An entrepreneur running a small business has a long list of duties — and many times, there is no personnel to help. Luckily, there are many resources available to a small business operator to streamline their work. Here are some tools to use for a more efficient workload.
Consider Virtual Assistants
Small businesses may not have the money for a full-time assistant. However, there are many virtual assistants online who can be hired for a few hours a month or a week to handle small tasks. If an entrepreneur knows there is a big event coming up, a virtual assistant can collect registrations or handle scheduling details.
During regular business hours, virtual assistants can return phone calls, process payments, or send emails on the behalf of the business. Just make sure there is a list of tasks for the virtual assistant to do before you hire to maximize time and money.
Make To-Do Lists
Speaking of lists, don’t underestimate the power of a to-do list. Stay organized by writing down what needs to be accomplished — and in what order. Prioritize by importance or deadline.
For old-fashioned entrepreneurs, paper and pen works fine for list making, as does the office dry erase board. For those who are more tech savvy, there’s certainly an app for that.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed By Technology
Don’t jump on every social media bandwagon that comes along. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of apps and software programs designed to do similar tasks. Find two or three apps to sync with your laptop and mobile device to help with things like email, and consider accounting software like Sage One to help with invoicing and expenses.
One mistake entrepreneurs make is constantly changing systems when something new comes along, which can waste time with new learning curves and transferring data. Don’t switch unless the current system is inefficient.
Automate Your Social Media
One area where apps and programs have become incredibly efficient is social media. Again, there are many platforms out there but find just one that works and stick with it. Many entrepreneurs will cross-post on just a few platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, from one scheduling system. From a marketing standpoint, consider what social media outlets your target audience will most likely use and set up an account there.
Schedule content to post on different days of the week but don’t solely rely on automation. Experts suggest social media streams still need some level of human interaction, so schedule some time on your to-do list to reply to posts or return Tweets.
Take a Look at Website Analytics
Many website hosting companies have simplified analytics to show who is visiting the website, their location, and what times of the day. These statistics are valuable for gauging the success of your online marketing efforts, and the websites don’t cost much.
Though social media helps small businesses with their online presence, it’s still good to have a clean, professional website as a hub for all the information that is actually owned by the business.
All it takes is a few simple tweaks to begin streamlining the way you do business. These tips can be quickly implemented to see an immediate change in how effectively you run your business.
Photo by NEC Corporation of America with Creative Commons license.