The software you select to build your business has a big impact on the way your team operates. Running a remote team is more software-reliant than an office-based team, which makes your choices all the more important. There are hundreds of apps and services available that cover all aspects of running an online business. Some of these services are very niche and are only applicable to very specific industries. If there is a specific function you require from your software, you may need to do some additional research. For most businesses, however, the following list of software should cover normal business functions. These are my suggestions for the types of software you should be using. However, I don’t endorse any specific tool or company:
Your video chat software is your primary tool for voice communication.
Often built into your video chat software but also available as a stand-alone tool, screen sharing is key to allow your staff to collaborate on design projects as well as many other areas. It’s also very useful for the training of new staff on the software you use.
Instant messaging is going to be one of your most used tools in communicating with your staff. There are business-specific messaging tools which include more advanced features than standard instant messaging software.
This is the tool you’ll be using to manage the tasks for your team, so it plays a very important part in your software suite. There are many varieties of task management software available and they all differ in the way they’re designed to process tasks.
Choosing the right tool for your team is determined by the way you plan to work. You may need to trial various tools until you find the right fit.
A fundamental part of remote working is the ability to share files between staff with ease. The best option for this is to use a cloud storage system such as Google Drive or Dropbox. These tools allow your entire team to access shared folders in the cloud so that everybody has the same access to the same files.
Many cloud storage tools also include the ability to create and collaborate on documents and spreadsheets in the cloud. This is particularly useful for remote teams as it allows all team members to access and contribute to the same file at the same time without creating clashing versions.
Customer Relationship Management software is designed for sales-led businesses to help them stay on top of their communications with hundreds of customers. Your CRM can also be used as a contact database. Most modern CRMs include automations which allow you to contact your customers automatically based on various conditions.
Depending on your marketing strategy, there are various software solutions available for social, content and email marketing. These all assist by automating laborious marketing activities which are time-consuming and difficult to carry out manually. These tools are usually worth the investment due to the admin time they save your staff.
Collaborative design can be carried out simply with cloud-based design tools where changes can be seen in real-time and comments can be made within each design.
Shared calendars can be very useful to schedule shifts if working in multiple time zones. Time-tracking software can be used to help your staff keep track of how many hours they’re working to prevent them working too long (or short).
With all the above software in place, you’ll have a whole load of passwords to keep track of. Use a cloud-based password management tool to allow staff to store their passwords there.
If you are running an online business, an analytics solution will be extremely important.