12 Software Tools for SMEs to Boost Productivity

Alastair Brown

Most SMEs run a smaller budget than major businesses. But there’s no reason why they should miss out on cutting-edge software that improves productivity. Alastair Brown of Peninsula Group shares his top 12 tools to give your business a cost-effective boost.

1. G Suite

You can’t go wrong with Google’s fully integrated selection of intelligent apps. G Suite includes Gmail, Google Drive and Google Calendar.

Google aims to make managing projects easier for your business. Many SMEs couldn’t go a week without the various apps—their benefits are excellent and it’s an essential bit of software for managing your business, team, and projects.

2. Google Sheets

Make it count, Google tells us on its Google Sheets page. And with its free selection of software, you really can make it count.

The free service provides your business with access to:

  • Docs
  • Sheets
  • Slides
  • Forms

With those four platforms, you can ‘create, edit, and collaborate wherever you are.’ This includes setting up content calendars, managing documents, uploading new content, and creating presentations.

You can do that all online, where your details are stored in the cloud, making team collaborations easy.

For many SMEs, Google Sheets is absolutely essential. If you’ve not taken the time to get to grips with it yet, make sure you do.

3. HR software

Modern HR systems can really streamline your day-to-day administrative activities. Software such as BrightHR, for instance, acts as an integrated program to combine all essential HR functions.

In other words, it cuts out a lot of baggage traditionally associated with HR, such as reams of endless paperwork. With modern HR technology, you can remove the clutter from your office, all whilst ensuring your data is secure and easily accessible.

Its use goes further than this, such as managing the likes of shift rotas, tracking absences and monitoring holidays. Essential for any modern business.

4. Trello

Ultimately, if you’re an SME you have a lot of work to manage. Looking for a fun project management system that will get the job done? Trello is an industry leader that easily allows your team to keep track of their projects.

You can sign up for a free account. If you’re a small business, this is more than adequate. But you can pay for additional features that will expand the service to suit your needs.

The main point to Trello is that it helps organise your work in a vibrant piece of software that’s accessible, secure and reliable.

5. Slack

Slack is a free team chat service that can complement Trello. However, it’s also fine to use it as a standalone product if all you want is better communication between your employees.

But you can pay for additional features that open it up into a more comprehensive tool (if, for example, you need more storage space, or you have a lot of employees).

When linked to your Trello account (if you decide to use the project management system), you can streamline all of your projects, share updates, easily contact team members, and share files. All of this in an ultra-fast, polished, accessible and enjoyable environment.

6. Hootsuite

One of the ultimate social media planners available is Hootsuite which lets you plan in advance by setting up your social posts. You also have access to extensive reporting tools, which will show you the campaigns that work, as well as who you’re reaching.

If you want a cheaper piece of software, then there are alternatives. Buffer and Sprout Social are two options that are cost-effective and provide a very similar service.

7. Canva

This graphic design tool is free to use and provides some incredible creative opportunities for SMEs.

With Canva you can create beautiful designs for your social media posts, website, blog posts, and various other day-to-day activities.

It’s particularly useful if you’re on a limited budget and don’t have a web designer. If this is the case, turn to Canva for some professional looking designs.

8. Upwork

The gig economy is booming and it can prove a highly effective way to stay on top of your workloads. The likes of Upwork put you in touch with a big community of talented freelancers—take your pick and they’ll help you complete a project.

9. Finance tools

Keep on top of your business finances with an array of essential tools. There are many to choose from, but they can all help with your budgeting. Perhaps experiment with a few to find the one that suits your needs best.

If you need a few ideas, then the following are a great place to start:

10. Google Keep

One of Google’s lesser known services, Google Keep is note-taking software that comes packed with a host of interesting features. It also got a major upgrade in October 2018 with a batch of new options. So now is the time to take advantage of it.

11. Hemingwayapp

Not everyone in your office is going to be a wordsmith. But if they’re consistently making mistakes in their emails to clients, then you might want to direct them to the Hemingwayapp. It’s a handy diction and grammar corrector.

There’s also Grammarly, which is just as useful. Both options are free.

12. LastPass

The reality is we all have dozens of online accounts, all needing individual login details. Can you really remember every single one? If not, then the likes of LastPass can make your life much easier.

You’ll need to remember your login details for LastPass itself, but once you’re in it can quickly log you into your various accounts.

There’s also two-step authentication for the software, so you can keep all of your passwords secure in one location. It works as a major time saver for a hard-working team.

Peninsula Group has provided professional services to SMEs since 1983. Beginning as ‘just a few people in a room’ Peninsula understand what small business need to succeed and how to help them.