When you’re a small-business owner, you often don’t have a large team around you to delegate to when you want to free up time to work on your venture rather than in it. You also may not have many spare funds available to pay to outsource work to contractors or businesses. Thankfully though, technological improvements and innovations have meant that many time-consuming (and often boring) jobs can now be dealt with more quickly and affordably than ever.
If you want to grow your business and give yourself some more time away from the office over the coming months, read on for some key ways you can utilize technology to streamline your work tasks and improve performance.
There are many ways you can save time by using technology in the area of finance. For instance, there is no need to manually create invoices for your clients in this day and age, since there are now plenty of accounting programs, apps, and merchant processing systems that will automatically compile and send a bill once a transaction or order has been made.
Payments, too, can be easily streamlined now. If you sell goods or services online, you would be crazy not to utilize digital payment processing services to accept debit and credit card payments over the internet. These services can also handle transactions made using PayPal, digital wallets, gift cards, loyalty points, and the like.
For businesses selling offline, there are also plenty of technological tools which can be utilized. As an example, you might choose to set up ACH processing for easy bulk transactions, allow payment via direct checks for quicker funds transfers, or make it simple for your clients to pay over the phone or online.
Mobile payments via smartphones are also quick to set up and extremely affordable, and are the perfect choice when you want to be able to accept payments when outside the office, at conferences, tradeshows, client homes or workspaces, pop-up shops, and so on.
If you’re like many other entrepreneurs, you probably hate having to spend lots of time collating your business expenses every month or quarter. If so, it’s time to make use of an app that can make your life much easier in this regard. Expensify, for instance, is a very popular application that works on both iOS and Android operating systems.
The program links up to your credit and debit card accounts so that it can automatically send details of transactions made on card to an expense report. Furthermore, payments made by cash can be easily factored in, by taking a photo of the receipt with your smartphone, and then syncing this image to the app. Expensify will then enter the relevant data from the image and send the details to your expense report.
Keep in mind, too, that a lot of accounting software is also designed to save business owners a whole lot of time and effort these days. With programs such as Xero and many others, you can sync your bank account to the software so that transactions are automatically imported. As well, you can set up codes for regular transactions (both funds coming in and going out), so that you don’t have to manually allocate them to a budget each time.
When it comes to human resources functions you’re also covered in many instances by technology. For example, when you need to hire new staff, rather than spending time sorting through all the job applications you receive yourself to find a shortlist of candidates, you can use recruitment software. Such programs are designed to find the top people out of a group based on criteria you input, such as qualifications, location, keywords, and training.
To save you time on staff management, engagement, and retention, you can also turn to top tech tools. There are many apps these days, for instance, which are designed to streamline common, recurring HR tasks like payroll and reporting, shift scheduling; the administration of employee benefits; and the tracking of staff attendance, holiday accumulation, and the like. You’ll also find software you can use to present and manage staff training online, which is particularly helpful when you have workers located worldwide.
Customer service is another area that can be made much more productive thanks to technology. In particular, it pays to consider implementing self-service customer support software so that your clients can complete tasks and find answers to their questions by themselves at any time (something which more and more consumers are coming to expect nowadays).
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology is a prime example here. IVR is involved when customers interact with a computer system using their phone or other communication device. They simply need to follow automated computer prompts and instructions.
Install an IVR system and consumers can call up and be directed to the right person, learn their account balance, make a payment, or find out the answer to various types of questions, all without needing to speak with a company representative. This frees up considerable time for your team members as a result.