Can you recall all those moments in life when you hated doing something? Then, one day, someone just appeared and told you that you’ve done it wrong your entire life. Then, you try doing it “the way you were supposed to,” and it becomes so easy that you get angry for not learning it before.
The same thing happens to entrepreneurs on a semi-regular basis. While the life of an entrepreneur is always filled with challenge and self-sacrifice, you always have the option to work smarter instead of harder.
Here are five perfect examples of changes you could introduce today to simplify your experience as an entrepreneur.
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Not streamlining your communication
Assuming that your team is small enough that people can just self-organize and communicate how they see fit will never work well. You need to set ground rules and dictate how and through which communication will take place.
There’s a meme about how we all have different platforms for communication with different people. Our conversation with someone in their Facebook inbox and Instagram DMs may differ completely. Imagine wanting to check something you’ve just discussed with your coworker only to figure out you have no clue where you communicated that. This is likely to happen if you don’t have a standardized communication tool.
A new, specialized communication tool will also help reduce distractions. Even if you are using Instagram to communicate with your staff, there are so many private messages there, and just looking at notifications can take your mind off your current task. Streamlining your communication will drastically reduce the likelihood of something like this ever happening.
Streamlining your communication also helps establish some responsibility. Someone saying that they haven’t responded because they haven’t checked their email or Viber can be dismissed if you establish an official communication channel and say that it is the responsibility of everyone in your organization to check them during working hours.
Manual data entry
There’s no need to enter all data into your databases by hand. This is time-consuming and, more importantly, it’s completely unnecessary in this day and age. Nowadays, you can automate these processes and ensure this data is transferred in real-time. More importantly, with the help of NLP and intelligent information management systems, you no longer have to worry if data is structured.
Remember that most interactions in the digital world take place over a platform that you can easily connect to one of your databases. Think about a video game where you always know what you have in your inventory by just pressing the “I” button and where the number of bullets/arrows updates as you acquire/fire them.
Most importantly, manual data entry takes time and labor. You would have to hire someone to do that for you, which means paying them for something that can easily be automated and delegated to an inexpensive platform. We say inexpensive because you get so much for your money’s worth.
This is the same across the board, and some level of automation can be implemented in any industry. For instance, if you use scheduling software as a healthcare provider, you can have patients’ records automatically updated, thus making your life a lot simpler in the future.
Manual accounting takes too much time, and there’s always the risk of error. This is why people find it additionally tedious. Not only do they have to crunch numbers, which involves staring at the paper, often counting the money you’ve already spent, but there’s also a risk of a mistake that could land you in legal trouble.
With the help of the right accounting software, you can have a much easier job at doing all of this. There are so many platforms for you to choose from, some of which you might have already heard of, like QuickBooks. Each platform can be linked to your other accounts to reduce the need for manual entry. This way, the majority of your bookkeeping will be automated.
Humans are not only fallible but also tend to be chaotic. Using these platforms increases the chance that you’ll keep all your books in the same format. In other words, standardization was never easier to achieve. As for record-keeping, it’s about more than just keeping this data safe; it’s also about being able to produce any of these records on demand.
Now, while each platform has its strong sides and downsides, they all have enough capacity for a small enterprise. Many of them even integrate services like CRM and ACH bank transfers, which further increases the accuracy and traceability of your financial information (source: https://www.techopedia.com/accounting/best-accounting-software).
Improving your project management efforts
Managing projects is always challenging, but that’s not necessarily bad. A bad thing would be if you were doing everything right and things were still moving slowly. A challenge means there’s a lot of room for improvement, and here are a few things to remember.
First, avoid giving your team too much time. When they have more time than they know they need, people tend to procrastinate. Instead, break every task into smaller milestones and require your team to report on them weekly and even daily. This way, they’ll be focused on their daily tasks, and this will help them be more productive.
Remember that your team needs time to unwind; deadlines are there for a reason. Could you achieve this goal in fewer days if your team stayed overtime daily? Sure, but your employees have families and a limited reserve of energy. Your work doesn’t end with this project, so save some strength for later.
Another thing you need is a project management platform. Simply put, this is a tool that can help you keep everything transparent and keep everyone well-informed. This way, people can come to the dashboard to see their future tasks and inquire what’s on the plates of their coworkers.
Lack of CRM
A lot of people overestimate their ability to just “figure things out.” As a bar owner or a bartender, you would quickly remember the favorite drinks, names, and quirks of every one of your regular patrons. However, what if you work in a nightclub and see 1,000-2,000 people per night? What if you have a new member of the staff and your regulars still expect (as is their right) their previous kind of treatment?
Well, this doesn’t happen just in the hospitality industry; it is universal across all industries. With the help of the right CRM, nothing will escape you.
This type of software would collect all the customer data and keep it centralized and available on demand. This means you could get a much higher level of personalization than ever before.
The real-time analysis from these platforms can help you figure out trends as they evolve, not out there but among your audience. In practice, this would imply that you monitor trends via news and then see how they translate to your audience. This way, you can prepare far more quickly and accurately.
The most important thing you need to understand is that as your business grows, each of the above-listed problems will become more and more burdensome. If you don’t solve these problems early on, they have a nasty habit of scaling up until you can no longer control them. Fortunately, the “fix” to these solutions is as simple as making a decision and picking software. That’s all there is to it, and your business will feel it.