We all love technology. Well, some of us love technology and some of us have to learn to love it. Whichever way you look at it, new technology can help small businesses reduce their workload and work much smarter and much more efficiently, all of which can lead to profit even when you're not sitting at your desk. Today, we're going to share five technologies that you can implement into your business and save yourself some time and money, right now.
1. Project Management Software
As a manager, you like to be organized. Project management software allows you to work smart, not hard. You can track every single project that you have going on, not only in your own business but in all of your dealings with clients. With PM software, you can see the state of progress at every single moment, and over multiple projects.
Keeping a record of what was said, by whom and when; who agreed to do something by a specific time; individual price arrangements for different clients. All of this extremely necessary information can really clog up your inbox.
Project management software allows you to not only assign tasks to all of your different team members and to yourself, it also provides a way to collaborate on documents. You can upload documents, PowerPoint presentations, and just about anything you want your team to review. Plus, You can also create messages within the different project areas which means that it replaces all those pesky emails.
2. Online Scheduling Software
The second technology that can save you a huge amount of time and money is an online scheduling software. Small business owners are busy, busy people who probably spend far too much time simply scheduling their calendars. Or they have to pay a PA to do it for them.
There are a lot of different time calendars available online, time calendars, including some that allow you to integrate with conference lines and sends up to three reminders before you even get to your appointment. They can also send an automated 'thank you' after the meeting.
But an online scheduling software does more. It makes it much easier for your clients to book appointments with you because all they have to do is click on a link. Clients can see your availability, they can choose a time that works for them, and they can immediately see when you are available. The software will also send out reminders as the appointment date approaches, to your clients, and to you, too.
3. Customer Relationship Management Software
This software can be incredibly useful, especially if you're doing a lot of marketing. Customer relationship management, or CRM, allows you to put your marketing and sales systems on autopilot. CRM works for all kinds of businesses, including traditional bricks-and-mortar companies.
The reason CRM is so important is that you want to be able to help your clients get through your funnel. From the moment someone finds you online and says, 'Yes I'd like more information,' you immediately want to be able to start a relationship, start communicating with them and help them get the information that they need to learn more about you and what you can offer them.
Used properly, CRM can save you heaps of time and money. No more sending all of those emails manually. No more time-consuming phone calls. Simply set up an automated marketing system that allows you to communicate with your clients and helps them move through the funnel, and eventually get on your calendar, if they're a good fit.
The whole idea of customer relationship software is to simplify your marketing. It allows you more freedom and most importantly, it helps you cultivate a lot more clients.
4. Information Capture Software
We've already mentioned funnels. A marketing funnel is a little bit what it sounds like. Information capture software starts with a page on your company website. Sometimes called a squeeze or landing page, it's designed to capture people's information.
The idea is to drive potential customers to your web page with the promise of a freebie or more information. Something like 'Hey, would you like more information click here!' 'Would you like to attend a webinar click here!' 'Would you like a FREE special report or free mp3?' Click here! You get the idea. Information capture software automates the entire marketing funnel process. Landing and squeeze pages come pre-prepared and can be customised to your individual business.
5. Phone System Service
This is a really simple one, but a lot of entrepreneurs are missing
a phone system in their business strategy. Don't use Gmail, AOL or anything similar for business communications. You want to show your clients that you have an established company, and one of the best ways to do this is to incorporate phone system software.
With PSS, your clients can call anytime, and will always receive a voice mail. This means you can choose when you call them back. This function is extremely useful, especially if you run virtual teams or if you want your team members to be able to work together online.
Online phone system services are relatively inexpensive. They allow you to leave a branded message where you can let people know more about what you do. Plus, you can route calls to different people, depending on the level of inquiry, and the response required.
The beauty of online phone services is that they can grow with you. Even if you are a solo entrepreneur at this moment, sooner or later, your business is going to expand. Phone systems are entirely scalable, no matter how small or large your company's infrastructure might be. They also mean you can answer the phone from anywhere in the world.