It’s understandable that you don’t want to spend your seed money on the latest business-oriented computer programs. While you may have to shell out for some necessities, the reality is that more and more online technologies can be adapted for use in your business—and best of all, most of them are free.
Working at a certified woman-owned business, we know how it can be difficult to adopt new technologies at the risk of having your information disappear or the service becoming obsolete. Here are a few ways tried-and-true technologies that are worth implementing today:
- Social media. Women have gotten a significant business boost from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Additional business-oriented sites such as LinkedIn allow you to build business sites and post your professional profile, allowing you to vet and hire employees remotely and give other working moms a chance to branch out into your business.
- Calendars. Online calendar programs allow you to schedule meetings with your customers from any location, and also allow you update in real time. At Casamo & Associates, we rely on our online scheduler to field deposition and court reporter requests because it is convenient for both us and our clients.
- Google Docs. Google Docs allows you to create and send invoices, keep track of your employees’ contact information, and share documents so that multiple people can make edits.
- Automated emails. Every email client should have a way to send an automatic response. You may have gotten one before when a coworker was out of town or after you placed an online order. Setting this up to receive a notification when you are contacted, when someone searches for your business, or at regular intervals to keep your customers interested builds your business without your having to lift a finger.
- Chat services. If you have an web-based email client, you probably already have a chat service built-in. This is an instant-message system that allows you to have real-time conversations with your clients and employees without using your phone or waiting for an email response. As a bonus, you can chat under your business name to keep your personal email account private.
Are you friends with business owners who are struggling to stay on top of their clients’ needs? Send them a link to this article on Facebook (or via email of they haven’t built a social media profile yet) to let them know how automation and online services can help them stay on schedule.