Five time-saving business tools
By Marc Gordon
By Marc Gordon
Sept. 10, 2014 – If you're like most business owners, you're probably wearing far too many "hats," taking on responsibilities like sales, marketing, purchasing and more.
While you already know you need to delegate more, let's face it, it likely won't happen any time soon. So let me share with you five tips that will save you time while still allowing you to manage every detail, no matter how small.
- Accounting software. Today's accounting packages let you keep track of expenses, receivables, payables, and contacts. And you don't even need to know accounting. Online versions allow you to check your books, pay bills, and send invoices from anywhere, even from your smartphone. While these won't replace an accountant, they can make you more aware and efficient.
- A VOIP phone line. A voice over internet line (VOIP) usually costs less than a conventional phone line while providing an abundance of useful features such as line roaming, multiple voicemail boxes, call transferring, conversation recording, unlimited long distance, and the ability to provide you with an area code of your choice.
- CRM tool. A customer relationship management (CRM) tool lets you manage and document all your interactions with customers, suppliers or anyone. Set reminders when to follow up, create tasks, generate reports and sync emails all from a single tool. Many CRM programs such as Insightly and Bitrix24 are available free to single users.
- Email marketing service. Using programs such as Gmail or Outlook are great for sending and receiving individual emails. However, using them for mass emails could potentially get you flagged as a spammer. You also have no way of knowing who opened your email and there's no way for people to opt out, which is required by law under CANSPEP and CASL. Email marketing services such as Constant Contact and Mail Chimp allow you to safely and efficiently manage and create email campaigns. Best of all, you can customize your emails with your logo, images and different layouts for that branded look.
- Alternate ways of talking face to face. While personal meetings are great, web based tools can make communicating just as effective and more efficient for everyone. Skype, Google Hangouts, and TeamViewer are all free services that allow for video conferencing and sharing files through your PC or mobile device. Meetings can be one to one or with groups of people from anywhere in the world.
Marc Gordon is a professional speaker and marketing expert. Get more marketing tips on his website, marcgordon.ca and on his online show, marctv.net.