If you’re in the majority of Small Business owners who struggle with making technology work…
Tech Solutions That Will Help Take Your Business to the Next Level
In the last few years, our Small Business has grown quite a bit. It’s gone from a one-man show (me) to having three staff and a team of freelancers, and we’ve more than doubled our revenue.
A crucial part of this growth has been upgrading our Information Technology systems. With cloud-based computing, systems that ten years ago would have cost many thousands of dollars can now be installed for a fraction of the cost.
Here’s a look at some of the systems we’ve installed in the last few years that have made a significant contribution to our growth:
Gmail allows us to access our emails on all of our devices and provides instantaneous syncing between devices. You can start writing an email on your phone and finish it on your desktop. No more cc’ing yourself in on different devices in a, usually vain, attempt to keep track of emails.
Google Docs, Sheets, Calendar and Drive.
Google’s software suite also comes with Google Docs (word processing), Sheets (spreadsheets), Calendar (umm … a calendar) and Drive (cloud-based file storage). These allow for easy sharing of documents, files of all types and calendars across devices and among team members. You can also share things with people outside your business, and use Google Drive to make files accessible to the public online. For example, if you create a PDF guide for people to download, you can put a Google Drive link to it on your website or social media, and this allows people to download it.
Xero is an awesome accounting application that feeds your bank data directly into the program and automatically links the bank entries with your transaction details in Xero. So, if you send an invoice from Xero for $2 750, when a payment for $2 750 shows up in your account, Xero will match up the invoice with the bank data for you to approve. A huge time saver. You can also use it for payroll, superannuation, to calculate your Business Activity Statement and much more.
This is a booking system that allows people to make appointments online. I have two options set up with Appointment Core. One is the booking system we use for potential clients to book a 30-minute Discovery call with me. They can do this via our website; the booking then goes directly into my calendar, and I receive an email notification. I also have a link that I can send to people to book a general phone call with me. The best feature of this system is it syncs with my Google Calendar, so it knows when I’m busy and won’t book a call for these times. I just have to manage my Google Calendar, and Appointment Core takes care of itself. Brilliant!
This is a customer management system that functions as our address book, manages our emails list and mail outs, and can be used to track people as they move through the sales process. Like many cloud-based systems these days, Infusionsoft works well with other software. When somebody books a Discovery call with me via Appointment Core, their details go directly into Infusionsoft. We also use Infusionsoft for customer satisfaction surveys and lead capture through forms on our website.
Dropbox is similar to Google Drive. We use it as our main file-sharing software. It allows us to seamlessly sync files across all our devices and between our team in a way that would have previously required a server, costing tens of thousands of dollars. (We use both Dropbox and Google Drive as we work with both clients and suppliers who use each of these, so we have to be ready for everything.)
Buffer is an application that automates social media posts. We use it to program some automated posts for the week ahead and then also post directly to social media as needed.
All of these cost from about $10 per month up to about $50 per month, which is an absolute bargain given the efficiencies they will bring to your business. I regularly work across four devices: my desktop computer, my smartphone, my tablet and my laptop computer. All of this cloud-based technology allows me to work across all these devices without interruption, and also to collaborate quickly and easily with people inside and outside our business.
If you haven’t ventured into cloud-based systems yet, I highly recommend that you do. The convenience and time savings are huge. Many of them offer a free base-level service, so why not give them a go?
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