Time is the great equaliser. All companies have varying resources, such as money and employees, but every single business has the exact same number of hours in a day.
That means that the SMEs that make the best use of their time are in the best position to outperform, and perhaps even outlast, their competition and thrive in today’s crowded marketplace.
When it comes to productivity, a company may have half the employees of its fiercest competition, but if its talent is more efficient with their time, they can chisel away at that advantage. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there to streamline your business processes, carry out regular tasks more efficiently, and boost your SME’s productivity.
With that in mind, here are five of the best tools for maximising your potential and achieving your business objectives in less time…
Trello is a project management tool that allows you to effortlessly keep track of the progress of what you’re working on. It provides a visual representation of a project, making it easy to quickly determine how far along you are. Trello allows you to create tasks, assign them to people, give them deadlines (and sync them with a calendar), add notes and comments, create checklists, attach necessary files, and so much more.
Best of all, it has a growing library of add-ons to suit the needs of your business, as well as integration support for a number of popular tools and services, such as MailChimp, Dropbox, and Gmail.
Face for Business
Naturally, every company wants to receive calls from potential customers and clients. More often than not, when the phone rings, there’s money on the line. The problem is, however, you’re not always available to answer incoming calls and moreover, some companies shouldn’t even have their employees answering the phone. It can interrupt their flow when they should be concentrating on the task at hand.
That’s where Face for Business comes in. It’s a call answering service that provides you with a professionally trained, virtual receptionist to handle your incoming calls. Not only does it save time and allow you and your employees to work uninterrupted, but it gives your company that added touch of professionalism. Better still, they’ll weed out all the marketing and sales calls so when you’re on the phone, it’s for good reason.
One of the cardinal mistakes made by SMEs, particularly those with few employees, is trying to do everything on their own. However, this is often a poor use of time, and prevents them from concentrating on what they’re best at – providing what their customers and clients actually come to them for!
The reality is, many regular tasks could, and should, be delegated to competent professionals who can carry them out more efficiently, and cost-effectively. Usually, you’ll find a competent pro from a recommendation from someone you trust, but for those times when you don’t, there’s Upwork – an online hiring portal for finding skilled remote workers to assist with projects and day-to-day tasks.
This could include a graphic designer to create logos, business cards, and marketing material; or a freelance writer, to produce blog posts, email marketing campaigns, and other customer communication.
Upwork gives you a way to leverage other people’s time, so you and your employees can stick with what brought you to the dance and provides the most value.
Every business needs a website, and if you want to show that your business is ahead of the curve, you need to update your site regularly with content aimed at your target audience. This can take up a lot of time so it’s in an SME’s best interest for this to be as easy as possible, especially if you deal with your website in-house. WordPress is the undisputed king of content management systems (CMS) as it boasts an array of features that make things easier for business.
With its highly intuitive interface and simple media integration, it really streamlines content creation. What’s more, its version control feature tracks changes within a file, allowing you to revert to a previous version if anything goes wrong. This could potentially save you hours of having to correct a mistake.
Maintaining a strong social media presence is a must for every company. If you’re producing good content, people will share it and spread the word for you. So, it goes without saying that you need a great social media management tool and Buffer is one of the best choices out there, marrying rich functionality with ease of use.
Buffer provides a platform for you to check all your social media accounts at once – a huge time-saver in itself! You can also create custom posting schedules for each channel, allowing you to take care of publishing content ahead of time – months in advance, if you so wish. You can then track the effectiveness of your posts with powerful analytic tools, granting you insights into what’s working, what needs tweaking, and where to concentrate your efforts for maximum ROI on your social media activity. See our blog post on Digital Marketing for new start-ups for more ways you can improve your online presence.
By utilising resources like these, you’ll save time, enhance efficiency, and significantly boost your SME’s productivity, meaning you can streamline your business processes and day-to-day tasks, allowing you to better serve your customers and clients. Best of all, you’ll have more time to dedicate to business development, projects and initiatives. In no time at all, you’ll have increased your profitability and surged ahead of your competition.
Cleo Chaisty is a copywriter for Face for Business, a leading UK telephone answering service. She writes expert articles on SMEs, start-ups, and how to grow your business.