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Your business's employees work hard, but that doesn't mean they're as productive as possible. For instance, a 2014 survey by CareerBuilder found that non-related work activities such as personal texting and surfing social media cause a quarter of workers to lose at least an hour a day of work time.
Inefficiency happens no matter the size of the team. But there are some simple tools you can use to help keep productivity at a high level. From technology to outsourcing, here are five ideas to make your small business more organized and efficient.
Instead of frantically searching and downloading every important file you need to run your business, use cloud storage to upload important information and have it accessible from any device. With dozens of options on the market, your business can take advantage of all the free storage space with multiple services. Employ a service like Otixo or Dropbox to manage all your free cloud storage providers in one place.
[Tweet "Cloud storage also protects your data with automatic backups."]
Cloud storage doesn't just save time in terms of file access and work-from-anywhere capabilities. It helps protect your data with automatic backup when you sync your cloud storage to your desktop, tablet or mobile device. In case of theft or device damage, cloud storage saves it all and provides an extra layer of security for your small business.
For collaborative teams with remote or traveling employees, a single communication tool allows everyone to get on the same page. Services like Skype for Business or Google Hangouts facilitate video conferencing, saves conversation logs for references and it integrates with Office applications.
Skip the boardroom chit-chat with virtual meeting options like GoToMeeting and Screenhero, where every meeting participant can see presentation material, with screen sharing and commenting capabilities.
Accurate Workflow Management
With workflow management tools, employees are held accountable for how they're spending time. These tools also allow teams to better collaborate and understand everyone’s role in a particular project or process. A service like Trello or Jira allows managers to separate projects into duties, assign specific tasks to team members, attach appropriate notes and documents and keep to a timeline.
[Tweet "With workflow management tools, employees are held accountable for how they're spending time."]
Look for a management tool that allows access from any device. An easily understandable interface means project owners can securely share information with select people. By attaching visual data to tasks with many moving parts, employees are more likely to stay focused, productive and successfully complete what is required by indicated deadlines.
Administrative tasks such as cleaning out email inboxes and returning phone call queries can quickly eat up a workday. For tasks such as these, where an in-house or virtual assistant can be of service, consider training someone to help so you can be free to focus on matters that require your expertise.
Don't worry if your customer service team is lean — virtual customer service agents manning social media channels and website customer service channels can promptly, professionally and personally respond to customers who need help and make sure the appropriate party from your business gets in touch with them.
A service like Zirtual might be perfect for you. Zirtual handles stuff like scheduling meetings, paying bills and booking travel. Pretty much you get your very own Virtual Assistant — a US-based point person who works remotely as your right hand and left brain. So it is very easy to delegate tasks.
If you keep your accounting separate from your ecommerce store, you could be losing valuable time and increasing the likelihood of errors. An ecommerce platform that works with accounting solutions like Intuit’s QuickBooks Online allows business owners to seamlessly track orders from their ecommerce store, sync products and discounts, and maintain accurate records.
[Tweet "Seamlessly track orders from your store, sync products and discounts, and maintain accurate records."]
When the two platforms are linked, they’ll keep information consistent and accounting automated. Update stock levels in QuickBooks and stock information will be reflected in Bigcommerce; add a product in Bigcommerce, the product will update in QuickBooks. Integration means effortless tracking, so you can save your energy for other aspects of running your business.
Improving productivity is always a smart choice. Using the latest technology and tools, small businesses can use these pairings to save time, increase insights into your business and make employees more efficient while improving the bottom line!
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