If pressed, in Dragons’ Den style, could you give accurate statements about your current business finances?
If pressed, in Dragons’ Den style, could you give accurate statements about your current business finances? Are you aware of how much time you are using productively and how much is spend on thankless tasks such as rearranging appointments or chasing to get your invoices paid? Do your working methods still include a high percentage of manual processing?
For any business owner it is a good idea to regularly review how you are conducting your business and find ways to improve your methods. There are many apps which are now available to help you streamline what you do and work smarter. By doing this not only can you reduce stress you can also free up time for long-term planning and innovation.
To make good use of the help available here are some apps to consider:
1. Autotrip, Triplog and Others
Keeping tracking of your business miles for the purpose of claiming money against your tax sounds like a good idea. But in practice, unless you’re using an app that helps to automate the process, you’re unlikely to find this task exciting and therefore you might be leaving money on the table for the taxman.
2. Canny, Netigate, Saber and Others
Marketing people always tell us to find a hungry crowd and feed them. But how do you know the crowd is hungry and what food will keep them coming back for more? Well you can simply ask them. But then the task of customer feedback and survey can be time consuming and yield little return. However, there are apps on the marketing including the ones above that use artificial intelligence and human psychology to get you the feedback customers want to give and that helps you develop an appetising product or service for them.
3. Zendesk, Freshdesk and Others
Guaranteed response times can be a great unique selling point for many businesses especially in the current age of mass emails and cloud working environments. Yet responding to and tracking all customers’ requests and emails can be a challenging task, unless you look into the above apps and their alternatives.
4. Receipt Bank, Expensify, Auto Entry
Collating and recording all your invoices and receipts can take up huge amounts of time. And, if you deliver them to your accountants in a cardboard box, they’ll spend additional time sorting and reviewing them which will mean additional costs. There are some good apps to consider such as Auto Entry, Expensify and Receipt Bank. These apps allow you to capture receipts on the go and send them directly to your accountants. You can also ask your suppliers to send their invoices to the app. This could free up your inbox a bit which means less time wasted on emails.
5. Xero, Quickbooks, FreeAgent
Do you ever get worried about your accounts or how much tax you have to pay at the year end? Thankfully, the days are long gone when bookkeeping software was so complicated that only accountants could use or understand it. Products such as FreeAgent, QuickBooks and Xero have transformed the way bookkeeping and accounting is done. If you decide so combine this with regular bookkeeping reconciliation services, you’ll no longer have to worry about the books at year end.
6. Toggle, Time Doctor Hubstaff, Clockify,
With so much happening it’s not unusual to ask yourself “What have I managed to achieve today?”. With a handy app to help you can now automatically monitor how you spend your time. This means you can identify where and how to be more productive. You will be amazed how much of your time has been getting diverted from important tasks. These tools will also help you get organised.
7. Timetrade, Calendly, Acuity Scheduling
Do you find yourself going back and forth with clients and stakeholders to schedule appointments? And then reschedule, and reschedule again? This can be immensely time consuming. You can avoid email and telephone tag when arranging meetings. With any of the above tools, people can now access a version of your diary that shows them all of the slots that you have decided to make available for meetings.
8. IntegraPay, GoCardless and Others
You’ve completed the work, spent time, sweat (and possibly tears) to please the customer and you’ve probably run up staff and materials costs. You wait for 30 days and then wait some more with no sign of the promised cash appearing.
You have the opportunity to wave goodbye to this unsatisfactory situation and use an online direct debit app. This way you and your customer can agree when you will get paid. A huge improvement!
The above are all great apps and clearly there are many more you could look at. The key message is; use the apps and tools available to avoid unnecessary work - automate where you can. By doing this your business will run more smoothly and you’ll be less stressed. This in turn, will allow you to find time and space for some creative thinking and put in place new products, services and income streams for a long and profitable future.