While you might be convinced that your business is ticking away at its optimum rate, there are a number of things – probably happening right now – that are hampering your productivity and, as a result, your profitability. In turn, these things can add up to reduce your potential for expansion. Isolated, they might look like tiny little things that aren’t worth thinking about.
However, add them up and you might be surprised to find out just how much time they’re eating into – time that could be better spent growing your business and enticing new customers. We’ve compiled the top five things you can do to get things really motoring and help your business to succeed.
Something as simple as creating invoices can really slow things up. It would appear that most people still view this as a manual task. But the truth is that with the right invoicing software, you can turn this into an automated process that will practically take care of itself. QuickBooks from Intuit is widely recognised as the world’s leading accountancy software. In addition to feeding you real time information about your cash flow and managing RTI PAYE systems, it also allows you to create branded invoices, at the touch of a button. With invoicing software like QuickBooks, your margin of error is completely minimised and you can even instruct the program to set reminders as to when they should be sent and alert you if they’re not paid within a certain timeframe.
Maintaining good customer relationships is the cornerstone of any business, yet it can be time consuming. Again, the answer lies in good software. SalesForce is the current package of choice with many businesses. Although it’s only available as a web-hosted program, it does boast a unique feature, in the form of Chatter. Chatter allows you to communicate quickly and efficiently with your colleagues in real time. SalesForce also allows you to see which marketing campaigns have worked the best for you and track the leads that you generate.
Another aspect of good business is communication. However, in the 21st Century, that communication needs to be upheld practically every day. If you don’t have the time for blogging, then why not do something simple like embedding your Twitter feed into your company’s website? There are a number of software packages and apps out there that allow you to broadcast across a number of platforms at once, cutting down the time you have to spend managing each feed.
A lot of time is wasted through having to chase customers who don’t pay on time. The answer to this one is simple, but might feel like you’re going against the point of your business: cut them off the list. It’s far better to have a smaller database of clients who pay on time than a larger database that includes a number who don’t. Your customer relationship management software can help flag up who the repeat offenders are and help you make your decision. It might not be the most popular idea, but it’ll certainly save you time and, in the long run, money.
Probably the biggest time-saver of all is delegation. While the business may be your baby, it doesn’t hurt to let other people take care of certain aspects of it. You can begin gently and have occasional meetings to monitor progress, but sharing the burden may increase your own productivity and help projects come together that much more quickly.