Often, business owners lack valuable time to step back and review their business. Quieter periods allow for some reflection and a chance to refresh business practices.
Technology changes on a regular basis, and as a business owner it is important to make sure that you keep abreast of the changes in society and social media.
A SWOT analysis is the perfect way to review your business and look at opportunities to move forward. Templates are available to use, but basically, you will be looking at four elements to your business :
Internal factors : Strengths/Weaknesses
External factors : Opportunities/Threats
These are all quite broad points, so breaking them down, some of the types of things to consider could include :
Unique Selling Points – are you getting these across on your website and social media?
Advantages that you have over competitors
Things that your customers need to know about
Improvements needed within the business – research could be required
Things you want to avoid (as a business)
Causes of lost sales – customer service issues, slow responses to email, inadequate responses on social media
Trends within your sector – do you need to research?
New technology – using apps, new programmes, writing blogs
New markets – do you need to research?
Social changes – do you have an online presence? , is your website mobile responsive?
Competitors – do you need to research what they are doing?
Changes in sector standards and technology – are you getting left behind? , do you need to research?
By carrying out an analysis of where you are and where you want to be,as a business owner, you will start to see what changes need to be made to your business and be able to identify tasks that need to be completed in order to facilitate this.
If you have taken the time to look into refreshing your business, let me know how it went.
If you feel that you don’t have the time to carry out these tasks, why not visit my services page which details my skills? As a freelance Virtual Assistant I am sure that I can help support you in taking your business forward. I am experienced in Business Development support as well as general administration and have supported projects for tender bids, service launches and new business strands. You can read a little more about me here.
Everyone is short of time, so finding ways to get organised and make life that bit easier are always welcome.
Here are 5 quick and easy ways to bring some order into your life:
Email – Gmail really has everything you need to organise your emails. Although you may roll your eyes at the professional image portrayed by an @gmail email address, you can check email from other accounts you own through a Gmail account inbox. Therefore you can have the functionality of the Gmail inbox with any other email address – I have 4 addresses currently coming into my inbox – only one is Gmail. From Gmail you can also choose which email you send from, so the potential from just the one inbox is huge. In addition, you can set up filters and labels onto any incoming emails, for example, all emails from Amazon go into a file called Amazon. You then only need to check that file when you have ordered from Amazon. I have set up a label for all the emails from my clients, for example, so I can easily see them and give them priority.
There is also the possibility of adding an out of office, and also canned responses, which are useful when you send a similar response out to certain queries. Employees often have to use Outlook, but Gmail is so much better and easier to use for those who have the choice, with the added ease of all your accounts and emails being in one place. By filtering or labeling emails, you can streamline your inbox and make sure that you only spend time attending to the emails that really do require your attention.
Calendar synchronisation – For me, the ease of the Google calendar is that you can link it to your Google accounts and it is available (and synchronised) with any other devices that also have your Google account linked to them. This ensures that the appointments and reminders that you put into your calendar on your laptop at work, also show up on your phone. You can also share calendars with other people, enabling an assistant to also schedule into your calendar from their devices as well.
Document sharing – Filling up your inbox capacity with giant documents is not cool. Using either Google Drive or Dropbox to share documents is much easier. With Google drive you get 15GB of free storage for photos and documents with the option to share these with others, choosing to give read-only, editing and commenting rights. The documents are available across all devices. A free Dropbox account allows for 2GB of free storage which can also be shared across devices (with the relevant app downloaded to the device). Don’t forget that documents can also be shared during Skype calls, removing the need to email documents across prior to calls.
Social media scheduling – No need to log into all your separate account to post, you can do all this through a scheduling tool. Personally, I use Buffer for organising my social media posts. The free version allows one account for each of the social media platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+) and provides basic analytics. There are paid plans available for businesses with multiple social media accounts. I also use Hootsuite for monitoring Twitter list. Hootsuite also offers a free option across three social profiles, with paid plans available for those requiring more profiles. I found it a less user-friendly for posting and use it generally to manage my own Twitter lists on a dashboard. I would suggest that new users try both Buffer and Hootsuite, to see if they have any preference to one over the other.
Passwords – Do you have lots of bits of paper with different passwords scribbled on them? Do you have to click on the ‘Forgotten password?’ Link? Or do you use the same password for everything? Well, that could all end if you go along to Lastpass. Lastpass has actually changed my life – it is the only login I need to remember. Lastpass remembers all your passwords – I have business and personal ones in there. Once you are logged in to Lastpass, you are presented with a list of websites with a saved password, you follow the link and Lastpass fills in the password for you. If you set up a new login or change a password, it notices. It has saved me so much time every day. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. And the best thing? It’s free!
So to recap, bring some order into your life by:
Sorting your inbox
Using free storage solutions
Scheduling social media from one place
I would love to hear if you have implemented any of these time-savers after reading my blog post – let me know in the comments below.
Of course, I am available to help with any calendar management, email management or social media scheduling. Get in touch with me or check out my services page to see how I might be able to help.