Tools To Help Your Business Grow
There used to be a saying that those who work hard play hard reap more. But in today’s technological society this no longer applies. I’m all for hard work but not for the sake of it and whilst there’s a way to work smarter than harder I’m all for it. With so many things to do, places to be and people to meet there seems to be less hours in the day than there were previously. If this is true for you, then you are working hard but not smart. Below you’ll find an article on 5 business tools to help your business be more productive, to enable you to find more hours in the day.
E-mails: Put your hand up if you spend the best part of your day answering e-mails? Not productive at all
ehh? In-fact if you spend more time answering e-mails than carrying out your most important tasks then you’ll be wasting valuable time and when you are running your own business, time is money. Allow yourself one hour thirty minutes to answer e-mails each day, no less and no more. Thirty minutes at the beginning of the day, thirty minutes at lunchtime and thirty minutes at the end of the day. Set your automated reply to state that you are checking your e-mails throughout the day and you will endeavor to provide a reply within 2 working days. Don’t worry about missing out on sales or valuable information; this is a much more valid way to deal with e-mails and their replies. Trust me on this, you’ll gain more from looking after your e-mails in a structured way rather than letting your e-mails control you.
To–do Lists: Agghhhh, everyone has those to-do lists that turn out to be counterintuitive. We spend most
of our time writing the to-do list, thinking about the most important things that we have to do, organising them in to order of importance and finally ticking them off as we work through them. Stop! This is not a good approach; you’ll find that by doing things this way you waste much more time than is needed. Be more methodical and prioritise your needs, tasks effectively in order to be more efficient. Restrict the amount of tasks that you are able to achieve each day to a realistic number making sure that your most important tasks appear at the top of the list. Write your to-do list at the end of business each day for the next day to ensure that you waste very little time as you start your working day. If your priorities change as they normally do, then insert the changes in order of priority. Don’t let your to-do list control you, take control of your to-do list and remember to-do lists focus on one day at a time, not one week at a time or six months in advance.
Time Management: We are all guilty of wasting time and as we’ve stated above, time is money so in
essence by not working more effectively and by not managing your time you are in fact, throwing money down the toilet. I feel you scratching your head and saying, “but I’m really not sure where I waste my time, I try to run my business efficiently”. The answer to that is to keep a detailed dairy, yes a diary! Just because technology is changing it doesn’t mean that all of our so called old fashioned tasks should change too. Diaries help us to see where we waste our time. Colour code your tasks so that you can see from a distance which tasks took the most amount of time. If you can see where you are wasting time, then figure out ways not to. Ten minutes here, ten minutes there can easily add up to hours lost over the week.
Once you have identified how you are wasting time, you can decide what changes are required. If it’s more cost-efficient to outsource then outsource your tasks to a company such as Hunterhawke. By delegating more responsibility to others you could not only save yourself more time making your company more efficient but you could also save yourself money by letting people who know the task at hand inside out do the hard, time consuming work for you.
Training: If you already know your job/skill inside and out the next thing you’ll need training in is the web.
How to use it, what to use it for and how to gain maximum impact on social media, how to rank top in google and the web as a whole. There are plenty of free sites out there such as Alison.com that provide free training courses on just about anything you can think of, all you have to pay for, is the certificate at the end of the course. If you are looking for higher education to give you the edge over your competitors then the Peoples University provide courses in Business Management and Computer Science for next to nothing.
If you have employees then make sure that you invest in training/upskilling to allow them to do their own jobs efficiently and effectively. In-house training, on-line training are cheaper than training provided by major companies which most small businesses can’t afford. Make sure that your teams’ skills are up-to-date and that they keep learning and achieving with the ever changing pace of the business world.
Investing in employees is the key to ensuring that their success and the success of your business comes first. Training programmes, mentoring opportunities and upskilling will show your team that you are committed to their success as well as the success of the business. This will in turn compel them to succeed in your/their business which will help you to gain your market share. Employees that feel ‘looked after’ work towards creating better teams, increased loyalty and become highly productive often going above and beyond their roles to achieve business and personal success.
Technology: Technology is changing on what seems to be a daily basis. Not keeping up with technology could put your business on a back foot. It doesn’t have to cost the earth either, such tools as Skype are free for the basic package and the video conferencing aspect enables meetings to take place between you and your business associates and customers on the other side of the world. This is also a free way of making free international calls helping to keep your business and personal costs down.
When talking about technology there are four main areas to consider and technology could be the difference between you gaining and keeping customers, or giving them away to your competitors. These four tools are Data Management and Analytics, Connection of Internet Devices, Hosted VoIP and Marketing Automation. John Boitnott describes these four tools in his article for INC. explaining how these overlooked tools could help put your business on the road to somewhere rather than nowhere. You can find his article at INC.
By using technology to streamline tasks such as your accounting systems and customer interface you can cut out the time consuming, mundane tasks that ever business owner hates. What once used to take days, now takes a few hours at the type of a button. In the world of ever decreasing customer satisfaction, delivering fast, communication and an informed service is the best way to ensure your customers stay with you, for you and not for your competition.
Hopefully this article written on 5 Business Tools To Help Your Business Be More Productive has gone some way to help you think about how you can become more effective in your daily business practices.