How to get smart with IT – save time and grow your business

If you’re hoping to grow your business, there are no end of gurus and coaches who’ll explain the most effective techniques – and they usually centre around self-improvement and hard work.

While this constant striving and battling inwards and onwards makes for great motivational Instagram posts, it’s probably slightly disingenuous, after all; haven’t some of the biggest leaps forward we’ve seen come from working smart, rather than personal development and a constant, never ending grind?

If you’re more into the idea of working smart; rather than wishing for additional hours in the day, then IT can offer you some excellent answers. We’ve listed 4 of the best here – and don’t worry, if you want to attribute your success to nothing but hard work for the sake of a good social media post, your IT secrets are safe with us…

CRM systems

Having a good customer relationship management system in place could be compared to having a great accountant onside – they’re both likely to save or generate more money than they cost you year on year.

A CRM system allows you grow without a huge amount of additional effort – simply because it’s going to absolutely maximise every opportunity your company sees. I’ve got to warn you too – with no CRM system in place, you’re almost certainly missing opportunities; manual mishandling of customer information is responsible for huge amount of otherwise avoidable lapses in sales and service process for UK businesses each year.

A CRM system can be set up to perfectly reflect your sales processes, so each opportunity can be walked through the process, ensuring your potential client has everything they need to make an informed decision about working with you.

A broad study from 2017 offers a number of convincing reasons to bring a CRM system onboard if you’re looking for growth, including:

  • Increases in conversion rates of up to 300%
  • 47% increases in customer satisfaction through sales processes
  • 74% of businesses using CRM reporting enhanced customer relationships
  • A lead production cost decrease of 23% when using CRM

To reiterate, introducing a CRM system isn’t about inspiring harder work – it’s about squeezing every bit of potential value out of your current and future prospects – and it works.

Cloud working

Cloud working is a fascinating area of IT, not least because of the impact it has on team collaboration.

You could be forgiven for thinking (especially if you’ve ever been subjected to a corporate ‘team building’ exercise) that the best teams are those who are familiar with one another. In truth, it seems this camaraderie is over-rated – as teams who work together electronically are actually proven to be more effective and productive.

How’s this electronic team building done? Generally, it’s through cloud collaboration, and there are a lot of possibilities that don’t cost a huge amount of money; take Google’s G-Suite for example.

Google’s ‘Office’ rivalling software package offers real-time collaboration between teams – wherever you are in the world. So, you can work on a document, spreadsheet or presentation together – and even if you’re not able to talk over your desk partition, you can do exactly the same with its built-in chat or calling applications, which means even being on different sides of the planet offers no disadvantage.

Cloud collaboration could very easily equal work-from-home opportunities, employing international talent, bringing specialised freelancers onboard… and much more.

Improving your systems and connection

There are instances in business where your processes move at the speed of your slowest component – and, in many cases, this is your internet connection.

Sure, your connection can handle the majority (perhaps all) of your current systems admirably, but what could you do with virtually unlimited speed? Would real-time systems mean you can offer your IT end-users or customers a better level of service? Would it mean you can hold multi-site meetings at the drop of a hat over high-definition video connections? Would it allow you expand your ecommerce opportunities around the world?

The growth possibilities that go hand-in-hand with increasing your internet circuit connection are incredible – and often unlock a new range of possibilities that are truly outside of the ‘what’s possible’ box.

The downside is that exceptionally quick internet connections are fairly costly – as they generally involve some control element that prioritises your most important application data; usually an MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) system. If speed would allow you togprovide service that’s otherwise been impossible, the financial cons are often significantly outweighed by the potential pros.

Not all highspeed internet connection systems and deals are created equal though – so it’s important to compare providers before deciding on the best route for your business.

SaaS 

SaaS is one of the many thousands of acronyms you’ll come across in the world of IT networks; it stands for ‘Software as a Service’ – and describes a revolutionary new way of accessing previously costly software.

Prior to mainstream cloud services, software was always bought on a licence basis; so, you require 10 copies of Microsoft Windows? It’s time to dip into that IT budget and buy 10 lifetime licences – with the cost likely to run into thousands – a spend that will be required again when you need to upgrade or scale your operation up.

Fast forward to our cloud enabled world – and the big tech giants have come around to the idea that many startup businesses simply cannot afford these huge prices, hence, Software as a Service, a subscription model for the most-costly software you’re likely to need.

Choose your software, the level of functionality you need, the number of users – and that’s it; a monthly payment that reflects your choices. No need for huge upfront costs – and no need to ever upgrade, since you’re always working with the latest versions online.

If you’re looking for growth that doesn’t come with a huge price tag, then making it happen with SaaS packages could be the way forward. And, because you’re only ever paying a month at a time, further growth (or scaling back down) is perfectly possible too, and doesn’t leave you reeling financially.

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