by Guest blogger Michael Harrison
One of the few things I recall from my accountancy studies was the “Profit Formula” – you can only impact profit by doing one of three things
- Reducing Expenses
- Increasing Margins, or
- Growing Sales
Doing all three provides a self-leveraging bonanza. As a result I’m always on the lookout for technological solutions that can act on one of these three levers.
This week I want to share some tools that I use to leverage my business.
In a mobile world, offices and secretaries are a relic of the past. The first money saving tool I use is dictation. Dictation has come a long way. It is available on virtually every smart phone and many computers. On a Mac it is built in. You click on your selected hotkey and it works across all programs.
Hand in hand with dictation is one of the many shortcut programs that are available – often referred to as snippets. Again these shortcuts work on most phones and all computers to save you from typing recurring keystrokes. Anything you type more than once should be saved for recurring use.
Dictation and snippets are the stepping-stones to using a virtual personal assistant. Mine is located in Australia but many of my colleagues are using considerably less expensive services out of the Philippines or other Asian countries.
These guys speak excellent English; they can make anything from a flight booking to doctors’ appointment. They can pay your accounts and keep your books and their turnaround times are excellent. The bottom line is; you only pay for the hours they actually work. No holiday pay; leave loadings, office expenses or overtime.
In my experience people deal with you for one of two reasons – the perception they have of you or the relationship you build with them. Fortunately technology makes improving both of these easy.
Building perception means making yourself look better, smarter and more knowledgeable than your competitors.
In an “always on” digital world “out of sight” means “out of business”.
Your website needs to generate leads, tell people you are easy to deal with, knowledgeable about your product or area of expertise and what makes you different to your competitors
On my site you can participate in a survey, leave me a voicemail, send me an email, read my latest ideas, listen to a podcast or watch video.
For most of us, business revolves around contacting potential clients, building a relationship with them and maintaining and enhancing the relationship.
Doing that effectively requires a good CRM. The best CRMs mine data to keep you up to date with what your clients are doing, which allows you to personalise contact. For a low cost solution, take a look at LinkedIn Connected. It’s a smart phone app that can power your contacts and give you an edge before you go to an appointment.
Staying in touch effectively requires a variety of contact methods. The simplest and one of the most effective, provided you don’t overuse it, is text messaging because it is instant, everyone has a mobile phone and text messages are read.
You can use an online system to schedule messages in advance or use an automated response text service.
What tools are you using?