Competition in business is always going to be there, no matter what economic climate you’re facing in any given era. What’s different these days is that technology is offering you so many more tools that you can use to get a competitive edge. You’ve got two choices: Ignore them at your peril, or future proof your business.
Do you know people who complain about the fact that everything’s online these days? I know a few people like that and I say to them “It’s like a rocket ship and you can’t stop it after lift off.” The whole process of lodging tax returns or BAS statements via online technology is just one example.
Most businesses these days use the Internet or Apps for mobile devices to deliver information or build their presence in the market place. What I’m talking about here though are the business systems you use for job management,to record your financial transactions, make and take payments, create job costings, quotations or estimates, structure your service delivery appointments, and communicate with your customers.
There are mobile Apps available today that help you streamline your activities to do things on the go, rather than having to wait until you get home to put in time in the office…and maybe missing out on the family dinner or reading a good night story to your kids.
If you haven’t reviewed your systems for a while,I highly recommend that you do. The benefits are well worth it and will enable you to future proof your business. I have included some examples of cloud-based software systems, mobile Apps and online tools for you below, that could be interesting for tradies and many other types of service-based businesses.
Bookkeeping and Financial Administration
You can structure your financial business administration seamlessly by using cloud-based bookkeeping software to collect money from clients, reconcile your bank statements,track your spending and pay money to your providers. You can do this very easily and “on the go”from anywhere you can connect to the internet.
XERO, MYOB, Sasus, Reckon, Quickbooks, and Simproare just some examples of bookkeeping programs that can even provide integration with your business bank accounts in real-time. The major advantage of using such technology is that it will avoid double handling of your administration tasks. You enter a transaction online and your business figures will update throughout, so you can see the net figures immediately, and the program does the rest for you.
There are also plenty of new programs that you can use for managing jobs, projects, purchase orders, timesheets, invoicing, scheduling, inventory, assets, client communications and more.
Quoting, scheduling and invoicing has never been this easy and are often seamlessly integrated with cloud based bookkeeping programs. The advantages include real time sharing of job information from field workers with your office,eliminating double entry and time spent completing job sheets after the job is done. It saves time for both the field and office worker, increases your profitability and makes for happy customers who get a superior service. Examples of this type of programs are GeeOP, i-man(or AroFlo), Tradify, Freshbooks, and Invoice2Go, just to name a few.
If you need to conduct safety & quality inspections then mobile Apps like iAuditorcan make life really easy for you and save you an incredible amount of time. Using the power of images, you can easily add arrows, diagrams and drawings to clearly spell out your findings. Gone are the days of report writing in the office. With this App your report writing is done there and then and can be sent right after your inspection.
Client Relationship Management
Last but not least, if you haven’t got a good Client Relationship Management (CRM)systemI suggest you look into getting one. There are inexpensive solutions out there that offer all you need, Sales force, FreshNet and Norada are some examples. It depends on your particular needs, as to which system you want to choose, but any system is better than none.
Business software systems have moved from being a program on your PC to being a program in “the cloud”or an App on your mobile or tablet. You can login from anywhere to do work or upload data on the go. I want to encourage you to embrace new technology and move your business systems online. In the long run it will future proof your business because you are staying in lockstep with how things evolve over time. Don’t become a digital dinosaur, the real ones became extinct too, because they couldn’t adapt to a changing environment.
For further information and other handy tips visit the Resource Centre at www.adhamilton.com.auwhere you’ll find our free eBook download how to make more money & save on tax, debt collection systems and much more. Please Note: Many of the comments in this article are general in nature and anyone intending to apply the information to practical circumstances should seek professional advice to independently verify their interpretation and the information’s applicability to their particular circumstances.
Copyright © 2015 Robert Bauman