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First and foremost, Happy New Year! I hope you're able to accomplish more than you did last year and that you can apply the lessons from last year in making that quest a reality.
Having the right tools as well as knowing how to use them is essential for getting the best results for your business depending on what's important to you. Below are five recommended tools. If you're already using some of these tools, congrats you're ahead of the game and if you aren't well, you can now step up your game.
A DSLR Camera is a professional camera manufactured by popular brands like Nikon, Canon, and Sony. Having this type of camera is very good for documenting the visual aspects of your business for marketing purposes. If you're in the hair styling or real estate business, for example, you can see the importance of quality images.
Although some would argue that you can still get great pictures from your iPhone XS which is true to an extent. The DSLR camera gives you more features that give you flexibility and more. If you can’t afford a DSLR camera, it’s still a good practice to document your work or products even if it’s using a cell phone for now.
The term CRM refers to customers relationship management. A CRM is usually an online digital tool that allows you to gather and process your interaction with your clients. Some common features a CRM would possess are client info, a sales funnel, automated e-mail templates, charts and graphs, sales projection, calendar, analytics etc.
The benefit of having a CRM tool is that it allows you to be organized and have a reliable way to keep track of your goals, projections and other data you wish to study in order to make informed business decisions. Some common examples of CRM tools are Zoho and Salesforce. However, these are the higher end CRM tools. Your business might not require an in-depth CRM usage and if that's the case there are other tools that have basic levels of the CRM capabilities. A good example would be most appointment setting tools used by service businesses.
A Point of Sale (POS)/Payment Processor
A POS system allows you to take payments effectively from clients at your business location or on the go. It is convenient for you and your customer and also prevents you from carrying a lot of cash for safety reasons.
A POS like the CRM tool above keeps track of certain data like your products, clients information etc. This gives you a way to see what your top selling items are, what days of the week your sales are on, which clients you might need to offer special deals to get them back in the doors etc. Some examples of some good are Square, Clover, ExpiTrans etc.
Appointment schedulers make it convenient for your clients to book your services on the go and since most appointment schedulers, these days are mobile they also give you the option of canceling, confirming or rescheduling an appointment all from your phone and on the go. Just like the POS and CRM they also have some features that cut overlap amongst all three of them. Most importantly data that you can work with. A really impressive one I've installed on my clients' websites is Acuity Scheduling.
Social Media Scheduler
This tool is being recommended with the assumption that you already have several social media accounts in place. If you don't you should get started.
Although, some social media accounts such as Facebook allows you to schedule your post. It is more efficient to have a multi-platform scheduler that allows you to create and set up posts for certain times of the day. This allows you to post in batches and not have to worry about posting each day.
A good tool that allows you to post on multiple platforms is Hootsuite which offers a 30-day free trial.
Which tool not mentioned here do you use to get the best out of of your business?