This also applies to similar things like website design & financial planning templates. Then there are the many spreadsheets required, like checkbook balancing and financial statements. There are also the truckload of office document formats like contracts, independent contractor agreements and job application forms.
Then there are the checklists. It may seem superficial, but entire businesses have collapsed because there wasn't a checklist handy when needed. Collect checklists for everything from franchising to trademarks and dealing with the taxman, customer lawsuit or a subpoena. The only option to not having checklists is to keep an expert for each crucial issue close at hand and ready to offer advice, if the business can afford it.
All of this is but only the tip of the iceberg. The real value lies in more complex usage, like customer relations, sales & marketing, HR management and performance analysis. Some of these are freely available, like a tool which helps poll customers and tabulate the survey data into charts and reports.
Whenever there is a task to be done, just head for the search engines or a biz resource site and find a tool to get it done quick and easy. For example, anyone could be forgiven for thinking that there won't be any tool that helps in selling or buying a company. But there are actually many that can be really helpful, such as valuation calculators which will spit out an instant ballpark figure. This is an incredibly useful tool when trying to research the value of many companies.
Another area where a tool is required for just about everything is Human Resources. There are always repetitive tasks here such as printing out all kinds of forms for employee appraisals and satisfaction surveys, not to mention new job applications. Also, the task of keeping benefits programs on track while squeezing tax breaks out of it can be made less difficult by using the right kind of business tools.
The biggest use of a proper toolkit is in the sales and marketing fields. Collection of metrics and data analysis needs a few high-tech tools. Worksheets are created to evaluate ad campaign effectiveness, and put a number on the cost of customer acquisition. A telemarketing tool in the right hands can be devastatingly effective.
Before this turns into a multi-page laundry list of small business tools, let's just summarize by remembering what's important. When faced with a task that needs to be done from scratch, there will always be a tool to make it easy. This is because no matter what it is, there's always someone somewhere who has faced the same issue and come up with a standard tool to do the work. This is true for every business planning, so don't reinvent the wheel - just use the small business tools.
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