Small business owners understand that at some point, if growth is to continue, then processes must become more efficient and perhaps more automated. While it would be nice to have your hands in and on everything as you expand, it is not very realistic to believe you have enough time, energy and resources to do this. At some point you will become frustrated, burned out, and you may even consider giving up on your dream of financial independence. While there are a number of business products on the market that promise to increase efficiency, easy workload and provide measurable results, how do we know that these are true and valid claims? Not to worry--some of the legwork has been done for you with the writing of this post, and we are supremely confident that you will find at least one or two tools that will increase both efficacy and revenue as you look toward your New Year’s resolutions with firm resolve. Here are some small business tools you should consider incorporating into your business plan: For Project Management:
Trello--Most business projects have some type of organized workflow; can you imagine how your productivity would increase if you never had to worry about whiteboard markers or post-it notes that fell off the wall during a brainstorm session? Trello will allow for project collaboration without the hassle of manipulatives that can slow down the process.
WorkflowMax--This organizational tool enhances project processes by keeping track of who does what, when everything is due, and what has taken place in past actions. If you have any questions about delegating responsibility, this is the tool for you.
Slack--It can be frustrating to get everyone together for meetings when calendars are jam-packed already. Slack is an app that allows you to stay in touch with your team, providing instant communication while you are staying committed to your own timeline.
x.ai--So innovative that it’s slightly scary, x.ai is a virtual assistant that coordinates your projects, your appointments, your meetings, everything. What do you have left to do? Let’s hope your assistant doesn’t realize how powerful “it” is.
Yesware--Getting leads is one thing, getting them to say “yes” is something completely different. Software that manages automated responses, it also keeps track of who is logging in, who is downloading and streaming data, and who is responding to your automated inquiries for more of a commitment. Once you have achieved a certain comfort level with your leads, you can swoop in and close the sale. This will revolutionize your sales force.
Quickbooks--Quickbooks’ strength is its ability to integrate with other small business tools, keeping organization a snap. There is no need to transfer data into another program, as Quickbooks takes the additional step of copying and saving all into one savvy system.
Mailchimp--Mailchimp is the king of automated email campaigns; simply do the setup work once, and consider this a steady stream of marketing and social media blasts until your customers respond. Set it and forget it, and watch the revenue stream in.
Agora pulse--Many of us have a love/hate relationship with social media, but we all realize its necessary place in commerce today. Agora pulse is a program that allows you to schedule posts for regular distribution, giving you some of your time back.
For Customer Service:
Zendesk--Customer service is essential to creating steady growth. With Zendesk, you are given flexibility and options for serving your customers in unique and innovative ways that will keep them coming back time and again for individualized service and attention.
Groove--All of your customer service options and setup can be done in one place with Groove. Their focus is on simplicity and service; if you aren’t quite ready for the complexity of Zendesk, then Groove is a great option for you to reach your customers.
With this array of innovative products and technologies, you’ll have happy employees, happy customers, and a bit of happiness yourself as you can confidently take your hands off the steering wheel--for a short time. Who are we kidding? You got into the business to be in control, and it isn’t easy to give up, but a balance in life is essential. Using these tools will help you to increase efficiency and productivity as well as achieve consistent growth. Here’s to your continued success!