Last month we discussed small things we can do as business owners to help start organising our data.
As we all know there are many systems out there that could help with data storage and streamlining our internal processes. The amount of different systems and the features they offer can sometimes be overwhelming and we often just don’t know where to start. In this months issue I will briefly explain the different types of systems available so you can see how each type could be of benefit to your business.
My one piece of advise this month is not to rush in! Think of the bigger picture and always have growth in mind.
Remember…The bigger your business becomes the more simplified your internal procedures need to be, this will prevent you becoming overwhelmed and unable to keep track of your workflow.
What Are My Options?
HERE IS A BREAKDOWN OF TYPES OF SYSTEMS
Are you still doing your invoices manually? Spreadsheets and Word are great tools but not when it comes to your accounts.
Data entry is time consuming. Having a good accounting system will save time and money if used correctly. Not only do they speed up the preparation of new invoices but they also make it much easier to keep track of outstanding accounts. A good accounting system will link with your bank, have an app that allows you to upload receipts and expenses with ease and also helps you keeps track of your current finances.
My Tip: Before investing in any accounting software, speak to your accountant or bookkeeper. Do they have a preferred system of choice? By working with what they use it could save money on your BAS and returns so it is well worth the conversation.
Client Relationship Management System (CRM)
This is where you can really start seeing the value of a good system. CRM’s enable you to save all of your client related data in one place. When you consider how many times a day you need to access this data, having a streamlined and user friendly CRM can save you hours of admin.
CRM’s can range from being free to costing 100’s of dollars per month. Finding one that suits your needs is the biggest challenge as not all CRM’s are created equal.
The trick here is to find a system within your price range that is easy to use, but has enough range and ability that it will still work for you once you experience growth.
My Tip: Don’t just look at what you need right now, with your predicted growth in mind, will the CRM still be right for you in the future?
Email Marketing Tools
You have probably all heard of the statistics and know that a lot of businesses miss out on valuable revenue by not targeting their exisiting customers.
Sending newsletters or details of new products or services will not only keep you front of mind with your clients, but it also reminds the clients of your area of expertise long after you have provided a service.
When thinking of stand alone email marketing platforms, most people think of Mailchimp but there are so many more to choose from. Depending on what you want to do and the size of your database, prices can range from Free to 100’s of dollars. Some examples of these are Mailchimp, Mailerlite (especially useful in you have an ecommerce site), or Sendinblue. Try googling Email Marketing to look at some of your options.
tip: Some E-marketing sites will often offer a free or introductory package. These will come with limitations so before importing your data, make sure whatever you pick is right for your needs, not only now but after your anticipated growth. Look at the cost of all packages as these can vary greatly and increase significantly.
Project Management Systems
Project Management Systems help you record, organise and assign your internal tasks. They allow for teams to view and collaborate on projects.
There are many different tools available such as Clickup, Monday.com, Asana and Trello to name just a few. Each of these platforms have their own merits and again some of them offer a free package. The easiest way to describe a project management tool is an ‘electronic ‘to-do-list’.
Whether you are a sole trader or have several teams in your organisation, by having such a visual reminder of your projects, it helps prevent tasks being forgotten or mistakes in translation. Sole traders often keep their tasks in their head or saved where it is only accessible by them but this will cause inefficiencies. I have said it several times in this newsletter and I can’t stress it enough, be prepared for growth. Too often Business Owners only realise their procedures are inefficient when they start to look at employing staff or subcontractors.
Tip: Think big! Even if it is only you right now, think of the future. Does your project management process allow for collaboration?
All-In-One Management Tools
Now this is where it gets exciting!
As anyone who has had a consultation with me will tell you, this is my favourite topic of all.
My moto is to Organise, Streamline, and Simplify. And what better way todo that but to find a system that ticks most, if not all of your boxes!
Not only do these systems store your client information like a CRM but they can also include features such as;
- Project Management
- Invoicing/Financial Reporting
- Email Marketing Client Portals
- Email Integration
- Calendar Integration & Scheduling
- Integration With Other Systems
There are many options with different combinations of the above but the one feature every good All-In-One Management tool offers is AUTOMATION. Automation is appliedto workflows so ‘triggers’ can cause automated ‘actions’. This can be anything from sending out automated emails, forms and questionnaires to emailing links to your calendar and updating data in your CRM.
These systems might seem more expensive than the other systems, however they may save you money in the long run as you may only need to pay for one instead of several standalone systems.
Not only does an All-In-One system simplify your processes but it ensures that less errors occur due to manual data entry, and they ensure the standard of correspondence remains the same for all clients attached to any one workflow.
Tip: Consider the time saving benefits of automation.
These systems can vary significantly in the features they offer. If this seems a bit of a mind field, please give me a call on 0400 632201 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.