Anyone who runs a small business that is a one-man operation knows the feeling well. Customers call you to see if they can do business with you, discover that you are the proprietor, the secretary, the accountant, the receptionist and the stockist all rolled into one, and begin to wonder if you could possibly have the kind of expertise that they are looking for. It’s just the way people think – a large business is equated with success and ability. Success breeds success. So what is a small one-man business to do to inspire that kind of confidence in customers who come calling? How do you make your business as if it has a bottomless bank account, offices all over the place and hordes of employees? There are certain tools that are now available that give one-man businesses and other small enterprises the ability to appear to have the capabilities and the powers of a large business. They are called CRM software solutions and they are an essential aspect of effective business process management for small , medium and large businesses.
Consider a small specialty video service. They take your home videos, polish them up, do a bit of spiffy editing, set everything to a bit of great music, and give you a professional MTV video-like home video to put onYouTube. There are many of these around the country, and most of them were founded, bankrolled and are run by one person. Any time one of these businesses manages to be noticed at a local fair or something where lots of people come by, they can typically get hundreds of leads from people who leave their names other contact information. How is one person to keep track of all this? One uses CRM software solutions designed for small business, such as the one offered by BatchBook. All you need to do is get your CRM to play with some web-based e-mail marketing service like Constant Contact, enter all the leads that you can get into the system and watch as it deals with sending out automatic follow-up e-mail, and keeping track of all the replies it gets. Typically, you get a response rate this way that is far superior to what you would with a general e-mail marketing campaign. With a very simple system such as this in place that is able to handle hundreds of e-mails all day with little input from the busy business owner, it can be easy for anyone to pretend like they have the resources of a much larger enterprise.
CRM software solutions aren’t the only thing that a small businessman can take advantage of. How about the ShoeBoxed service? The typical small businessman receives receipts, business cards and other slips of paper through the day. It can take quite a bit of time to organize these, categorize them and save them. Sign up for the ShoeBoxed service, and they give you a bunch of prepaid envelopes. Any time that you have a certain amount of paper stuff that’s collected in your drawer, all you need to do is to stuff everything into one of those envelopes and send it over to the company. They will extract all the content in them, all the expenses in the receipts and set up a proper management system for you.
There are others too. A service like FreshBooks helps a tiny businessman (it’s the business that is tiny and not the man) make the best use of the time they spend commuting or otherwise traveling. With their iPhone app installed, anyone can use their time commuting to dictate an invoice into their iPhone or to dictate anything else. They get professional-looking invoices sent to them right away. These might be little touches; but they go a long way in helping businesses appear professional and capable.