Contact Management System – Every business needs a great contact management system. Your contacts are your business – especially if you’re in a service based business that’s relationship driven. If you’ve ever missed out on an opportunity because you didn’t follow up or didn’t have someone important on your radar, you probably don’t have a good system in place- or you aren’t using it. The systems I’ve heard of most this year include Insightly, Contactually and 17Hats. I personally get overwhelmed with the technology and go back to the basics. I download free calendars from https://incompetech.com/beta/cal-monthly/ and hand write things in there first. Its easier for me to flip through pages than look up websites back and forth. Again, small steps, baby steps, lets just get organized. My next step is to put everything into my google calendar.
Financial – You’ve GOT to know what’s going on with your money if you’re going to grow your business. Stop making invoices in Excel. We’ve got great tools now that take care of it for you! QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online are some of the most widely used tools for bookkeeping and accounting. 17Hats handles invoicing and has some bookkeeping features. There are several other great services out there as well. Track the money coming into and going out of your business.I have it said to me by a couple of CPA’s at this point though, until you can hire someone really good, do it yourself. Keep control of the money… Take a look at it weekly to see where you are and where you need to be.
Projects and Tasks – you’ve probably got a lot of things on your plate. How are you tracking them? In your planner? Great! In your Google Calendar? Awesome! By memory? FAIL! Make sure you have a system in place so you get important things done. If you have too many projects and/or tasks to manage in your everyday calendar, you’ll probably need a separate tool or app. Basecamp is great for web-based projects or projects where you have several team members that need access (or there are people who need limited access). Asana is another great task and simple project management tool. And hey, its free! Evernote can also be used for projects and tasks if you work it the right way. It’s also great for note taking, writing projects, storing ideas and bookmarks. The list goes on…The free version gives you what you need, but they also have a Premium plan if you’re feeling fancy. If you like doing the old fashioned way, sketch it out on the free calendar….
Marketing – if you want to grow your business this year, you need to market it! That’s going to look different for everyone. Whatever you decide to do, make a plan and stick to it. Is networking part of your marketing strategy? Make sure you get interesting events on your calendar. Schedule time to follow up (the right CRM will help you with this…). If social media is on your radar, make sure you have a plan that helps maintain some consistency. My favorite marketing tool for every service based business owner is the book Get Clients Now. I’ve used it almost a dozen times since I started my business.
Again, I print out a free calendar and simply out list out what needs to get done and schedule it. Otherwise it would never get done…