When you’re busy trying to run and grow a business, it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. You may have the best intentions of sitting down for a strategy planning session, but paperwork, emails, and client calls can quickly eat up the day. Before you know it, the day is gone and that strategy planning session has been moved to tomorrow’s to-do list.
It’s a vicious cycle, and one you’ll never get out of unless you actively work to change it. Instead of putting out fires all day, why not find ways to prevent them all together? Here are four easy ways to simplify your business so you’ll have more time for the important things:
1. Get your head in the clouds
Cloud-based technology is quickly becoming the go-to solution for businesses and for good reason: it’s so simple. Cloud-based storage doesn’t require messy server maintenance and has proven to be safe and reliable. Plus, you can access files anywhere you have an internet connection. You can’t beat that kind of convenience.
- Ditch the clunky PBX phone server and look into cloud-hosted VoIP technology. Jive (opens in new tab) has reliable and affordable phone systems for businesses of all sizes.
- Dropbox for Business (opens in new tab) is a seamless file backup system that makes collaboration and file sharing a breeze.
- Never lose precious data to hard drive failure again. Mozy (opens in new tab) allows you to schedule automated computer backups.
2. Just automate it
Why spend time paying bills and sending invoices when technology can do it for you? By automating some of your more menial tasks, you’ll free up time to focus on the big picture. Bonus points if you can automate a task you loathe.
- Log in to your bank’s online banking portal and set up automatic payments for any recurring bills.
- Accounting software such as FreshBooks (opens in new tab) allows you to set a schedule for recurring invoices to be sent automatically. You can also sync it with your bank account to automatically track expenses.
- Salesforce (opens in new tab) is a powerful CRM platform that allows you to automate a variety of tasks such as contact management, online marketing, inventory control and community engagement.
3. Cut the meetings
It’s no secret that businesses have too many meetings these days—and many of them are an unproductive waste of time. Before calling a meeting, ask yourself if a simple email would suffice. If it won’t, be mindful of other people’s time; only invite those whose attendance is truly necessary and create a short agenda of what you want to cover so you stay on track.
- SamePage’s Ultimate Meeting Agenda Tool (opens in new tab) is great for generating agendas and allowing participants to take notes that everyone can see.
- Less Meeting (opens in new tab) allows participants to record meeting minutes. It also syncs with task management software and sends automatic follow-ups to remind people of action items they are responsible for.
- SwipeToMeet (opens in new tab) is an app that simplifies scheduling meetings. All you have to do is select which contacts you’d like to invite, swipe through a list of times when everyone is available, and send the calendar invitation.
4. Make your website do the work
Wouldn’t it be great if you could cut down the number of calls or emails you receive from customers? That’s where your website comes in. If you notice a large number of customers requesting specific information, consider adding that information to your website’s FAQ page. While person-to-person customer service is important, adding the answers to FAQs could cut down customer inquiries dramatically, allowing you to focus on the customers who truly do need your assistance.
- Make updating your website as easy as possible by using a web platform like WordPress (opens in new tab).
- Check out this blog post on how to write a great FAQ page (opens in new tab).
- Read this article (opens in new tab) for a list of ways to grow sales using an FAQ page.
Hopefully these quick tips give you a few ideas on how to simplify your business. Even if you try only one or two of them, you’re bound to have more time to focus on the things you want to do instead of the things you have to do.