Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, OH MY!!! All these social media platforms, so little time! It’s so easy to plan to jump on social media for a second to check something and lose track of time but for a small business owner, “time is money,” right? For the small business owner, time really does affect the bottom line.
You’re probably thinking, Duh, tell me something I don’t know… right?
Go ahead and nod. You know you were.
It’s ok. I have been in your shoes, so I completely understand and know you are wondering why you should even bother to read any further.
BEEN THERE DONE THAT
In the first three to four years, breaking even is a dream, let alone being able to afford a full marketing staff to build your online brand. Being a one or two-person show is hard, you need to be CEO, CFO, and CMO, while still handling customer service and sales.
Well, I started my own small business, and I wish I would have had blogs like this to help me. I am by no means an expert, but I have tried a few (ok, well more than a few) “time saving” programs. So, I am going to give you a snapshot of my favorite time saving applications and most importantly why they worked for me.
TOP TIME-MANAGEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS
Let’s talk business set-up. You are probably already well on your way with this part but, did you know you can get a business phone number from Google?
Yep that’s right. #GoogleVoice is a great way to have a dedicated phone number for your business that rings to your cell phone or office phone. That way you are always accessible to your customers even when you aren’t in the store or office.
The entire #GSuite can be a huge timesaver with custom emails that integrate into most website platforms and can be checked from most smart phones. The GSuite plays well with scheduling applications as well, so once again a huge time saver since you only need to look at one integrated calendar, especially if you use an online appointment scheduler. Google applications make it easy to set-up and even upgrade your business lines of communication. However, in all honesty, marketing and follow-up customer service are tasks that get put on the “when we have time” list and could greatly increase business relationships and ultimately the bottom line. What if there was a way to spend just a couple of hours a week and it is all automated? Set it up and forget it!
How many of us have seen those surveys on the bottom of your receipt when you shop at your favorite store? Have you ever taken the time to answer them? I didn’t until I started my own business. Now I take the time to answer their quick three questions because I recognize how important it is to provide feedback to the store about how they are doing. Larger corporations aren’t the only ones who can ask for feedback. SurveyMonkey offers free and paid subscriptions that you can use to create your own survey. It’s also good for surveys that can be used to build your social media profile. Think about those Like, Share, and Comment contests that we all see on Facebook.
Like any business, you have services or products that you want to showcase on social media. Then you get busy and forget to post the content. There’s an app for that!!
Hootsuite is amazing for this. Something that I like to do is sit down on Sunday or Monday evening and plan out my week of social media content. Yes, I try to post every single day and it is not salesy posts either. There are lots of calendars out there that tell you what special day it is and using those types of posts at least once or twice a week can help to build your social media footprint.
People love to post about themselves and connect with businesses…. Hello, market demographics!! Killing two birds with one post. The cool thing about Hootsuite is that it will tell you when people are looking at your posts. Maybe it is better to schedule your posts for 8:30 pm instead of 1:30 pm. Or maybe your followers are checking things out at lunchtime Monday through Friday and things are falling off on the weekends. You don’t need to be a social media whiz kid to figure this out. Hootsuite does it for you. Then as the business owner, you can adjust your posting times accordingly and grab more people’s attention.
This is only three of my favorite time saving programs. There are so many more and I just haven’t had time to check them all out. But as Ben Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Here’s to finding more time saving knowledge that will allow us to invest this interest back into our small businesses.
Let Me Be Your Guinea Pig
What time management tools have you found and just haven’t had time to try out?
Here are just a couple my favorite blogs with helpful information for time management and your small business:
Category: ROI, Small Biz, Social Media Marketing 101