In this day and age, there seems to be infinite types of solutions out there for everything that you could imagine in business. The age of the cloud has changed the game as costs have dropped tremendously as the SaaS (Software as a Service) model has seemed to take over the entire landscape. What used to cost tens of thousands of dollars, or even more if you’d have to custom build, now can be purchased with small monthly fees per user, allowing businesses to use enterprise type of products that would have otherwise been price restrictive.
Out of everything out there, there are a few types of products that I believe have really changed the game for us here at IQ.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – In my opinion, the need for a CRM in any business is crucial in today’s fast paced environment. With Customer Service (Customer Success here at IQ) (Put a link to my blog on Journey from Customer Service to Customer Success) being a definitive benchmark on customer retention having the best information in a CRM database that the entire company can utilize, update, and trust, not only keeps everyone on the same page but increases the customer experience. How frustrating is it when you call a company and they don’t even know you called yesterday? That is what can be avoided with a good CRM. SalesForce is the 800lb gorilla, but there are dozens of options out there. We use SugarCRM which is more open source and allows customization and flexibility. They all have pros and cons and you need to find what is best for your business.
- Email, Calendar, and Storage – When we first started IQ, just before cloud offerings were becoming mainstream, we were using email though GoDaddy and Outlook and creating everything on each machine locally which was quite time intensive, difficult to keep up with on boarding and off boarding, lacked shared calendar integration and forced us to always email documents with no ability to have a shared drive. Also, syncing between mobile devices and machines was not possible. The options were out there if you could afford to get an in house sever and someone to manage it, but for small businesses that was typically out of the questions. Today with solutions like Google Apps for Work and Microsoft 365, small businesses can again have a cloud solution that beats what enterprise clients used to pay a fortune for. We use Google. They are fantastic in all ways and cost only $5/user/mo. It’s actually amazing what we get for the money we pay.
- Password Managers – As a business grows there is one inevitable challenge that every business faces this day and age – how to manage passwords! This is quite a daunting task. Do you create a binder with all of the passwords? That doesn’t seem too safe… What happens when employees come and go? How do you manage distribution of the hundreds of passwords? At a small company like IQ this was a huge challenge, so the challenge this in a large company has to be 10x. Good thing there are solutions like Bitium, Dashlane, and LastPass that allow you to create very secure passwords that you can share with your teams without them ever seeing them, saves a ton of time, and will automatically login your team. We use Bitium as it works really well, makes on boarding and off boarding super easy and integrates with Google Apps for Work.
Overall there are a ton of SaaS products out there for pretty much any challenge inside of your business. These type of technology based solutions have really helped IQ grow with a minimal investment. These three key aspects of our business are ones that I’m sure every business out there can feel the pain with and I’m sure there are several other that are industry and business specific.
What products do you love? Please share thoughts, experiences, and feedback that has helped your company grow!