Why are some businesses successful while others simply can’t cut it?
While there are numerous variables that affect the success of a small business, one of the most important elements of a successful business – and one you can’t overlook, regardless of industry or business type – is its organizational structure.
If you’re not well organized, if you’re not ready for anything (including change), and if your team is constantly overwhelmed, it will be very difficult to make it in the long run.
On the other hand, if your business is running smoothly across the board, you can better spend your time looking for ways to improve your products or services, focus on marketing your business, and most of all, focus on growing your business to new heights.
In this blog post, I’m going to share 3 tips and tricks to help turn your small business into a well-oiled machine.
Build a workflow to help manage your projects more effectively
In today’s world, businesses often work with all kinds of people: from freelancers, contractors and remote workers that you might have never even met in real life to your full-time staff.
However, there is one big struggle with working like that: it can get extremely difficult to manage your employees and collaborators and it can get very confusing, very fast, if there are any major changes to your businesses’ organizational structure.
If you want to make sure that you won’t lose any of your work and that your projects and campaigns won’t be delayed unnecessarily by organizational and admin issues, then you need to build a clear workflow for your team, as well as to facilitate project and task management for the entire team.
That implies that:
- You can see at a glance exactly where you’re standing: who is working on what, what tasks are due in the near future, how your team is progressing on all of your projects and campaigns
- Your employees can easily reach their managers or other teammates in case they have questions or simply to collaborate
- Collaboration is easy and swift, even between people in different parts of the world
- Your employees can clearly see what tasks they have to complete and by when
- You’ve set up a clear approval workflow so that the appropriate parties can check content and other projects before they make it to the public eye
Take the time to test out different services to find out what you’re most comfortable with; these types of tools should be easy and comfortable to use so as to not to complicate things even further.
Choose a project management tool
For example, if you’re looking for something to handle all of your project management needs, you can try a pro tool like Scoro where you can manage any of your projects, manage your team’s time, as well as manage your finances and clients:
Alternatively, you can also try something simpler, but still very effective, like Trello. It’s a popular project and task management app which you can use to create as many dashboards as you want (for free) for each of your projects and assign tasks to your team:
Make sure to check out Trello Inspiration for examples on how you can better leverage your Trello account.
Communication: the basis of a well-running business
Businesses are a lot like relationships in this particular instance: communication is essential to success.
That being said, the analogy ends there – communication needs are quite different between personal relationships and businesses.
As a business, you need to ensure that it’s as easy as possible for your team to communicate, both amongst themselves and amongst departments, but also with outside parties, including leads and clients.
Plus, you want to make sure you’re using a scalable system, something that will keep up with your needs as your business keeps growing.
First, make it easy for your team to communicate amongst themselves, especially if you’re working with freelancers and remote employees.
Slack is a very popular option for businesses of all sizes as it’s a very intuitive platform and it’s highly scalable (plus, it has a free version, which is always a plus).
Use it to create so-called channels for all of your projects (or clients, campaigns, etc. – it’s up to you!), as well as share and store files, communicate with anyone on your team (both by text and by voice and video calls), assign tasks, and much more.
Look into VoIP phone network systems
As for how to best communicate with the outside world, it’s worth looking into VoIP phone network systems; while it’s true that it does rely on a good, dependable internet connection, you get a lot of extra benefits that you wouldn’t with regular phone systems.
For example, the costs of setting and managing your VoIP system are generally less (especially if you need to make a lot of calls in different countries), plus it’s so much more accessible, with useful features like getting voicemails directly in your email and a dashboard where you can track and manage your calls.
That said, there are a plethora of options here – you can use something like GetVoIP to help you find the right solution for your businesses’ needs, whether you need it for team collaboration or for your business as a whole:
Automate, automate, automate!
One of the biggest issues that small businesses have to face is that there never is enough time to do everything. When you have a limited budget, you want to make sure that your (and your team’s) time is well-spent handling the important tasks and not struggling for time because of all the little things that make up the running of a business.
And that’s where automation comes in. Today, there are countless tools that can help you automate many of your small tasks, as well as recurring tasks that take up too much time.
For example, you can automate:
- Invoicing and billing
- Social media marketing
- Cloud computing
- Email marketing
And there are some great solutions out there to help you set up all kinds of useful automation.
For example, use Google Cloud to migrate your data to the cloud, as well as to leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to quickly turn your data into actual insights you can use.
As for handling your accounting more efficiently and automating your workflow, you can use a tool like Quickbooks.
It’s also worth spending some time exploring tools like Zapier and IFTTT to discover other useful automations that can help you save more time; both tools allow you to connect your apps in ingenious ways to help you automate simple tasks.
To give you some examples of how you can use these types of tools, you can automatically:
- Copy email attachments to your Dropbox account and get alert in Slack
- Track your work hours in your Google Calendar to help track your productivity
- Create Trello cards from new starred Slack messages
The possibilities seem virtually endless; however, you probably will have to spend some time initially exploring Zapier integrations and IFTTT recipes and setting them up – that said, it’s definitely worth it in the long run!
Ready to make your small business a well-oiled machine?
While marketing your business and growing your sales will always seem like the bigger priority, it’s very important to look internally as well and look for solutions that will help you run your business more effectively.
Because at the end of the day, if you have issues within your business, it will be very difficult to scale it – even the best ideas will fail if the business doesn’t have a proper infrastructure set up.
Featured image: Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels
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