You have probably heard people make a boast like, “I can do the work of 10 men (or women, take your pick)!”
If only it were true.
Being able to rely on this kind of productivity from any employee would be a tremendous asset for a small business. However, it’s even better when we can get that kind of productivity out of software, because software works 24-7 without complaints. And OHSA doesn’t come in and inspect the working conditions our software is laboring under.
Software as a Service (Saas) is a field that is growing every day. Over time, the winners will stick around and grow while the less successful entries in the field with either go home or pivot and come up with a better idea.
I’m going to touch on five areas that will boost the productivity for a wide variety of small businesses. If you’re a solopreneur you’ll find some useful items on the list. And if you’re further ahead on the growth curve, you’ll find additional opportunities outlined here.
How to Expand Your Team with Technology
If you started your business today with nothing more than a simple WordPress site, one of the next things you need to do is head over to any of the email service providers – Aweber is always highly rated for this — and set up an autoresponder or two. An autoresponder can be used to automate a range of email responses.
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Back in the day, a sales rep would have a trusty Daytimer filled with calendar reminders to call various people on certain days to follow up on an initial sales contact. In the virtual world, autoresponders take over this burdensome chore.
Tip: Be sure to carefully map out the series of messages you want to send. Make sure they are logical and build to a climax.
Customer Relationship Management Systems
The next logical step after autoresponders is a full-on CRM system. Here you can be somewhat more sensitive in your responses. You can set up “if-then” tests that put different contacts into different pipelines.
Some systems, such as Infusionsoft, will let you set up rules to grade prospects on how “hot” they might be and then you can use that rating to place them in a campaign that might involve emails or personal contact.
Filling Up the Funnel
Can you imagine having a sales rep who could do the work of 10 sales reps?
With a predictive dialing system like Calltools you can get this kind of productivity. One of the most labor-intensive jobs sales teams have to do is call names on a list and wait for people to answer. Tools like this eliminate that inefficiency. Do you really want to be paying people to listen to phones ringing off the hook?
So far I’ve focused on tools that will help you send dollars to the top line. However, in a market economy that has swings, you can’t always have complete control over your sales; but you can – and should – have complete control over your costs. You need to control your overhead and there are good tools for this as well.
Reducing Indirect Labor Costs
Software like Jobber works great for small businesses that need to schedule mobile service calls. It can optimize schedules and routes just to name a couple of features that help you boost productivity. Think of the amount of paperwork you eliminate when you can hand tasks like this over to a SaaS provider.
But if you have an employee-intensive business like a restaurant or retail store, you know the hassles involved with scheduling. Software like When I Work will greatly reduce your burden – as well as hassles with employees.
Finally, make sure you’re getting the most out of your accounting software. If you aren’t using its automation features, you’re cheating yourself. And if it doesn’t offer automated billing via email that includes “pay now” links for example, it’s time to look for a new system.
A key principle to follow with all of these is to never stop improving your processes. Ultimately, when two competitors are evenly matched, the winner will be the one that is more efficient.
Make sure that’s you.
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