Whether it's creating an employee work schedule, maintaining the books or making strategic tweaks to a product, every business plans differently. Here's how these three small-business owners handle it.

Whether it’s creating an employee work schedule, maintaining the books or making strategic tweaks to a product or service, every business does things a little bit differently. Perhaps, though, some planning techniques can be more productive and cost-efficient than others.

Is better technology the answer? According to SCORE’s 2014 annual small-business survey, a top priority for 49 percent of small-business owners are technology-tool related investments. Seventy-two percent of respondents believe that new technologies will offer them a bigger return on their business.

I asked three small-business owners to tell me how they run their businesses on an everyday basis, including the systems and technologies that have worked best and the systems they were forced to change. Here are insights from Rahim Charania, CEO of alternative fuel manufacturer American Fueling Systems (AFS) in Atlanta; Jodi Glickman, founder of leadership development and communication firm Great on the Job in Chicago; and Lisa Sutton, co-founder of Sin City Cupcakes in Las Vegas.

What two to three systems or technologies are critical to the seamless operation of your business? How did you choose these systems?

Jodi Glickman: Dropbox and Free Conference Call are the tools we use most and couldn’t live without. Dropbox was recommended by a colleague. We were emailing files to each other and had issues. When we finally got to Dropbox, it was as if the seas parted and there was a ray of light. I couldn’t run a business without Dropbox. My team has people in three different cities, and we can access our files all the time. I don’t worry about security issues. I don’t worry about losing files or not being able to access them. As for Free Conference Call, we’re on the phone with clients constantly, and it always works!





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