Business Apps to Streamline Operations
A practical alternative to outsourcing functions or even whole departments is to use ever-improving technology to get the job done. Various advances in technology have created and enhanced tools and applications that readily enable productivity by automating some of the company’s functions. The best thing about applications and tools is that they are independent of the size of the company. These tools are meant to automate, or at a minimum simplify the amount of human intervention necessary to accomplish a job function or task. There is no dependence on the size or complexity of the organization that uses these tools – instead, they are used by business owners who seek streamlined ways to optimize their business performance in order to achieve better business results.
Most if not all of these software platforms are purposely created to function on mobile devices such as Phablets, Tablets or Smartphones. Here are a few examples of these applications
- Expensify: to track expenses and simplify organizing the numbers for tax filing.
- Dropbox: to share files among company employees and with customers.
- Quora: used to gather information and feedback.
- Square: to expedite payments with a lower fee than PayPal.
Square and other mobile payment applications eliminate the need for the business to send out notices or emails asking where the payment is because it allows the business to collect his or her fee immediately: as soon as products are sold or services are rendered. Hence, this particular application serves two purposes: it eliminates the accounts receivable problem and keeps cash flow whole.
Acquiring leads so that they can be quickly transformed into paying customers is a function that can also be automated. There are many excellent Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms currently available to assist in this critical area.
Velocify, formerly known as Leads360, offers more capability than the traditional CRM tool. Velocify has top-selling practices that are built into an automated workflow which allows the business to respond to new leads quickly. This is possible because Velocify incorporates advanced distribution, integrated cloud dialing and automated messaging. The built-in intelligence allows Velocify to automatically respond to leads, versus the traditional CRM model which requires a human to interact with the customer database and initiate a call or letter.
Marketing campaigns can also be automated. Email marketing is an area that can create value with little effort. There are many websites and applications that offer templates that can be used to generate a marketing campaign. MailChimp, for example, provides templates that can be used to create an email newsletter campaign. One particular Marketing application is noteworthy because unlike template providers, this service provides insight about competitors and in doing so provides information for a much more successful online marketing campaign.
SpyFu provides information about successful competitors’ Search Engine Marketing (SEM). With this information, a business owner can learn how to optimize the company’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) marketing campaign and align the online advertising strategy in order to tap into the same core of inbound leads as the competitor.
Finally, as with any type of business, the management of human resources is a very important component of a successful business. It would be a mistake to imagine that there are tools that can simplify or streamline the process of hiring, managing and firing employees. There is no better tool or technology for human resource management than hands-on human resources. The success of a business will depend on low turn-over and high levels of moral based on trust built with business management. Hiring correctly requires due diligence and analysis. Retaining good employees requires continual training and monitoring of performance. There is no tool or technology that can ever be better than managing human resources manually and carefully.