If you’re running a business, chances are you rely heavily on your tools. If you’re using the same tools your competitors use, it’s time to upgrade them. There are plenty of apps and tools out there that can help with everything from sales and marketing automation to inventory management and accounting. These handy tips will get you started.
1. Create an Enterprise Resource Planning application
An ERP application is a type of software that helps businesses manage their operations and activities from the top down. Many organizations use ERP applications to automate multiple business processes to improve efficiency and effectiveness across the board.
ERP software can be useful in many ways, including:
- Cost savings – By streamlining tasks like scheduling meetings or processing payroll, you’ll be able to spend less time on administrative work and more time doing what matters most: running your business.
- Improved collaboration between departments – With real-time access to information about your company’s operation at every level—from finance to production—you’ll be able to make better decisions faster than ever before.
2. Automate common tasks
In addition to scheduling tools like Meetings, Asana, and Calendly, a variety of other automation tools can help you become more efficient in your day-to-day work.
For example, if you use Gmail as your email service provider (ESP), you can save a lot of time by setting up rules for how emails get routed or delivered based on the sender’s name or email address. You can also set up filters so that certain emails get automatically sent to a specific folder without ever having to organize them manually.
Additionally, extensions are available for almost every popular browser that allow users to add functionality directly to their browsers. For example:
- 1Password is a password manager that allows users to save secure passwords and fill them in automatically, eliminating the need for remembering complex strings of characters or using the same password across multiple accounts.
- Grammarly is an extension for Google Chrome that can detect grammatical errors in your writing, then offer suggestions for fixing them.
- Boomerang is an add-on that lets you schedule outgoing emails so they’ll arrive at the recipient’s inbox at a specific time and date (perfect for sending “out of office” replies while you’re on vacation or reminders to follow up with clients).
3. Create a dashboard toolkit for your business
A toolkit is a set of tools, often including hardware and software. It’s a great way to keep all your business needs in one place and simplify daily tasks.
Here are the main tools you should include in your dashboard toolkit:
- A CRM system that can help you monitor your business, manage teams, track financials and keep track of marketing activities.
- A project management system that helps you organize workflows across teams and assign tasks to other users/teams.
- An analytics platform that provides insights into how much money is spent on various marketing channels so that campaigns can be optimized accordingly.
There are many tools available to help you run your business with ease. A dashboard toolkit provides you with all the basics in one place, allowing you to monitor your business, manage teams, track financials, and keep track of marketing activities. The best part? It’s free. Just choose what type of toolkit works best for you.
Some businesses may only need one toolkit. Other businesses may require multiple toolkits, depending on their needs. Either way, a dashboard toolkit is a perfect solution to help you run your business with ease and efficiency.
4. Make a video conferencing solution
Video conferencing is becoming more and more popular, especially in the business world. It offers many benefits for both personal and professional use. For example, you’ll find that it can save time by allowing you to meet with remote colleagues or clients in real time rather than having them travel to your location. It also provides an opportunity to build relationships with vendors and other partners through face-to-face interactions instead of just emailing back and forth all day and night.
If you want to make video conferencing part of your everyday business management strategy, follow these tips:
- Have a clear idea of what kind of system works best for your company—and stick with it. A lot goes into picking out the right software, so everyone on staff feels comfortable using it daily.
- Be sure that everyone who needs access has been given permission beforehand, so there aren’t any accidents down the line when someone tries logging onto someone else’s account without permission first.
- Ensure policies are in place so everyone knows how to use the software properly.
- Be mindful of some common mistakes, including forgetting to turn off cameras when they aren’t needed or leaving them on while talking privately with another participant.
- Keep an eye out for people who try to use their microphones during meetings, as this can be distracting.
5. Use automation tools to text and email customers at key points in their journey
Automating your customer communication is a great way to save time and money, freeing up employees for more important tasks. Here are some tools you can use:
- HubSpot’s lead scoring system. This system will help you automate assigning leads to sales reps based on their level of interest in your product or service. Lead scoring can be set up as an automated email drip campaign that prompts customers as they progress through the buying cycle. For example, if a lead doesn’t respond after one week, send them another email asking if they’re still interested in learning more about your product or service—and then score them again based on their response time.
- Zapier’s automation platform is great for automating processes across different apps like Salesforce and Google Sheets with triggers based on actions taken within those apps (such as sending an email when someone fills out a form on your website). It lets you build automated workflows without having any technical knowledge at all.
