Running a business is a complex operation; from finances to personnel, management to growth planning, everyday you’re challenged to overcome new obstacles and maximise on new opportunities. There’s been many articles written, and growth hacks developed to try and improve efficiencies in terms of running a business. As the owner of a business a key goal for you should be to continually strive for greater efficiencies within your working practices, to ensure you reach your desired objectives. Below we’ve highlighted 5 admin tools every business owner should already be using, and if you’re not, it could be time to consider how these tools could help you achieve your business goals.
The most successful businesses know they will achieve only as much their people are capable of and supported to do. Investing in tools to help you manage your employees is a tool you absolutely must invest in, to ensure your team are looked after efficiently and considerately. Cloud based tools can help you to collate, organise, and store employee documents including references, contact details, compliance, and insurance forms. This frees up inefficient paper based records systems which easily become outdated. Other online systems give you the ability you to book in holidays, record time off in lieu entitlement, record appraisal notes and set up alerts for future meetings. Using these tools will ensure your staff are taken care of without it impacting a great deal of your time.
One of the biggest challenges of owning a business is effectively managing your time, with all the demands placed on you daily. Employing a PA will allow you to remove routine administrative tasks that you need to complete, that would ordinarily eat into your time. Keeping your calendar up to date is another crucial task to ensure you better manage your time. There are time management tools available that allow you to input weekly tasks and goals into a manageable format. These programmes also allow you to prioritise tasks and flag the most important as urgent, ensuring your time is managed effectively week by week.
There are also project management tools available which allow you to create projects, input client details and details of the team who will be managing the project. Other programmes allow you to track activity and produce reports, to monitor the efficiency in which the project is being completed. The project team can access updates from mobile devices, meaning they are able to access information on the project from anywhere, at any time. To aid team collaboration, some tools are designed to remove many of the challenges faced by teams working on the same project, or series of projects. Using colour coordinated boards and an integrated messaging system, these programmes allow team members to communicate effectively with each other throughout the different stages of the project.
As the business owner, it might not be you directly who uses digital analytics software to create reports, but they are absolutely a tool you should be using. Anyone in a digital marketing role should be competent in using online analytics programmes to produce meaningful reports on the returns from online marketing. From monitoring where visitors to your website reach your site from, to which pages on your site are most read – these platforms can give you incredible access into information about the performance of your website and social media channels. Decide what results you want from your website and social networks, and work with your digital marketers to set up a dashboard which will give you the ability to print off monthly reports with just the data you’re interested in reviewing. If you’re investing cash into your online advertising, then your analytics reports can give you information on the cost per acquisition of your online customers. Setting up a dashboard is very straight forward, so if you don’t have a digital marketing expert in your business, you can follow simple how-to guides online to pull together the data you want to review yourself.
As the business world transforms into an online stratosphere, new and exciting opportunities have opened up in terms of online networking and lead generation, and at a rate never seen before. With so many channels and platforms available to highlight your brand, and more opportunities than ever before to promote your product or service, utilising online opportunities is one of the most effective ways to generate and convert interested parties into paying customers. Tracking and recording online leads can be an extremely time-consuming administrative task. For example, some analytics sites can tell you loose details about who has been on your site, by recording the IP address of the visitor. This could be quite exciting if your company has a particular brand listed as a target customer, as through analytics it is possible to investigate whether a member of the team from that brand has visited the company website. These lead generators can even tell you which pages of your site any one individual has visited and how long they were on the site for. However, using free tools is an admin heavy, time-consuming way of recording online leads.
More effective tools that can tell you exactly who’s been on your site, down to the person’s name and email address, include paid tools which delve deeper into the visitor's IP address. This provides a business with more tangible potential leads than relying on the free options available. Social networking sites also offer effective paid analytics tools to track leads, showing you who’s been viewing your profile, and then automatically allowing you to save that person into your CRM to contact, if relevant, at a later date. These two platforms remove the time constraints involved in manually searching and recording potential customers details before contact is even made, which ensures any potential sales you go on to make are even more cost effective.
Many business owners work with PA’s to manage their travel, diary and administrative tasks so they can focus on the demanding responsibilities that come with running a business. For many business owners, frequent travelling means that most of their time is not spent in a single office, so a remote PA service like SmartPA’s could be a great solution. You will be supported wherever you are and have peace of mind that the day to day details are being taken care of by a professional so that you can concentrate on your other responsibilities. PA’s also provide excellent communication management, meaning that responses can be sent ‘from you’ without impacting your time, unless a response from you directly is required. By using an online remote PA, you also remove the time required to manage an in-house member of staff, which would otherwise be another strain on your time.
One of the key ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness in your business, is to implement tools that will help you to achieve your growth objectives in the most time efficient way. The tools we’ve listed above are tried and tested methods that have helped businesses to grow and succeed. If you’re not already using these tools, and you are struggling to reach your objectives due to the burden of the administrative tasks you're faced with, any of these tools are a great investment to get your goals back on track.
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