Now is a great time to take a higher-level view at your business and the tools that help you free up your time and energy to do what you do best, provide your products and services to the world. In today’s society, if you aren’t using these tools, you are losing money.
Online Presence – the world is digital, and you should be too. Your online presence starts with a website, and then most likely some consumer review sites and social media. A good online presence helps clients find you any time of day, determines if and how they will do business with you, and creates a confidence that you are the right fit for them and can provide what they need.
At a minimum every business should have a basic landing page that describes your products and services with pricing and contact information. Google My Business is also another platform you want be on to be easily searchable. Other optional platforms include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, one of the many Podcast platforms, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and dozens of other local pages.
Customer Relations Management and Outreach – managing and communicating with those who have already been sold on your products and/or services is imperative. These clients have already passed the entry barrier and know what you offer to them. Keeping in touch can ensure reoccurring business and keep you front of mind when they themselves or a friend needs something you offer.
With multiple ways to collect client contact information, most likely you already have some gathered and should be staying in touch. Collection has most likely already started by intake forms, payment service providers, or signups. With that all you need to do is type up some updates and/or add email campaigns so the communication work can be left to software. Simply set up your messages, let the system do the rest, and see your sales exponentially grow.
Project Management – organization is key for any small business owner who wears multiple hats and/or with employees. From very detailed, step by step, industry specific programs to free digital sticky note type software applications, staying organized should be a top priority. Project management helps you staying focused on the goals you have and ensuring you never miss a deadline.
In addition to the pure organization impact, it also helps you and your team stay informed and on the same path. From vendors to employees to clients, software applications can keep all informed and on demand.
Financial/Accounting Management – ignoring your finances is the quickest way to go out of business prematurely. Tracking your expenses and revenues is critical to ensure that you are sustainable, profitable, and on the right track. Additionally, good tracking helps you and your business when it comes to matters with the IRS. From a simple excel sheet to QuickBooks to phone apps to registers, there’s no reason you shouldn’t always know where your business financials stand.
Depending on your quantity of transactions, the complexness of your accounts payables and receivables, your IRS requirements, your time constraints you must decide whether you want to personally do the work, hire an inhouse accountant, mix inhouse and outsourced, or hire a licensed contracted CPA to do it all. The options are endless, and the costs can vary.
Customer Service Tools – customer service is crucial in surviving todays connected world. Making sure your clients are served well and consistently is make or break. With the ability for reviews and spread of information, taking good care of your clients is essential for survival. From feedback forms to reviews to customer service numbers and tracking the tool that’s right for you and your business is out there.
If you have employees or contractors working for you, remember they are your face/voice to your clients. They should understand your expectations and desires for customer service. Additionally, happy employees can be the gamechanger for happy clients.
Business Planning Tools – do you have a solid business plan? Is your mission clear? Do you plan projects months and years out? Do you have a progression of offerings? Do you schedule reflection time to ensure you are staying relevant?
With forms all over the web, business coaches and consultants in abundance, and free community resources you should know your roadmap and ensure your long-term success. A regular review of your offerings, your competition, your client’s needs, advancements in your field, and up and coming trends should be something on your calendar.
Communication Tools – good communication internally and externally are vital. Clients, staff, vendors, and the world want to know what to expect and to have consistent messaging. With the advancements in digital communication there are numerous opportunities for your message to be dropped, missed or misunderstood. Communication tools and clear uses of them can set you and your teams up for success.
The options are endless, and each organization must decide and communicate what is best for them. From face to face conversations to text messages to emails to social media to mail to video to you name it our world is filled with a million ways to connect and communicate. Making sure your communication mediums meet your needs, your client’s needs, and is efficient is worth taking a closer look at.
Human Resource Management – if you have employees, you have not only numerous laws to abide by and people to “take care of” but the need for leadership. From the basic filing requirements to keeping a happy organization your human resources should be your number one priority. They are the image to your clients and the backbone to your success.
Managing “humans” can be done in a variety of ways. There are services that provide you staff, there are contractors for hire, there are software applications to make sure you check all the boxes, and there are HR professionals to do it all for you.
And last but not least...Document Management – papers and paper filings are somewhat a way of the past. In the digital world it is very easy to keep things up to date, accessible, and organized. From cloud services to document management software applications keeping the files you need when you need them available is easy and efficient. Research which one is right for you and your “paperwork” needs.
With an abundance of tools, plenty of reviews and information on the web, and others in your shoes to ask picking the right tool should be fairly easy. If you need any help, advice, or direction, send us an email at email@example.com (yes, .co) with the title Business Tools Help and we will get right back to you!