As small business owners we wear many hats from manager to sales person and sometimes the receptionist too. With all the tasks on your list, it is more important than ever to work smarter and not harder. There is no better way to do this than to embrace technology to lighten the load. It is a known fact that small business owners are slow to embrace technology, but with fierce competition from the big players in the market it is no longer an option but a necessity to use technology to our advantage. It is high time you audit your business processes and systems and replace the time consuming tasks with super efficient systems. Here are some changes you should consider for your business:
Scheduling your calendar, appointments and other tasks
There is so much to consider and keep track of as a small business owner. Prior to when you eventually hire a virtual assistant or PA, you should invest in a scheduling program such as Evernote to ensure you keep track of all your appointments. Client appointments can also be managed with systems such as TimeTrader and other similar options.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
This is a powerful tool that can make a huge difference to how you run your business. A CRM system such as Basecamp helps you manage projects effectively. Keeps you on track and helps you identify what is outstanding or needs attention. This is extremely useful if you are working in a team and need to keep the lines of communication open between members.
Booking, Accounting and Invoicing
No more double sided ledger, save yourself some time by investing in accounting software which your accountant can access too. There are also many invoicing systems online to help you bill your customers and keep records of all your transactions all in one place. I use Integrity invoice – simple, effective and gets the job done.
Your Website, E-commerce System
Do you use online payment facilities or are you a cash-based business. It is high time you create a seamless online system to manage your orders and sales process. PayPal is one of the most used payment portals around the world, easy to set up and use. Remember to factor in the commission when you set your prices. It is a convenient way to pay for goods and services and worth investing in for your business.
Online banking is a must if you want to keep track of your income and expenses regularly and effectively. You can make and check payments, download statements regularly and keep tab of your business transactions too.
Search engines are the authority on most things online. If your business is not online yet, you must make this a priority to get onboard and grow your online presence. It is now common place for new acquaintances to Google your name and business to learn more about you. If you are not online, you could be missing out on some great business opportunities. Infusion soft is one of the most versatile marketing systems online. It might be worth researching into a few and find the one that suits your business model.
Email marketing is fast becoming one of the most important tools of any business who wants to maintain great relationships with its clients. I use Constant Contact and there are other options such as Mailchimp and Aweber.
Online Meetings, conferences, webinars and other visual software programs save you travel time and get the work done smarter. Cut down time wasted travelling from to meet clients and do more virtually.
Do not spend all day managing your social media portals. If you have not employed a social media manager, why not use a social media scheduler such as Hootsuite or Tweedeck. There are so many on the market to make your social media management an easier to manage and monitor.
Now is the time to review your business operations. Explore where and how you can embrace technological advancements, so you can run your business more efficiently and increase your success rate.
I wish you good success
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