“Streamline your scheduling! … for companies with 500+ employees.”

“Manage your customer service! … for just eleventy billion dollars per month.”

“Project management software for free! … unless you have more than one project to manage.”

Sound familiar? If you run a super small business—say, 1-5 people—then you’re no stranger to these types of services. They’ll offer you a great way to manage customers, or they’ll offer a great SaaS program…only for you to find out that their solutions are tailored to mid-size companies with huge budgets and monstrous employee counts.

There always seems to be a catch, and no one knows that better than the super small business owner.

Fortunately, not all tools and solutions have a “catch” like the ones referenced above. You don’t have to have the revenue of a major corporation to have access to great software and online tools, either.

If you’ve been having trouble keeping up with all of your customers, delegating workload, and managing each task in front of you, the solutions are out there. You just have to know where to look.

Coordinating Time and Scheduling

The first thing you need to do is get your team on the same page. Heck, it would be nice if you could get your team on the same book. That starts with time management.

Unfortunately, managing your time as a team can be difficult. It seems as though every new team member adds an exponential complication to setting new meetings or coordinating project deadlines. Here are a few tools that will immediately cut your frustration in half:


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These tools are built for small-ish businesses, but have pricing tiers that are more than reasonable for the business of 1-5 employees. We highly recommend checking them out.

Tools for Customer Service and Tracking

You’re not a 500-employee company, but managing your customers can still be difficult—especially if there are only a few of you to coordinate customer service. That’s why it’s critical to use the right tools and strategies for tracking each customer issue.

Of course, the tools will only get you so far. You also have to utilize customer service strategies if you’re going to cut down on the amount of time you spend with customers each day. This infographic from Entrepreneur.com has a lot to offer in terms of identifying the problems and focusing on the solutions. Some highlights:

Four Strategies for Managing a Small Team

Of course, your tools aren’t going to do a whole lot unless you have the strategies to make them work.

  1. Set an actionable, definable goal. How are you going to define better team management? If you run ten meetings per week, maybe you can aim for three—or one—instead. The key is that you want to set actionable, real, specific goals. With a realistic number to shoot for, you’ll have a barometer to gauge your progress in managing the team.

  2. Make the changes now, not later. It’s important to be decisive, particularly when the tools are so easy to implement and so affordable. If there’s a free trial for a software solution out there, let your team know that you’re going to be using that program now—not a week from now. The sooner you get to work solving your management problems, the quicker you’ll get results.

  3. Build over time. You don’t have to do it all in one week. Make one change this week, and then set a goal for incorporating a new change next week. No one understands that it’s difficult to change someone’s behavior better than a small business owner who knows one to four key people very well. So don’t be afraid to work in incremenets. The results will add up by the end of the year.

  4. Cut out what doesn’t work. Did one tool not work out for you? Does one strategy not seem to be changing things? Then ditch them. The only real failure is the failure to take action; everything else is just feedback. So don’t be afraid to cut out a new program that isn’t having the results you wanted. View it all as part of an experiment to better managing your team, your time, and your company.

** Your Turn:** What solutions do you use for your super small business?