As we rocket into 2018, January slides off stage left and February anchors itself in our lives it’s a great time to look at our businesses and ask “why am I doing this again?” or maybe ask “can this be done better?”
Here are five areas of any business that can be tweaked or improved through a little thought, maybe a smart tool and a plan of attack.
1. Your voice online
I talk with small businesses all the time and I’m still surprised by the large number who don’t even have a website. Those that do rarely update them.
Your business needs to have a voice online, and as the business owner you need to manage that voice.
Take the time to review your site, update it and manage what people see about you online.
Here’s some quick things to review this month for your website:
- When was the last time the content was updated? Ask your clients if they used your site, what did they find useful and what was missing. Use that information to update the content.
- Is your site secure? Can you visit your site by changing the http:// to https:// (s for secure). If you can’t then you need to talk to your web developer ASAP as Google and other search engines now favour secure sites and will rank them higher.
- What about your reviews? Is your business listed in TrustPilot, Yelp, Facebook or Google Places? Are you actively managing (are you encouraging your customers to place reviews?) what people say about you?
2. Use tech to build your relationship with your customers
We all know that business is built on relationships and these take a huge amount of time.
There are however some great tools and tricks you can use where software can help with some of those basics of relationship.
- Canned responses — tools like Gmail for Business include the ability to have canned responses. These can be great tools if you find yourself repeating the same reply to clients all the time. This can help you save time, but be careful not to overdo it (people like humans).
- Chat bots — business chat is all the rage these days with tools like Facebook Messenger on the scene. They can be a great tool to allow customers to talk to your business, and provide some simple/basic answers (great for sharing links to online pages) to help clients. I’d recommend exploring ChatFuel, it can be as simple as dragging some blocks around, to build your first bot.
3. Getting paid faster
Too many businesses waste hours every week chasing payments. So why not let technology help in this space?
- Chase outstanding invoices — start with a tool like EzyCollect to automatically fetch your outstanding invoices and help bring that money in. I’ve heard of customers reducing their outstanding invoices from 60 percent to less than five percent in as little as four weeks.
- Payment options — Customers expect to be able to pay in a variety of ways today and now as a business you have many options at your disposal to make this a reality. With MYOB’s PayDirect you can add “Pay Now” to your invoices, or with EzyCollect’s SimplyPaid you can add “Pay Now” buttons to invoices, statements and emails. Get paid for the work you do.
4. Looking after staff
Staff are the life blood of your business and managing them, from rosters to payroll, can be such a huge time burden in any business.
There are of course technology solutions to help drive much greater efficiency in this area
- Smart rosters & time-sheets — if you have more than five staff on a roster and you are using paper or excel, just stop it. Take a look at TANDA, Deputy, Ento or WageLoch to help you with staff, from on-boarding to rosters and time-sheets.
- HR — this can be a complex area, from contracts to awards to parental leave to company culture. Again there are amazing tools to help in this space like HR Central and Workforce Guardian which provide access to forms, documents and HR processes.
5. Introducing smart tools to key areas of your business
Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ll have no doubt heard that Amazon has launched in Australia.
Amazon is an amazing business, and it’s built on the back of data to make smart decisions.
They constantly ask for data from each area, and explore what that data tells them. What data are you collecting from your business, and how are you using that data?
- Inventory & Warehousing — do you hold inventory? Do you use software to improve the handling of the items in your warehouse, the picking & packing and shipping (logistics) of your inventory? If you aren’t, then take a look at tools like DataPel that offer incredible power around your inventory from items, bins and barcodes through to integration with logistics companies
- eCommerce — are you selling products? Could they be sold online? Do you regularly look at your online stats to review products, improve operations and look for gains in your business? If not then explore Neto, one of Australia’s leading ecommerce platforms and a great team who can help you navigate this world of online selling.