Part I of this series focused on how to establish your presence online. Part II assisted you with taking the next step of determining where your target audience can be found online. These are both important considerations when looking to create your organization’s digital footprint. In addition to using the Internet and social media for marketing purposes, there are several other online tools that can be beneficial within the business realm. That’s what I tackle in this third and final part of this series of posts.
When you take a look at your average day and, in turn, your average week, where do you find yourself focusing the majority of your time? Are you using paper records to manage your books? Do you need to connect with your sales team and get updates on their calling efforts? Or perhaps you are focused on marketing and administrative tasks such as cold calling, lead generation and direct mail organization. Today there are countless solutions available to help you save time and improve operational efficiencies.
Here are three areas where you can use technology to streamline your operations:
1) Marketing – Marketing is a vital component of business development. One idea that is easy to use and cost-effective is creating email marketing campaigns. Email marketing campaigns allow you to tailor your content to your audience and have a wide reach with your message. Additionally, you can include social share links and encourage recipients to share your message with their networks. There are several online tools to help with the creation and management of email campaigns. A couple that we like are Zoho Campaigns and Mail Chimp.
2) Accounting – Not being aware of the financial position of your business can be very detrimental. Having a keen understanding of your balance sheet, income statement and aging reports, to name a few, will help you be prepared not only in the present but also for future forecasting. Instead of being overwhelmed by your account reconciliation and reports, consider using an online system to help organize and monitor your financials. One system we have been able to help our clients with is Wave. Wave provides users the ability to upload or sync their bank accounts for easy transaction reconciliation. It also allows users to create reports. Another great feature is their collaborator function that allows users to grant access to their bookkeeper or CPA for assistance with invoicing, reconciliation, report generation and more.
3) Customer Relationship Management – Whether you work independently or have a team of sales people, it can be assumed that you would like to have a grasp on potential sales opportunities and updates on recent contacts. Instead of waiting until sales meetings or exchanging countless emails with your sales team, consider implementing the use of a customer relationship management, (CRM) system. CRMs allow you to enter information pertaining to potential and existing customers, possible sales opportunities, details regarding recent contacts, schedule follow ups and more. A CRM can help you stay informed of how opportunities are progressing and which may need more attention. They can also help you easily see your sales pipeline. Two CRMs with great functionality and a reasonable price tag are Insightly and Zoho CRM.
Sales, marketing and accounting are all crucial areas for businesses to focus on. That being said, they all should be adding value to an organization versus derailing it. If you find yourself spending too much time or money in any of these areas with little return, it is time to revaluate how they are being managed. Whether you determine you are able to use a system like those mentioned above or that you need to outsource some of these functions, there are resources available to help you ensure the continued success and progression of your organization.
What steps are you planning to take to help streamline your daily operations?
About Stingray Advisory Group LLC: Stingray Advisory Group LLC is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. By creating dynamic customized solutions for business growth, we empower businesses and entrepreneurs with the tools to further their development. We assist with strategic planning, marketing, business registration, website development and more. To learn more or schedule a consultation, visit www.stingrayadvisorygroup.com. Follow us today on Facebook, LinkedIN, Google+ and Twitter for more helpful tips!
Contact the author, Leandra Williams, through email at Leandra@stingrayadvisorygroup.com