Is Your Business Stuck In The Stone Age?

By April 22, 2016Business Strategy

small business MElbourne

The Stone Age didn’t end because our ancestors ran out of stones.

These people discovered and adopted new technologies and moved into the next era. Are you still using a spreadsheet to list your customer contacts within your sales funnel? Do you keep track of your finances with the same tool?

When you have  a meeting to attend, could you avoid jumping in the car or onto a plane by utilising technology? Some of these activities which take up a lot of time, and therefore money, may be handled with technology that has been around for quite a while now.

There are many paid and free platforms and services that allow you to leverage your time and resources. Of course there is a learning curve involved, as there is with honing most skills. But it’s worth the effort…even your ancestors would agree.

By employing technology in your business productivity can be improved, which means you can do more with less. Reducing the time it takes to perform tasks produces cost savings which enable you to be more flexible and competitive with your pricing.

Streamlining your systems with technology can lead to a faster quoting, speedier collection of receivables, improved cash flows and better service delivery. This can result in more satisfied clients. Below are just a few platforms and services that you can investigate. Who knows, there might be one or two you can benefit from right now.

Online Accounting Platforms

  • Xero – Cloud based accounting software
  • Reckon One – Has options for micro business

Project Management

The following offerings allow you to create, monitor and report on projects that involve teams or individuals. Collaboration, document sharing and task tracking are made easier with these systems.

  • Trello.com
  • Vertical Matters.com.au

CRM

Your Customer Relationship Management platform, or tools, are critical to your business success. A CRM not only allows you to document your contacts, it enables you to track communication and know the progress of a prospect through your sales funnel at any one time.

ZOHO.com for instance, has a free account option that gives you up to 3 seats on the platform for free. This platform has many optional modules of functionality that you can upgrade to (paid) when you need them and can afford it.

Instally.com provides a CRM package which includes useful project management functionality as well. This great little package starts at around $30 a month and integrates with the Xero accounting Cloud based platform.

Quoting Systems

  • Workflowmax.com/  – Complete job management and costing (integrates with Xero)
  • Quote Mate (spearhead.com.au)
  • Quotient (integrates with Xero and Instally.com)

Communications And Collaboration

If you have meetings or situations where you have a team that needs to collaborate, something as simple as Skype and some decent laptops with built-in cameras is all that is required.  The following list of services allows you, for the most part, to share documents, videos, files and anything else you may need for your meeting.

Some offer a free version of the platforms that you can utilise or at least a free trial.

Google Apps For Business – Cloud based tools and storage that enables users to create, update and share documents, spreadsheets and presentation slides.
Skype – Has functionality which allows group sessions, with or without video as well as screen and file sharing options.
Zoom.us – Video collaboration platform that is great for eductaional organisations and a robust meeting/seminar system. Having used Skype and Zoom, I have found Zoom to be more stable and less prone to drop outs.

Google Hangouts – If you have a Google Plus account you can hold hangouts (webinars) with hundreds of attendees for free. You can present documents and videos all while interacting with your audience. Once the session is over it is recorded for distribution to attendees (if you so desire). The video is stored on the YouTube platform…you can configure this service to make your videos private.

Go To Webinar – Very professional and robust meeting and webinar platform. Only downside is the cost. The more attendees the higher the charges. Still this is not an issue if you meeting have an audience of less than one hundred.

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