Approximately 543,000 new businesses are launched each month in the U.S., according to the Kauffman Foundation. However, even more businesses shut down in the same period of time. With so much competition paired with discouraging stats, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Lay a foundation of success by fine tuning the details that can keep your business going strong, from tracking sales leads to accounting.
Keep Track of Business Leads
Missing out on a sales call or failing to follow-up can cost your business. According to Inside Sales, 35 to 50 percent of sales go to the agent or vendor who responds first. Disorganization can stunt your business’ growth before it even gets off the ground.
Create a Google spreadsheet to keep track of who you contacted and when, with a column for follow-ups and personal notes. A tool like SalesForce can offer this and more by tracking your leads, storing current contact information, and making recommendations about where to reinvest your marketing budget.
Backup Your Data Automatically
Invest in a reliable data backup system, regardless of your business size. Skip the clunky drives and USB sticks, and store your data in the cloud instead. A system like Mozy Enterprise can help businesses set an automatic process into place. This way, if disaster strikes, all your data will be safely uploaded to your reliable cloud storage service, and can be quickly restored.
Streamline Your Accounting
Billing and invoicing can be a real time suck. It’s also easy to lose track of documentation and financials come tax time, putting you at risk for an audit or fines from the IRS. Quickbooks offers accounting software for small business owners that can integrate with over 150 business apps.
Wave Accounting is free for small businesses with fewer than 10 employees, and Freshbooks provides an easy interface, along with tools for quick accounting.
Reimagine Your Project Management
Forget trying to keep up with team members and clients via email, meetings, and phone calls. Paper and email trails can be easily lost and waste valuable resources. Instead, use an online project management tool like Basecamp to streamline all your communications in one place. Organize and assign tasks, see what other team members are up to, document revisions, and stay on top of your projects without ever leaving the application.
HipChat can also help you stay focused by creating rooms to chat with remote team members, and holding virtual meetings during which you can discuss your latest projects.
Focus on getting your business up and running instead of investing in fancy equipment and office space. Lease your machinery and office equipment or buy used upon startup. While you may not get as high of a tax deduction when you lease equipment, you won’t have to worry about your equipment falling out of date just when you’re turning a profit.
Go lean when choosing an office space by waiting to set up shop when you absolutely need it. Office and meeting space can also be rented on an hourly or monthly basis from co-op sites like ShareADesk. Rent the time you need and get access to amenities like Internet, presentation rooms, office equipment, and more.
As your profits grow, stay as lean as possible to remain agile and ready to tackle your next business adventure.