Are you using technology to the max? “Inside Business 360” states: 1) that technology can help your business get ahead of its competitors by 2) increasing the speed tasks are completed, by 3) allowing employees to have the most up-to-date information on hand, and therefore 4) freeing up time to focus on even more strategic, thoughtful initiatives. . . .
Here are some low cost options that can make a big difference in your business:
Cloud-Based Online Storage and Collaboration
Cloud-based systems are a must, as the cloud removes the need for you to upgrade physical infrastructure like email programs, storage capacity, or software and instead uses a host company to assume responsibility for these items. The most common cloud-based storage systems include online storage and collaboration. Most companies offer free versions, with options to upgrade for more capacity and functionality.
Google Docs allows you to create, collaborate on, share, and store documents online. You can update documents in real-time, for example typing as you are on a conference call and working with someone to finalize verbiage for your marketing materials.
With Dropbox you can store your files online using their cloud software, and share them with anybody you want to share it with. Some also use Dropbox as a backup for your important documents.
The Evernote app saves time by allowing you to take photos of things, like the scraps of notes left over after a brainstorming meeting, and incorporate them into files that are searchable by keyword. You can use this functionality to digitize your business receipts from your phone, and have all of this information appear on the same app linked to your desktops.
Tracking expenses and invoices using the cloud can reduce the time and money you spend maintaining in-house accounting software and hardware, as well as share the information at a moment’s notice from anywhere in the world. According to a recent study from Xero, using online accounting and invoicing tools even leads to businesses being paid faster. Freshbooks, Quickbooks Online Plus, Abukai are some companies that have solid reputations in this area.
InsightSquared provides salesforce analytics which allows sales managers or business owners to run reports and have a clear view of your team’s sales process and pipelines. Pricing starts at $65 per user, and can be linked with customer relationship management (CRM) systems including Salesforce.com.
Social Media and Communication
Instead of crafting individual welcome notes every time an individual signs up to your email blast list, maximize your efficiency by utilizing a newsletter service. Aweber, Constant Contact, and iContact all have monthly fees ranging from $14 to $47 depending on the depth of service you want from them.
Instead of paying for traditional land lines to makes sales pitches, consider using Skype for phone communication. Not only are calls made to others on the platform free, but the cost per minute to other land line phones are a fraction of those using traditional methods. Plus, you can add a personal touch by using video chats to keep business partners and key clients in the loop.
If you have launched social media attached to your company, HootSuite can be used to manage your different profiles at once, though it’s not very good with LinkedIn because your entire message is put in the header. Still, it allows you to schedule messages to be published in the future, you can get an analysis of how your posts are doing, and collaborate with other management members to spread the burden of maintaining your profiles by yourself, all for under $10 per month.
If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to check out these others:
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Everything You Need to Know About Mobile Advertising
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This article is published by Will Sherwood | The Sherwood Group |Website Design | Graphic Design | Marketing Communications: The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising, graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering, Now what do we do?” We are located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
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Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?
By Violetta 19 Sep 2014
Nice article, thanks for sharing Will!
By Kaushik 21 Sep 2014
Really helpful and informative article. 🙂
I’ll wait for more ….