You knew in your bones you could make it on your own as a consultant or subcontractor. You were tired of using your skills as someone else’s employee, so you decided to start your own business.
Now you have mixed feelings. You’re relieved, because now you are your own boss. But perhaps you are also overwhelmed. You might have scared yourself, thinking: How do I get started? How am I going to do this? Help!
Is this you? Well, you’re lucky! Until just a few years ago, small business owners had to get it all done using Microsoft Office and QuickBooks. Now, because of the cloud, all kinds of apps exist to help you manage your business. Some of these apps are available for free, others for a low cost.
I believe small business owners should use apps that talk to each other. Having one centralized database where you can see all the details of your interactions with your clients is a great way to manage your business. Helping small business owners achieve this is why I became a small business CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) coach!
© Can Stock Photo / stevanovicigor
Build a list
Keep in mind: small business is community based. That being said, it is essential that you start tracking the people you meet at each stage of the relationship building process from day one.
Start by building a list of the people you meet while you are out there networking and talking about your business. How do you do that? You might as well start off on the right foot, by using CRM – Customer Relationship Management.
Insightly CRM is a great option for consultants. Why? Because Insightly allows you to manage your contacts, create a sales pipeline to track your potential clients, and track your projects and tasks. And you can get started for free. Can’t beat that.
You’re probably reading a lot about how the cloud and software automation continue to make businesses run more efficiently. What you maybe didn’t know is that there are a lot of cloud systems that provide automation for small businesses. These two together add a lot of value to small business owners who use customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. CRMs have become some of the most useful tools for customer communication, data organization, and business automation.
One CRM like this is the affordable and powerful Insightly, a program we’ve integrated into numerous businesses. We want to tell you a story about how Insightly helped a travel agency in Colorado, Chalets USA. This company’s target market is European tourists coming to the U.S. during ski season. This story demonstrates how automation and the cloud integrate to aid many tasks, that otherwise would take hours to do.
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / gpointstudio
Choosing a CRM for Your Small Business
Recently we worked with a small manufacturing company on a CRM selection project. We started by getting to know them and how they work. They do custom projects and would need to add about 20 users to the new CRM from their management, sales, and fabrication teams. Working with this team, we helped them select Microsoft Dynamics CRM as the best fit for their business.
But that wasn’t the end of the decisions the principal owner faced. He still had to make one of the key decisions businesses have with any complex software implementation: Do you buy your own on-premise system, or do you subscribe to a partner hosted CRM?
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / designer491
I recently met “Joe”, a small business owner who is having issues with his Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Joe has a CRM software application designed for small businesses, and it is installed locally. (more…)