As a business owner I am constantly looking for ways to make my business more efficient and cheaper to run. One thing that I have learned over the past couple of years is that sometimes to save a lot of money you have to spend a little money first. This goes against every natural impulse that I have as a business owner. I want to cut spending in every area. But, ever since I started to fight this urge my business has grown and become even more successful. I now make a point of listening to salespeople when they call the office and see whether their service could be of genuine value. Can it save me money? Can it make my product better? I also listen to other business owners about what services have helped them.
Below is a list of the services that I have started to use over the past year that have actively saved me a lot of money by having me spend a little bit of money. I hope that you find them useful!
1. Sugar CRM.
Sugar is a CRM (Client Relationship Management System). Essentially it allows me to keep all of my business contacts in one place, with extremely detailed notes, and monitor my and my team’s entire relationship with these clients.
Furthermore, it allows me to monitor all of the activity of my sales team, from the moment that they make contact with a potential lead, right the way up to the deal or no deal point. It then lets me compile all of this sales data into very slick charts and spreadsheets for quick reference at the end of the month, letting me see at a glance what sales have come in and what sales are predicted to come in. Importantly it also allows me to identify which sales people are under performing.
This goes without saying, but it is amazing how many people send their entire book keeping off to an accountant when they are more than capable of doing it in house.
If you are a small to medium sized business then you should be using Quick Books. It is a little time consuming, but it will give you a very good idea of what is going on in your business finances every day and will save you money in the doing so.
3. Exec Runs.
This business provides by the hour personal assistants to do everything from admin work to collections. If, like us, you cannot afford a full or even part time PA, but wish to spend less time doing the mundane and non-growth related jobs, then look no further than Exec Runs. They are by the hour and are one of the most efficient, affordable agencies for PA London has to offer, and will have someone with you within an hour of booking them… not bad!
This simple yet ingenious little desktop widget is a time management system. It keeps track of every job that you and your staff do, and keeps a record of it. At the end of the week (or at any time for that matter) you can see exactly how much time has been spent on every area of your business. Not only does it help in charging clients for the right amount of hours, but it also lets you see very clearly if there are any processes that are taking longer than they should, allowing you to quickly identify which procceses are effective and which are too labour intensive.
This is an excellent Invoicing system that keeps track of all of your outbound invoices, sending automatic invoices on invoice day and giving alerts of any payments due. Definitely worth the cash as it saves us a lot of time otherwise spent writing up, sending out and chasing up invoices.