Change doesn’t always need to be sweeping. Change the way you sweep and see what happens.
A big part of my role is to be a thought leader on change and how technology can support a better process. The end goal usually being an efficiency gain or more importantly a better client experience.
Through my experiences at RLB and Amplify, I have come across some very helpful tools as well as a philosophical approach that can be applied to a wide range of businesses. Business owners often ask me for advice on better ways to operate their business, after all, they would rather be out doing what they love then worrying about back-end operations. Entrepreneurs, employees and even long time business owners all fear spending time drudging away on a repetitive task or overspending on a low value service… or even worse, BOTH at the same time!
I am a big fan of easy wins. Small changes that can help you build a better process or improve your clients experience. I’m not into change for the sake of change, but doing something because that’s how you have always done it doesn’t fly well with me. Be honest with yourself – does it work well ? If the answer is no, change the way you sweep!
Nothing below is going to be all that earth shattering, but my hope is that it will help you to impress your team members, clients and maybe even the competition.
File Sharing Dropbox.com
Every business has files and will most likely need to share them at some point. Sharing doesn’t just mean with employees or your accountant but with your clients as well. In either case this process should be simple and it can be free! You should be trying your best to be easy to deal with on both the “front-end” and “back-end” of your business as the result will be providing better service as well as receiving better service.
Check out dropbox below – spend 10 minutes brainstorming how you could use it internally and externally. Clients can upload files of any size, you can seamlessly store files that your whole team can access anywhere anytime and you can customize who can see each folder. Even for personal use you will find it useful as the video mentions.
I mentioned “being easy to deal with”…. providing payment should be a seamless process for your clients. If you want to get paid often and in a timely manner (who doesn’t?) there should be no pain points and no confusion.
What makes Plooto so powerful is its ease of use and integration with cloud accounting programs Xero and QuickBooks Online. Create your invoices and send them to your clients, when payment is received the invoice is marked as paid and you’re done.
Plooto works for making vendor payments as well in much the same way!
Social Media Scheduling Hootsuite.com
Having a social media presence is a consensus method of building your brand and engaging your target audience. For this to be effective your accounts need to be monitored and active. Hootsuite will allow you to monitor, post and even schedule posts to multiple social media platforms.
I have found that this DOESN’t necessarily save you significant amounts of time, but it DOES allow you to be pretty effective on your own time. What I mean by this is that you can carve off an hour each week to “check-in” and schedule the weeks/months posts when its convenient for you. You should still be monitoring any engagements and responding in a timely manner but at least your posts are set!
I use slack everyday. Its is something that the team at RLB and AMPLIFY rely heavily on for team communication. Slack is available in any web browser and has an app that has the same user interface so its very easy to use. There is often some confusion about “what is Slack” ? Slack is mostly a chat application but its so much more than that. It allows for topic based discussion, file sharing, private groups and private chats as well as what are called channels that are public to your entire team and can be left or joined by individuals as they please.
Integrations with other apps are growing all the time and they can take you conversations to the next level. The biggest benefit I find is the ability to eliminate some meetings and allow the conversation to continue throughout the work week and people can contribute when it works best for them. New team members can be invited to the group and get caught up on any conversation.
If communication is key then so is Slack!
User experience and information gathering are far too important to ignore but they often are by many businesses. Typeform gives your clients or even team members a clean, controlled experience while compiling information for you. Essentially, Typefrom allows you to build an online form that you can share with a link or have on your website. There are many different question types and all of the answers can be viewed in a report on downloaded to a spreadsheet. The paid version will allow you to build a logic tree so if someone chooses “Option A” then they receive a different set of specific questions. The forms can be branded, look really slick and are easy to use. Check out one of the examples here !
Tools That Your Company Needs to Consider
These are tools that can get you some of those quick wins. All of them have a free option that you can implement today (with the exception of Plooto). If not these particular tools, then at least consider the problem that they solve. None of them have to be implemented with all of your clients or customers at the same time either, you can try with a small group or even with just one and see how they respond.
I am always willing to talk with anyone who will listen on how these tools can help a business and how they have helped me. If you are interested in talking about how they can help your business let me know!