Every small and medium business face issues, many times attributed to sudden growth and sometimes due to lack of processes. Are you facing issues you suspect technology can resolve, but not sure where to start? We compiled a list of simple but highly effective tools you can deploy in your business to give it the boost it needs.
1. Digital Presence
As basic as it sounds, but it is very important and hence a must to mention. Google and Social Media’s like Facebook are the first places people go to search for what they need. You need to ensure you have basics sorted i.e. Google My Business account, Yellow page and localist listing, a good rank on Google (using Search Engine Optimisation techniques) and if you want to put some money behind advertising then Facebook Ads Manager and Google AdWords are great to extend your reach. These things will bring traffic to your website, and you do not want that opportunity to run out of your hands. You need to engage every website visitor like you do in a retail shop. There are tools available to provide Live Chat on your website and Facebook pages, which in this age are a must. You can create stunning websites with tools like www.wix.com and www.shopify.com, and provide Live Chat using www.thechatmate.com and www.livechatinc.com. Office 365 and Google G Suite can help you create a professional email like firstname.lastname@example.org in minutes.
2. Bring back customers with campaigns
How many times do you engage your customers, and remind them when a service is due? A business like carpet cleanings should send an email or a txt every 6 months reminding that the carpet cleaning is due now, and benefits of cleaning every 6 months. Businesses need to start utilising CRM’s which are easy to deploy and help them understand the customers’ lifecycle better. With an investment as little as $100 a month you can keep track of your customers and increase the lifetime value of the customer significantly. After all, it is far cheaper to retain an existing customer, then to acquire a new one. You can utilise tools like www.appointmentreminder.co.nz, www.hubspot.com, and www.campaignmonitor.com
3. Automate paperwork
Running a profitable business does not only depend on the revenue you generate but also how effectively you run your administrative support. A number of digital solutions help you schedule appointments, assign & track jobs, and invoice automatically. These solutions also enhance customer’s experience. This way, you can spend less time sorting out paperwork, and focus on growing your business and providing quality service instead. There are multiple apps to help you in day to day administration like scanning documents using your phone’s camera, www.dropbox.com to share documents, e-sign using www.echosign.com, customised paperless forms using www.easyforms.co.nz, and business automation using www.nextminute.com and www.workflowmax.com.
4. Know where customers are in your sales cycle
As a customer, you would have experienced not getting a call back from the business and instead you end up chasing them back. Also, many times you have asked a business to call you back in 3 months, and that never happens. Businesses need to keep track of all leads, opportunities, and activities to ensure they do not miss a lead again. It is quite easy to do with tools like www.pipedrive.com. With $15 a month, you can have full control on your sales pipeline. For complex requirements tools like www.zoho.com and www.salesforce.com do a great job.
5. Improve your cash flow with automated payments collection
Cashflow is very important for growing business, and you should always look at tools to automate payment collection. If you are sending an invoice from Xero, including Pay Now button will allow customers to pay promptly with their credit cards. If you are invoicing your customers regularly, look at enabling Direct debits using bank accounts and credit cards. It is far easier then it seems with companies like www.flo2cash.co.nz, www.ezidebit.co.nz, and www.simpleinvoice.com. If using Xero, setup auto reminders, and if you are a business with regular overdue payments use services like www.debtordaddy.com
Founder & CEO, Chatmate Limited
Andy is well regarded for his vision and ability to deliver results. He is passionate about helping start-up’s and growing business make that impact with use of the technology.