In today’s connected world, there’s more pressure than ever before to make sure your business stands out from the crowd. And whether your company is very large or still just finding its niche, there are some surprisingly simple 21st century solutions available to deal more efficiently with common business hassles. From interacting better with potential customers, to getting time-consuming admin tasks out of the way so you can focus on growth – we’ve put together some of our favorites!
Being contactable 24/7
Everyone needs to sleep, but no-one wants to lose customers because they weren’t contactable outside of standard office hours either. It’s important to remember that you have one staff member who never sleeps, however – and that’s your website. Keep your FAQ updated, easy to find and navigate, and try to have as many valuable resources as possible available day or night on your website. Make sure customers are able to leave a message, easily find the right email address, or direct them to a suitable social media platform after hours – and just as importantly, make sure you check all these platforms first thing in the morning! Investing in a chat bot for your website can also be very helpful, especially if you get a lot of enquiries outside of business hours.
Finding the right talent
While using a dedicated recruitment agency is always a good idea when filling critical positions, hiring staff yourself can take up a lot of time. Having to run background checks, verify qualifications and references, and all of the other admin that goes into recruitment and hiring staff takes time away from running and growing your business. If this is happening to you, then making use of a service such as GoodHire, which handles all of the paperwork for you, is a no-brainer.
Another option which can be extremely cost-effective for small businesses is to hire freelancers to assist with projects as needed, rather than hiring a fulltime employee. Sites such as Upwork and Freelancer.com are good places to start, and you’ll be able to see comments and compliments from previous employers before you decide to ‘hire’ someone. You can also have freelancers bid on a per-project or hourly rate, so there’s a good deal of flexibility too.
Contracts and legal documents
Not every business has the budget to keep their own legal team on retainer, but thankfully, many law firms are branching out to offer affordable services directed at small to medium businesses and entrepreneurs. Partnering with a reputable firm where you can get legal advice online and quickly and easily source common contracts and legal agreements can save you a lot of money – and stress! Depending on your needs, you can pay a monthly subscription to have access to all the services you require, or even opt for a ‘pay as you use’ arrangement.
Team and project management
In the age of digital nomads and freelancers who work remotely, there’s been massive demand for simple platforms that let managers easily delegate and track assigned tasks, as well as letting team members communicate with one another. Trello has seen massive success in this arena – so much so that the service was recently purchased by Atlassian for the rather eye watering sum of $425 million! It’s also free for small teams, with the ability to scale up to a paid service when and if you need it. With its highly visual and easy to interact with interface, it’s made managing lots of projects at once much simpler for businesses across various industries.
Accounting and payroll
Preparing your invoices and statements on Microsoft Excel is all well and fine for startups, but eventually every business needs either a dedicated accountant – or software that can fill the gap. One option that has proved popular is Wave, where you can access basic accounting and reports for free, and upgrade to a more comprehensive service which includes automatic payroll integration and payments tracking should you need it. There are plenty of other options out there too, and it’s definitely worth investigating what solutions are available in your specific region, where VAT and tax rates might call for a more specific solution.
There’s a lot of pressure these days for companies to have a presence on all kinds of social media platforms – from LinkedIn to Twitter to Facebook to Instagram and everything in between. But remembering to check in with all of them, let alone post regular updates, can be quite a challenge! If you’re struggling (and no-one could blame you!) then a solution like Hootsuite -where you can view and post to all your various social networks from one simple screen- can make your life a lot easier. Like all good 21st century solutions, you can start off with a free account, and level up to greater functionality should you need it.