Time is money, especially when you are running a small-to medium-sized business. Here are five tools that can help make your business more efficient, so you can use more time addressing the actual practice of running a business instead of spending time on unimportant tedium.
1. Networked Phone Systems
Missed calls and voicemails take up a lot of time. One way to get around this is to invest in a networked phone system for your employees so that they can receive calls when they are away from the office and access their data from anywhere.
2. Dropbox and Google Drive
Are you still wasting time forwarding emails to each and every one of your employees and company partners? Take a little time to set up and learn your way around programs like Dropbox and Google Docs to allow all of your employees to immediately access relevant documents and information. These documents can be formatted as spreadsheets, handbooks, or memos. You can lock the editing feature on specific documents (like the company dress code), while allowing online collaboration, editing, and chat in others (like an ongoing brainstorming session).
In most cases, these programs can replace chain emails, inter-office memos, and hard copies of company policy. These electronic documents can save time and paper. Best of all, cyber-copies of documents can’t be damaged or misplaced.
3. Expanded Travel Options
When your business was just starting out, you may have used your own car as a business vehicle. While that can be a great tax write off, look into expanding your travel options as your company grows. Look at your options for company cars, deals with airlines and travel agencies, and delivery vehicle options.
Do a little research. Sometimes it will be more effective to collaborate with another company to make your deliveries, while other times looking in semi trailer classifieds to find a truck that your company can own and operate itself is a better option.
4. Social Media
You’ve probably already figured out how vital your website is to your business. In today’s market, having a website that is user-friendly, up-to-date, and easy to find is as important as your business’ listing in the yellow pages.
Social media is a great place to start improving your company’s online presence. Set up a company Facebook page, Google+ account, and Twitter feed. Keeping these networks up to date will draw in new clients and can even help your employees stay connected.
5. Organizing Apps
To increase your and your employees’ personal efficiency, look into providing your employees with access to organizational business apps. Apps like Evernote make your calendar, reminders, emails, and personal notes available on multiple devices. You can share memos with your collaborative team or make a personal to-do list on your desktop that you can view from a tablet or smartphone throughout the day.
6. Outsourced Departments
Outsourcing some of your departments can be especially valuable for small and recently created businesses, allowing you to keep your overhead low while still gaining the necessary services. Some common areas that businesses outsource include marketing, HR, PR, accounting, recruiting, and customer service.
By outsourcing these departments, you can avoid the headaches that come with establishing all of these processes in-house, especially if you would have to build them all from scratch, and in subjects of which you may not have expert experience. Outsourcing these departments can allow you to focus on the most critical aspects of your primary business and leave the rest to experts in these other fields.
Use these five tools as a starting place to make your business more productive and more profitable.