I have started many businesses over the last 25 years, one of the most important lessons I have learned is that to be successful you need systems for everything. With our workforce becoming more remote via e-commuters, the need for systems is even more compelling. The technological advances over the last decade have changed the small business IT department forever. You can how have access to systems, tools, and applications that only large companies with IT departments could afford and implement just a few years ago. If you have or are starting a business, take advantage of this IT revolution, here’s how Implemented these tools in one of my latest businesses, that went from a $0 valuation to over $2Million in 12 months.
First, address perception
Create a Perception of Professionalism, there are some standard perceptions we all have about business, these are non-negotiable if you want to be perceived as a player in your industry you must have the following.
- Domain based email (not gmail or similar webmail)
- 800 number
- Dedicated fax number
- Voice mail tree or answering service
- Business Mailing address (not your home)
- Web sites
- Business cards
You might think this is going to cost thousands to implement, you can do all of this for $100 per month
Second, address regular and professional communication
Customer Relationship Management or CRM is crucial for keeping track of and effectively communicating with customers. You can find many systems available at low or no cost, the best are a few hundred per month. Most will integrate with social media and your website to capture lead data. If your company is small and you don’t have an IT person on staff a cloud based solution is the way to go.
Third, implement systems automation.
Anything you do can be turned into a system, answering the phone, sending mail, and marketing, there is no business operation that cannot be turned into a system. Once it is a system, you can measure it, manage it, and control the outcome to provide consistent results. There are many cloud based project management and workflow solutions available for little or no cost, find one that addresses the needs of your business. Implementing and using the proper automation solution will help you to scale your business rapidly.
Just implementing these few steps will cost a few hundred dollars per month and rocket your perceived value, professionalism and capability to another level.