quicker than ever before. The result? Communication is moving towards a more instant set-up, on platforms that offer built-in task management tools.

"With constant changes to plans and scheduling, there is a major emphasis on communicating in real-time," said Matt Nissen, COO at fitness studio Infinite Cycle.

With locations all across the East Coast of Australia, Infinite Cycle turned to Slack for internal communication and better task management.

"It solved the problem of time wasting looking through emails and messages and has ensured we complete tasks in a timely and efficient manner," he said.

Matt Nissen

Equip your business with a credit or charge card

Name Product Bonus points Rewards points per $ spent Complimentary travel insurance Minimum annual revenue Annual fee
American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card
Annual fee
(ABN holders w/ $75k revenue). Earn 170,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $6,000 in the first 3 months.
American Express Platinum Business Card
Annual fee
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 350,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $12,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months.
American Express Business Explorer Credit Card
Annual fee
$0 first year ($149 after)
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Save with a $0 first-year annual fee and earn up to 2 points on eligible business spending.

Offers featured in the table are available to new card members only. T&Cs apply.

Compare other business cards here

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