January 2017: 31 days of “new year, new you” posts and gym selfies, clean slate musings and big promises of starting over. But here at C3Workplace, we’re all about getting back to business. We know it’s not about starting over, but upping the ante. It’s about making this year better than the last.
With twelve squeaky-clean months ahead, we’d rather muse about what will boost our business, our productivity, and our efficiency. And for 2017, we’re all about that technology! In honor of the new year, here are twelve (try one per month!) technologies you should be using, if you aren’t already…
1. Password Management Software
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: you need to log in to a site you don’t visit very often. You type in your go-to password. Incorrect. You try again. Incorrect. One more time with a capital? Incorrect. You get locked out and now must complete the 7-step process to reset it. Password Fatigue – we’ve all got it. That’s why software such as Lastpass, or Dashlane is great for not only keeping that password craziness in check, but also providing extra security, auto-form filling, and even secure digital wallet apps
2. Mobile App Management
If you’ve got employees on the go who use their own laptops but still need access to your documents, software such as Microsoft Intune or Optitune are easy ways to keep hold of your security and control. The software allows you to assign users and dictate their levels of access, while still allowing them the autonomy of their own devices. And you can revoke their rights to your documents at any time. Must feel good, right?
3. Cloud Computing
Workplaces, they are a’changin. Gone are the days of being tied to your desk just to access the bulky server in the back room. Programs like Office 365 allow you to access your documents from anywhere and from any device. You can also share documents with clients, edit at the same time, all whilst saving everything in real time. Not ready for Office 365? Start off with Dropbox. They have a free version. See how it fits.
4. Chat Now!
Criticize all you want, it’s not just the younger generations with dwindling attention spans. When we want answers, we want them NOW. Thanks to Google and our smart phones, answers are at our fingertips. So when people visit your website, having a “Chat Now” option is a great way to answer questions in real time and connect with your clients. It’s not only impressive, but it’s a great way for you to capture their info right away. Depending on your website, software like PureChat also allows you to chat from your smart phone. Formilla has a free version that you can try out, too.
According to The Wall Street Journal, shoppers are now making 51% of their purchases online. Are you getting a piece of that pie? Depending on your business, having the option to purchase directly from your website just makes sense. Programs like Shopify, WooCommerce, or Magento can easily integrate into your website (see which one is the best for your platform). Don’t let those sales get away!
6. QuickBooks Online
With all the money you’ll be making off your online shop, you’ll need a seamless way to keep track of all that green! QuickBooks Online is a favorite of ours. We use it for our own financials and love how easy it is to view the flow of cash, get quick and accurate reports, and create and send invoices. And again, the information is safe, secure, and accessible from wherever you are.
7. “Control Centers”
This is why you have password fatigue: there are about ten different websites that you use on the daily. Wouldn’t it be nice to view all that info from one central place? That’s where programs like Cyfe, Mint, and Hootsuite come in. Cyfe is a business dashboard that links programs such as your email marketing, google analytics, and CRM. Mint links all your financial accounts. Hootsuite links all your social media platforms and allows you to schedule, monitor, and even get analytics. Control from one place – what could be sweeter?
8. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Are you quantifying your pipeline data to make better business decisions? If you have no idea what I’m talking about, but I’ve peaked your interest, then you need a CRM system. We happen to love Zoho, but programs like Highrise, Salesforce, and Infusion Soft work, too. Not only can you track your database and every step of the sales process, you can also connect your systems for streamlining workflow.
9. Time Tracking
We don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but…are you tracking your time yet?? Knowing where your time is going, what clients you’re spending your time on, and where your employees’ time is going opens up a world of possibilities for planning ahead. Check out the 30-day free trial from TSheets, courtesy of C3Workplace :).
10. Virtual Meetings
When you’re not tied to your desk, you can meet your clients anywhere, and in any form. Our favorite platform is Zoom because it includes video conferencing and the quality is the best, in our opinion. It also includes webinar capabilities and screen sharing. Skype is also a great alternative. Just because we’re not in our offices anymore doesn’t mean we have to lose that face-to-face contact!
11. Video Advertising
It’s recently been reported that video in email leads to 200-300% increase in click-through rate (check out the infographic here). Whether it’s on your website or social media, video advertising should become part of your mix. And it’s as easy as recording off your phone, if you want to keep it low-tech. Using platforms such as Facebook to stream live video grab the attention of your consumers and allow them a glimpse of your business they wouldn’t otherwise see from your website.
12. Mobile-Friendly EVERYTHING
All of the advice above will be for naught if your systems aren’t mobile-friendly. If you were to do only one thing from this list – this would be it. Make sure that, not only is your site mobile friendly, but that it’s fast and streamlined. Don’t make people fight to find out about you. You can try it on your own with programs such as bMobilized or Duda Mobile, but we strongly suggest reaching out to a web programmer to really ensure peak performance of your site.
Feeling revved for the new year? Us too! And remember, you don’t have to try all of them at once. Start with your favorite and see how much free time or ease of mind you might gain. Then, move on to the next!
Need some help getting started? We understand new technology can be a headache, but having a professional assistant to help you set up, learn, and properly utilize it can save you A LOT of time (and stress!).
So now that you have the tools are at your disposal…how are you going to make 2017 work for you?
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