The Busy Entrepreneurs' Guide to Streamlining Your Processes and Freeing Up Your Time

The Busy Entrepreneurs’ Guide to Streamlining Your Processes and Freeing Up Your Time [Contributed Blog]

May 10, 2019 - 12 minutes read - Business Growth, Business Management, Business Tools, Contributed Posts

Being a one-person operation can be tough as you need to be all things to all people and carry out every role that is required in your business, from ordering in supplies through to completing jobs and arranging their deliveries the onus is on you to get it all done and get it all done on time.

While it’s great to be busy, many entrepreneurs find themselves short of the time that they need to focus on what they do best. Getting caught up in all the day to day admin tasks that running a company brings is not only frustrating but a real drain on your time too. Spending too much time away from your core business means that time that could be used to pursue prospects and grow the business further is lost. If you find that you are forever chasing your tail trying to stay on top of the daily running of your business, you may feel that you are losing your competitive edge, as you don’t have the time to re-evaluate your business strategy and scale up your company in order to stay ahead of your competitors.

As technology continues to advance further, the possibilities to simplify your business processes through the use of technology become even more of a reality. All these new technologies mean that there are plenty of opportunities for you to turn these to your advantage and free up some time for yourself and to refocus your efforts on growing your business further.

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CRM Software

Customer relationship management (CRM) software can be a real asset for busy entrepreneurs. As a one-person operation or the head of a small team, you probably find that your mind is continually swimming with thoughts of all the things you need to do, people that you need to speak to, invoices that you need to chase, and a to-do list that’s longer than your arm.

Using a CRM platform can help you to stay on top of your customer interactions and streamline your sales process. Using a CRM platform means that all your client’s data is in one place. You will be able to see what the customer had previously bought from you when you last contacted them and have information readily available of your previous marketing efforts. One significant benefit of using a system such as this one where all the information is available on one dashboard means that as your business expands and you recruit more staff, everyone will have access to the same information, preventing any duplication of effort, and improving the customer experience with better service.

CRM platforms can also be used to streamline your business’ marketing efforts and save you lots of time in the process. Utilizing the email marketing technology will mean that you can send out regular marketing emails to your customers at a chosen time with minimum effort on your part.

Another popular use of CRM software is the capability to make customer service much more straightforward. Automating the customer service process can allow customers to contact you quickly through functions such as live chat. The live chat function, in particular, can be useful in converting sales, as it enables customers to ask a question relating to your product or service while actively browsing your website.

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Outsource Where You Can

While hiring in extra employees may be a great way to save you some time and help you to get more done, the cost can be prohibitive. Hiring an employee isn’t as simple as just paying an annual wage. There are also lots of other factors and hidden costs to be considered, such as employee benefits, sick pay and increased insurance costs.

One way to overcome the need for an extra staff member without incurring the cost of a new employee is to outsource. Outsourcing allows you to delegate tasks to someone who carries out work on behalf of your business without being employed by your company.

A benefit of outsourcing your work is that it can be done on either a short term or long term basis. If you have a backlog of work that you are not making progress on and it’s preventing you from moving onto other tasks you may outsource someone to help you to work through the backlog and to get you back up to date. Alternatively, you may have some tasks that you really dislike and dread doing, and may want someone to pass these over to.

There are a few different approaches which you can take to outsource work; these include; hiring a professional freelancer and drawing up a contract, hiring a freelance virtual assistant, subscribing to a virtual assistant agency to source the right assistant to suit your needs.

A huge benefit of outsourcing work is that you can select someone that has specialist skills to carry out the role. For example, you may want an executive PA who can manage your inbox for you. Alternatively, you may wish to search for a social media manager to handle your posts and build your social media following and engagement.

Simplify Your Phone Systems

When you’re busy in the office and trying to rush out to customer meetings, keeping on top of your phone calls can feel like a logistical nightmare. A Virtual Phone System can help with this by providing you with a simplified system for managing your calls, allowing you to remain professional even when you are busy away from your office.

Using a virtual phone system can enable you to send and receive texts from your business number, and forward your calls from your office to wherever you may be.

Virtual phone systems can also enable you to set up a toll-free number, or a personalized number that best suits your business and is memorable for your customers.

Another benefit of using a virtual phone system is its ability to grow with your business. As you begin to scale up your business and your number of employees grows, you will be able to add on more extensions for each staff member.

Conference Calls and Video Conferencing

Sometimes an email just doesn’t achieve what you need it to when you are communicating with your customers. A face to face meeting is a great way to build relationships with your customers and to present information to them. However, a face to face meeting is not always possible and can be a logistical nightmare. As a small business owner, it’s not always possible to shut up the business for the day to travel to a meeting with a client when you have loads of other work to get on with and no one else to take of the office. The costs of travel are also often a barrier to getting out on the road to meet with a client.
To save you both time and money using a conference call or video conferencing software can be the next best solution.
Using video conferencing software often enables you to schedule in the call with your client electronically, making it really quick and easy to arrange. Using video conferencing software allows you to see each other and makes the communication that bit more personal.

Other great features usually included with a conference call and video conferencing software include the ability to record the call, so that anyone that has missed it can view it at a later date, and the ability to screen share so that you can deliver a presentation, or show the client visuals.

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Accountancy Software

To keep your business running smoothly it is vital to stay on top of your accounts. Paying invoices on time, generating invoices for your customers and ensuring they pay them on time is all essential to keeping your cash flow healthy, and your business organized.

Staying up to date with your accounts can be a job that often gets put off, time and time again, after all, there are always just so many other jobs to do first. However, not updating your accounts regularly and keeping track of your expenses can lead to a whole load of stress and panic as you approach the end of the tax year.

While doing your accounts may not be your favorite part of running your business, it is essential and can be made a whole lot easier by using a helpful accounting software program. Nowadays, there is a wide range of accounting software programs available, all designed to simplify the process of doing your accounts and saving you lots of time in the process. Different programs have different features, making it easy to select one that’s within your budget and performs all the functions that you need it to. From generating invoices to keeping track of your expenses, accounting software can help you save time and effort on many of your day to day tasks. Many accountancy software programs also offer a free trial, enabling you to give them a try to see if they are the right program for you.

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