The right automation tools will help you streamline your workflow so that you can focus on the most important tasks at hand. Automation is one of those things that seems simple but can profoundly impact your business’s bottom line. Doing it correctly could save you tons of time and money in the long run.
6. Create a marketing automation stack
Marketing automation is a crucial component of any business. It’s important to understand the different types of marketing automation and how they can help your business grow.
With the right tools in place, you can save time and effort while improving your overall customer experience. Here are the tools you need to create a marketing automation stack:
- CRM – A customer relationship management system that will keep track of prospects, customers, leads, and salespeople so that everyone on your team has up-to-date information at their fingertips.
- Lead management – This tool allows you to nurture leads through multiple stages until they’re ready for sales follow-up or another type of engagement (such as e-mail marketing).
- Automated emails – These automated emails provide value for subscribers by delivering helpful tips or other content like webinars or free guides that help convert visitors into paying customers over time. They can also be used to notify recipients about new products or promotions from time to time if needed too.
- Automated phone calls – In some cases, you’ll want to make an automated phone call to a prospect who has expressed interest in your product or service but hasn’t yet taken action. This can also be helpful when following up on leads who haven’t responded after multiple attempts at contact.
7. Get help where you need it and outsource what you don’t know how to do
No matter how many years you’ve been in business, there are some things you just don’t know how to do. Maybe it’s accounting or marketing, but most likely, it’s something else entirely. Outsourcing these tasks can be a great way to get help with things that aren’t your specialties.
If you do decide to outsource, remember: It will probably cost money. That said, the benefits may outweigh the costs for some businesses—especially if a task is time-consuming and/or constantly interrupts your workflow (like accounting).
When outsourcing, try to find someone who can take on a task from start to finish. This is especially important for tasks that require creativity, like graphic design and content creation. If your company’s social media needs attention, hire a social media specialist who knows how to create engaging posts and audience-building strategies.
8. Use different free and paid online tools
You can use many free and paid online tools to upgrade your business management toolkit and make your life easier.
Here are some of the best ones:
- Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Sheets – These tools offer a great way to store documents online and collaborate with others. You can also use them if you want to start working remotely or collaborate on projects with clients who aren’t nearby.
- Microsoft Office 365 – This is an online version of Microsoft Office that offers all the same features as its desktop counterparts (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). It’s also one of the best options if you want more storage space thanwhat Google-based apps offer.
- Slack – Slack is an instant messaging app that allows team members to send messages about work-related topics in real time without interrupting each other’s workflow. It has been shown in studies to improve communication between coworkers because it makes it easy for everyone involved with a given project or task to stay up-to-date on all relevant information.
- Trello – Trello is a tool that helps manage projects by allowing users to create boards with columns and cards that describe the tasks they need to complete. It’s great for anyone who wants to stay organized but doesn’t want too much structure in their workday.
- Asana – Asana is a tool for managing projects and tasks that’s similar to Trello but with a slightly different interface. It offers more options for customizing how you organize your information than Trello does, though not everyone likes its layout as much.
9. Build a wiki or knowledge base
A wiki is a website that allows users to create and edit content. It can be used as an internal knowledge base for businesses, meaning that any employees who need to refer back to something company-related will have access to it.
As you’d expect from a tool that’s been around since 2001, tons of wikis are available online. You can use them however you choose—from hosting them on your own site or using one hosted by another company. But the important thing is making sure they’re easy for everyone in your organization to get into and use effectively.
Another option is building a knowledge base: essentially, this is just like any other type of database but instead of storing information about customers or suppliers, it focuses on questions about how things work at your company (e.g., “How do I apply for benefits?”).
This type of system works well for answering common questions about how processes work. Once people start asking these types of questions frequently enough, take those answers and put them into documents.
10. Build a community or online forum for your customers/followers
If you want to build a community or online forum for your customers, don’t worry about the technology—plenty of great platforms make this easy.
In addition to the obvious benefits of keeping your customers engaged and gathering feedback, communities can be an excellent way to promote your business. A community is like a living document that reflects on everything related to your company and serves as a digital marketing tool.
For example, it could highlight amazing stories from happy customers or provide valuable insights through polls or surveys.
We hope we’ve been able to give you some ideas for upgrading your business management toolkit. If you think about it, there are so many ways that technology can help make our lives easier, and we can use that knowledge to make our businesses easier too. The key will be finding the right tools for your company culture and workflow, but once you do, it’s hard not to see the benefits of staying organized and on top of things.