In the sections below, I've listed a number of ways that I help businesses to streamline. If you'd like more info, click here to get in touch.
In the sections below, I've listed some of the common ways that I help businesses to streamline their operations. Have a read, and let me know if you'd like more information on any of them.
If there's a particular business problem you're struggling with, I'd be happy to walk through it with you and suggest some possible solutions. You can give me a call on 07 5415 0465, or send me an enquiry.
Setting up a way for your clients and staff to communicate is a basic part of running a business, but also an area that is often underdeveloped. Great communication can set you apart from your competitors and make your team more effective, while poor communication can create frustration and lose deals.
CRM (customer relationship management) software helps you to provide better service to your clients. Inside the software you set up different client stages (e.g. initial contact, waiting for quote), and then as your staff and the clients communicate, the CRM keeps track of everything that was said and done in one place.
With a CRM, you can plan an ideal client experience, and then consistently deliver it. You'll be able to maintain full visibility into where different clients are up to, ensure that everybody is followed up with, and gain useful insights that improve your success rate.
When you call a business and hear a welcome message, closed message, or "press 1 for sales", that is a phone system in use. At a basic level, phone systems allow multiple staff to answer and receive calls at the same time, and redirect incoming calls to the right location without needing to go through reception.
However, they also provide you with the flexibility to answer calls from any device (e.g. desk phones, mobile phone, or computer) as though you were right there in the office. Other features like automatic call recording can help with training or verification.
Communication between staff is often overlooked - just send them an email or call them, right? While that works, when you want to communicate with more than one person, team chat is often a more efficient solution.
Team chat separates communication into different channels (e.g. general, accounting, sales) that the relevant staff can see. When someone posts a message in the channel, anybody in the channel can respond or join the conversation, while keeping it in an easy to read format (unlike long email chains). Another big advantage is search - it's fast and easy to find information that other staff have shared in the past.
In professional service businesses, it's easy to spend a lot of time on the legwork to get a client over the line. Modern tools can dramatically reduce some of the work here, and provide a more professional experience to the client.
If you're creating proposals in software like word or indesign, you know they can take hours of editing to create, and the result isn't always professional. Cloud proposal software allows you to create proposal templates, style them professionally, and send them to clients in a fraction of the time.
Unlike sending a standard document, cloud proposals can also be interactive. You can set up multiple pricing options that a client can select from, allow clients to sign electronically, and provide the ability to pay straight away. Plus, they look great when viewed on any device.
When you organise a lot of client meetings or appointments, a tool to manage bookings can elimate a lot of back and forth to find timeslots. Your client simply goes to a web URL, picks from a list of times, and it's synchronised to your calendar.
Once booking is confirmed you can automatically send SMS/email reminders, or instructions such as how to find your office. If some of your appointments are billable services, the software can also collect payment during booking.
The easier you make it to pay you, the faster you'll often get paid. Online payments are often a lot more convenient for clients - punching in their credit card details is a familiar activity, and doesn't usually require being sent to accounts.
Besides the convenience, online payments can also open up new ways of billing, such as setting up recurring payments, automatically passing on credit card fees, or automatically reconciling payments in your accounting software.
Executing projects successfully requires effective organisation, prioritisation, and management of both the tasks and your team. If you work on multiple projects at once, juggling resources between them further adds to the complexity. Thankfully, there's a variety of ways that technology can make this easier.
Providing a centralised place to store projects, their information, and any related communication is what project management software does. It helps you keep track of where projects are up to, what still needs to be done, and if they'll meet budgets and deadlines.
Projects can be broken up into individual tasks, which are then assigned to relevant team members. Team members can log their time on the project, add notes or files, and tick work off they complete it - allowing management to accurately gauge the progress.
Organising your staff resources across multiple projects can be difficult, especially when priorities change or staff are absent. Manually changing calendars can easily become a full time job, while also creating confusion with staff when something changes.
Smart scheduling tools simplify this process, and ensure that everybody knows what to work on. They make it easy for management to take into account things like how many hours a staff member works, who is under/over utilised, and how availability is affecting project deadlines.
Standardising how your projects run is a key way to streamline your business. By setting up project templates, you can plan what should happen at each stage of the project, and ensure it is consistently executed every time.
Integrating technology in parts of the template can help to further streamline the process. You could use online forms to collect information you require from customers, or automations that generate milestone invoices when certain tasks are completed.
Eliminate paper and simplify the work required to create and send documents in your business. If you create a lot of documents in your business, you know that it can often be tedious and prone to errors. Using modern document tools, you can reduce the labour involved, and bring a higher level of professionalism.
Almost all businesses send invoices electronically, but in many professional service businesses, creating the invoice is still a manual process. This can create delays in sending the invoices (and getting paid), and opens up the possibility of errors such as missing billable work.
Most invoicing software can be linked with your CRM, project management, or proposal software. This allows you to automatically generate invoices at particular milestones (e.g. proposal signed, send invoice for 50%), complete with the full list of work details for your client.
If your business creates a lot of documents (e.g. reports, contracts, forms), document software provides a way to streamline this process and reduce manual editing. The software allows you to build templates with your standard document text, and configure areas that will be customised with client specific details.
Once the template is created, you simply input the client info, and it will generate a finished professional document for you. For even greater efficiency this process can be automated, for example generating a document when a client enters information in an online form.
Using paper or PDF forms in your business often creates an unnecessary expense. The information in these forms usually needs to be re-typed or copied into a different system, introducing labour costs and the possibility of errors. Online forms can provide a more efficient way to collect information from your clients.
With an online form, your client visits a website, fills in a form with the information you need, in the format that you need it in. That information can then be sent directly into your business systems (e.g. creating a new client in your accounting software, or adding files your project).
No matter what type of business you're running, there's a wide variety of tasks involved in keeping your operations going. A procedure management system allows you to document how work should be done (e.g. new client setup process), and turn it into an interactive checklist.
Using interactive procedures allows you to schedule when things need to happen, assign them to your staff, and make sure that everything is being done correctly. They also help you to protect important knowledge of how things are done, so it's never lost if an employee leaves.
Knowing your numbers is important to make informed decisions in your business. You can gain useful insights from key information like most popular products, stock arrival dates, and sales figures, but it can sometimes be difficult to get this data from the various systems it exists in.
Business dashboards automate the process of collecting, collating, and reformatting the data you need. The information is turned into an easy visual format of graphs and summaries, and automatically updated as new data flows in.
As a business grows, manual procedures that initially worked well can often become bottlenecks. Maybe you need to copy information from one system to another, or regularly enter data into a spreadsheet. Automation and integration lets computers take care of those repetitive tasks.
Not having to do these manual jobs will free you and your staff up to focus on more important work, like helping customers, generating revenue, and building your business.