No matter what business you are in, if you want to increase productivity, efficiency and profit, you need to get technology on board. Technology helps you streamline your processes, work smarter, and create profit, without requiring you to be at your desk 24/7. Here are five technologies that I highly recommend to small business owners to reduce workload and help you on your path to profit and freedom:
- Project management software: This helps you to keep track of all the different projects that not only you, but also your clients and your team, are working on, at any given point of time. I personally recommend the Teamwork project management software. Rather than wade through an ocean of emails every day, you can check everything in one place. All of your work related information like who has been assigned a specific task, when it’s due, who’s lagging behind, who needs your help with something and so on, is stored there. It helps you to be organized, smart and efficient. I couldn’t effectively run my business without it.
- Online scheduling software: I used to spend $2500 a month JUST on someone to manage my calendar. Not only will this cost you money unnecessarily, it is inconvenient for your clients and you may mis-schedule or miss a meeting. Online scheduling software like Schedule Once makes all this a breeze. Clients can go online and see what days and timings you are available for, and schedule a meeting on a day and time that’s convenient for them – with just a couple of clicks. The software sends reminders to lower missed appointments and even integrates with conferencing technologies like Go To Meeting (which I also recommend.)
- Marketing automation system: In today’s highly competitive world you need a marketing automation system that includes a CRM component (client relationship manager). The best I have found is Infusionsoft; it’s a sophisticated system and takes some savvy to set up; but once you do that, you can relax, because your sales and marketing campaign is on autopilot! If you want a simpler and less expensive version, you’ll do well with AWeber – it’s a great email automation tool. This software helps you get clients through your funnel – capture their details, and helps you educate them about your brand, goals, products, and so on. You can send multiple emails to hundreds of customers with just a few clicks – no writing to each individual customer. It is like having your own personal sales and marketing person on steroids, without the expense!
- Marketing Funnel software: This is a system that helps you begin and build relationships with prospects and nurture them to eventually convert them into customers. ClickFunnels is in my opinion, the easiest and most effective system. What’s more, you can pair it very well with Infusionsoft to have an excellent marketing automation system. How it generally works is you drive people to a landing page where you ask if they’d like some (FREE) valuable content, and if yes, you ask them to enter their email. Once you get their contact information you take them to another page where you thank them and give them what you had promised – say a free ebook, or checklist.
- Phone system: This is probably the most overlooked piece of technology, but something that makes your work so much easier, and professional. You can record a branded message and route the calls to different people based on the caller’s input. Even if you’re a single person company, you can easily implement this, and scale it up along with your business. A great feature in com is the ability to answer calls from wherever you are; if you don’t want to pick up the call, you can get the voicemails left on the system to be sent to you as emails.
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