Small businesses need to use proper tools to manage their time and schedule in order to maintain competitive excellence in industries with much larger players. Because of advances in IT programs and infrastructure, the tools for time management normally reserved for large corporations are now available for small businesses. Many of these tools come in integrated packages which provide the tools you need to run you business in one affordable package.
The following 4 tools provide you systems management for your business to increase your available time.
1. Workflow Planning/Whiteboard
One of the most powerful business tools of the 20th century was a whiteboard. Work planning, task assignment and scheduling, and goal setting were all managed efficiently from whiteboards. For modern business systems, a physical whiteboard is no longer the best method for workflow planning because the time lost in transferring items from a whiteboard to your computer systems increases both time necessary for planning and the chance of items not being copied into your computer system.
A modern workflow planning system will give you tools to manage planned activities, assign tasks in specific order, and plan in such a way that everyone on your team knows where you are going, the time-frame to get there, and who takes the lead at any given time.
2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
An essential part of any sales or marketing system, a CRM is a software program designed specifically to track and manage contacts with your customers and leads. A CRM saves businesses time in multiple ways. Preventing lost leads, reducing redundancies in customer service communication, and managing your customer database from a centralized place are all part of how a CRM saves you time in your business.
A good CRM for time management will be accessible from your sales team’s mobile devices. This saves time and data as you are able to capture leads and store them directly into your database without carrying business cards in your pockets, transferring data from notepads to excel, or any other of a variety of systems people attempt to use to manage contact information.
3. Automation Software
Although automation software is an obvious time-saver, many small business owners do not know how affordable and accessible modern automation systems are. Many software programs have automatic processes for marketing emails, follow-up responses, integration with multiple software systems (ERP, accounting and financial, CRM, WMS) to give your business accurate and timely information across your software platforms.
While automation software and hardware used to be added to a business’s IT systems, this has changed. Advances in cloud computing and storage have moved many business process management systems online. Online clouds enable many software providers to integrate automation systems and API’s within their core software at an affordable price for small businesses.
4. Cloud-Based Software
Although not a specific tool, cloud-based software programs offer small businesses several time saving tools that traditional in-house platforms do not. Cloud-based software offers reduced install times, gives you universal access to your software, and reduces your costs involved with in-house data centers.
A cloud-based software system is accessible via an internet connection, meaning any web-connected device can be used by you and your team to get work done. From a quality software company, it also provides you better security and infrastructure than most small businesses can afford to put in on their own.
Workforce planning, CRM, automation and cloud-based software can all be found in separate platforms or integrated into one. Because of advances in technology, these 4 tools are all available to small businesses at affordable prices and in good time. For more information about how our CRM fills all the roles of these tools, please contact us today.