If you’re anything like me, New Year’s resolutions are never just about your personal life.
It’s also about probing deep and seeing what you can do for your business.
It’s about identifying changes that have real, tangible, and measurable impacts.
Here are a few ideas with which you can start, and how you can actually stick to them using WORKetc.
Do More With Email
Email’s good for communication, but that’s not enough if you want to run a successful small business.
Let’s say you finally lock down that prospective client after a weeks-long email chain, and at the end you’d still have to switch back to your CRM to type in all the details — some of which may end up falling through the cracks.
Or maybe you get a panicked email from a customer in desperate need of tech support. You switch back and forth between your inbox, your help desk software, and your CRM, trying to find the info you need.
Those seconds add up, and every one of them can feel like an eternity to the person on the other end of the line.
Situations like these is exactly why email needs to be able to do more, to be a more useful piece in your small business toolbox.
So how do you make your email work harder for you? With WORKetc’s Gmail and Outlook add-ons.
WORKetc’s Gmail and Outlook add-ons both let you turn any email into an actionable item in WORKetc: a task, a support ticket, a sales lead, a project update, and even a timesheet or expense.
So if you run an IT firm and one of your biggest clients shoots you an email about a problem with their servers, you can immediately turn that email into a support ticket and assign it to your tech support team so they can work on the issue ASAP.
You can also attach the original email to the ticket, meaning you don’t have to waste valuable minutes explaining the client’s issue. No copying and pasting email text either.
And you’re able to do all this without even having to leave your email inbox.
The newly updated and improved WORKetc Gmail add-on lets you do even more.
Aside from being able to turn any email into an actionable item, you can add relevant tags for marketing and segmentation then add that contact to a mailing list, all from inside Gmail.
You also see more contact information at a glance, meaning you don’t have to switch to your CRM just to find a client’s phone number when you get a frantic email about critical billing issues.
You can even scan recent client activity to create more tailored responses without leaving your Gmail inbox.
Got a potential client that seems to suddenly have reservations about signing up for one of your new services? You can check their recent activity to find any issues like unresolved support tickets and follow up on those to make winning their business smoother.
Track Time Religiously
It’s trite but still true: time IS money.
If you haven’t already, you should start tracking how many minutes you spend on every single one of your tasks. Not just you, either — all of your employees need to record their time religiously too.
It’s the only way to accurately track what you and your employees are spending your precious time on at any given point.
WORKetc lets you do this while you’re at your desk, using the web app and the desktop timer, and even when you’re on the road with the WORKetc Android and iOS mobile apps.
This is extremely important for streamlining your workflow and maximizing everyday productivity. It also helps you pinpoint which tasks are better off delegated to someone else.
Let’s say you use the WORKetc desktop timer to record every minute you spend working on your sales leads, all the way from composing and sending out emails to hammering out final contract details.
Looking over your weekly timesheet entries in WORKetc, you notice that every week, you spend an average of five hours just trying to lock down a meeting schedule.
That’s 20 hours per month; 10 whole days per year. And without accurate timesheet data, you’d never have known that you’re wasting that much time just on constant back and forth emails.
With this data in hand, you can then make the informed decision to turn that task over to an assistant, virtual or otherwise.
Tracking time religiously also gives you a better view of how long it takes your team to complete specific projects. You get better at estimating project costs; after all, you’ve got the data to back your estimates up.
Say you run a small digital design firm, for example.
From your experience — and with zero time tracking — you estimate that a logo design job will take your team roughly 40 hours. That’s what you bill your clients for, and since you estimate it takes a week to finish one design job you take on only four of these a month.
In reality, it takes your team only 30 hours to finish. Those 10 extra hours just end up being wasted. You could have been using them to take on one extra client per month, with time left over to focus on other aspects of the business.
You end up losing out on extra revenue — which you would have spotted earlier on if you’d been keeping track of your time.
WORKetc’s timetracking features, coupled with its built-in invoicing module (coming soon to iPhone) helps you make sure that you’re capturing every billable hour, every billable dollar, and not losing money on incorrect estimates and invoices.
I came across an interesting study by employee engagement company Perkbox that found small businesses are the least stressful places to work.
Don’t pat your back just yet for keeping your company more chill than the average megacorp, though, small business owners. In fact, you might not even have the time to do that.
Another study by Gallup notes that small business owners are regularly putting in more work compared to most employees.
According to the study, 50-hour work weeks are the norm, and it’s not unusual for that number to stretch to 60 hours.
Small business owners are already working hard. What you need to do now is to get more out of the hours you’re already putting in.
Are you using tags to segment your contacts for more focused marketing campaigns? Automate the tagging process by using custom webforms.
If you need beta testers for your hot new mobile app, for example, just create a beta signup form using WORKetc and have the webform itself automatically apply a “Mobile Beta Tester” tag to everyone who completes it.
Then, create a mailing list that auto-adds every single WORKetc contact that has the “Mobile Beta Tester” tag.
You can now use that mailing list to send out announcements and updates to all of your mobile beta testers without having to comb through your entire contacts list and tag or add people manually.
Noticed that your web development firm’s clients are always sending in the same questions to support? Help them help themselves by building out a comprehensive knowledge base on WORKetc’s self service customer portal.
You can even use tags to control which knowledge base articles your customers can access, giving them only the information that they will actually find relevant.
After all, why clutter up a WordPress client with help files about another content managing system entirely? It just makes it harder for them to find the info they need, and possibly turning them into an unhappy client.
By automating as many processes as you can and giving your customers the option to try and resolve their issues by themselves first, you can use a larger part of your 60-hour work week to focus on growing your business even further.
By implementing and, most importantly, sticking to these small business resolutions, you can help make it more possible for your business to reach greater heights in 2019 and beyond.