When you first launch your small business or your freelance career from home, if you want to be as hands-on as possible. You want to take care of everything yourself; you want to make sure that you are the person who’s replying to any of the emails you get; you might wish to also do your social media yourself.

But over time you might realize that you don’t have all of the free hours to put into things like customer services and responding to emails. 

So instead, you’re likely to look for techniques, methods, and technology that can help you free up some time to work in and on your business and have some parts of your company take care of themselves.

A virtual assistant is one of the first things that busy entrepreneurs and freelancers will look for. A virtual assistant will be able to help you do all of the small admin tasks that take up a lot of time, but you would prefer to have them done by a person rather than automation.

However, when you find the right software and other technologies that work with your business model, you can find that you have more free time and that your processes are smoother.

When you first look to technology to help you streamline and make a business more efficient, you will be inundated with options. There are multiple different software options for every business problem you might have.

So you’ll have to be very clear about which areas you need support and the benefits of technology in that area.

It is worth keeping in mind that almost all software is built to be plug-and-play, even if you are not very technologically minded. That means after you follow the instructions that are usually pretty simple and input the required information, the software will be able to take care of the rest.

And again, most often, any software tools that you use will have excellent customer support if you should need it.

So how can technology improve your business no matter the size question mark, and what areas will make the most impact on you?

Customer service

Customer service can make or break your business. If you aren’t finding the time to reply to Facebook messages, Instagram direct messages, tweets, and emails, some of your customer’s needs will fall by the wayside.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find any business that can survive without having excellent customer support. We live in an age where people can write reviews about the report and the service and the products.

So if you are finding that you don’t have the time to respond to people’s questions and comments, here is one of the best places where you can implement some technology. Some of the best technology available now are things like automated chatbots; this page has more information.

An automated chatbot can help you increase your sales and produce the number of customer emails you need to respond to provide signposting for potential customers and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about your products and services.

There are many different options that you can use to make your customer service streamlined and beneficial to both you and your customers.

Efficiency

It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is or if you are a freelancer and sometimes outsource work. You are looking to be as efficient as possible within all areas of your business. This includes things like online bookings, project management, communications, and more.

Technology has helped to change how we run a business on a daily basis, and because of that, we are finding that you can be more efficient even with fewer resources than your larger competitors.

Many small businesses and freelancers often find that finances are one of the places where they could use the most assistance. There are many different tools that you can use to keep your finances in good order.

Accountancy software that offers automated tracking of invoices, income, and outgoings can be incredibly beneficial to you. At the end of every day, you will be given a total of income and outgoing, and you can add this to a spreadsheet. 

Alternatively, many software offers the opportunity to download a complete summary or your full accounting for the year.

It’s not just your finances that can benefit from the use of technology, either. One of the great things about using an automated chatbot, for example, is that you can shorten your sales flow. If you usually hand off hot leads to your sales team, your chat can manage that function instead, which will allow you to concentrate on creating new products and services and working directly with your clients.

It is also a great idea to consider whether a ticketing system will be good for you. If you are more service and software-focused yourself, a ticketing system can ensure that customers get the proper support at the level they need it. It also means that your support team will be able to check who is waiting for the longest and what is urgent.

Productivity

When you harness the power of the right technology, you will see a noticeable change in your output. It is essential to keep in mind that productivity isn’t just about your work output – but it also covers what you manage to do in the day in terms of tasks. 

To maximize your time, you should aim for an 80/20 type of method. It would be best if you looked to make 20% of your effort give you 80% of your income, work, or output. 

Technology can monitor how long you are working, but it can also help your staff stay on track too. 

You can also set up timers to help you plan focus times with short breaks. If you set short deadlines to get something done, you are more likely to increase your efforts to get the task finished. 

Marketing 

Smaller businesses need to make the most of all of their marketing efforts, and there is a lot of software that can increase your creativity and how often you are posting. 

Many different types of software can help you to do things like plan your marketing campaigns, drip-feed campaigns, check reach and visibility, and so much more. 

With access to these statistics, you can ensure that you capitalize on your successes, and you can also change your techniques if they aren’t working. 

With the help of automated posting, you can spend as little as an hour or two per month lining up all of your posts for the rest of the month. You’ll need to set aside a short time slot per week to reply to any comments and return some likes. 

Communication

Streamlining your communications is one of the best things to come out of technology. You can have a single point to access Facebook messages, Instagram direct messages, emails, chatbots, and more. 

If you have a larger team, these platforms can also offer the option to hand off customers to the right person to get the help they need. 

Having better communication can improve your customer service – but it can also improve how your workmates can communicate too. 

The ability to quickly switch between message platforms so that you can speak to who you need to is a great thing. 

These huge strides in how people can communicate at work are also one of the driving forces behind the ability to have companies that have staff work entirely remotely. 

It can be as simple as using Slack or using something complex like Trengo

Overheads

Keeping costs low is something that many businesses will want to do, and by using technology, it is possible to make that happen. It is often the case that you can have software do the work (with minimal errors) rather than another employee. 

Although it is nice to have a human touch, anything that is repetitive, time-consuming – or could be automated should be. 

The increased number of options for automation software means that, most often, there are plenty of budget options and even free options. 

How much does human error cost small businesses?

How to choose the right tech

One of the most important things is that you try the software before paying for anything. Over the space of a week, or weeks, pay attention to where you spend the most time or anything that is repetitive. 

Find where you are spending time that doesn’t directly make you more income, and make a list of how you would like the software to help you. This will mean that as you try different options out, you can narrow it down pretty quickly – to find the one that will make the most difference to you. 


If you are still in the early stages of planning what your career will look like, or you are about to make the leap to freelance or start a small business: Renewing Your Career? 4 Lessons You Can Learn From Business Life | Mommy Bunch