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.
Businesses, whether large or small, often struggle with processes and operations as they continue to grow – especially in their implementation. As businesses expand, so do daily functions, and many struggle to keep things running smoothly. While this may sound challenging initially, we understand just how beneficial automation is for long-term and as well as short-term success.
A perfect example of this our ongoing work with Natural Acne Clinic to automate their business, and help them sustain their growth. Prior to our services being engaged in March 2016, this clinic had a few systems in place. However, none of them were integrated and that made it difficult for them to keep up with their rapid growth. They started receiving order notifications at an unprecedented rate… but all of their order notifications went straight to their email inbox. While an inbox is great for email, it is not really an efficient system for tracking order fulfillment.
As the skin care clinic kept growing, as did their orders. Their acne program continued to gain consumer attention, especially since they were catering to a niche market. A simple Google search for natural acne treatments was leading customers straight to their website, but the clinic was having trouble keeping up with that level of demand.
Our ultimate goal was to help this skin care clinic automate their business with Infusionsoft. But we needed to establish baseline measures, and really get to the core of what they were hoping to accomplish.
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. / dolgachov
As a small business owner you probably have heard about sales marketing automation. But what is it? And is this something that applies to your business?
What Does Sales Marketing Software Do?
Sales marketing automation replaces hiring a large team of email marketers, outreach specialists, salespeople and account managers (or trying to do it all yourself!). Marketing automation software gives you the tools to keep track of leads, personalize and customize your emails automatically, and get easy-to-understand reports on how your sales and marketing efforts are working.