To have a scalable business system that runs smoothly from end to end is the dream, at least for my company. But where to start? There are a million and one options when it comes to business software, handling email, newsletters, project management, and customer relationship management.
So while every business has its quirks, let me tell you what has worked for us. We have an import business. So, as with most businesses, we need the following:
- A website
- A way to capture leads and send out a newsletter
- A content management system
- A calendar
- A space to keep our documents and contacts
- A space to collaborate and manage projects
- A way to manage our accounts and payroll
Perhaps more unique to us, we also needed a place to easily access our suppliers and their pricing, and our customers and the pricing we offer them.
Having those systems in place allows you to manage the day-to-day. The difficult part is finding business software that plays nice with others (unlike a spoiled child in the playground).
Here’s our all-in-one dream system:
With WordPress, you have a website with a content management system so you can make changes and add news as you please. I also recommending adding the all-in-one SEO and “jetpack” plugins for site statistics and to ensure your news is SEO-friendly. We also use a theme from Themeforest for $35.
Simply add this code to your site, and within seconds you can capture people’s email addresses and send out any number of beautifully designed and easily changed templates.
Our whole business runs on Google. Did you fall in love with Gmail? You can use this for your business with your own domain. You now have a brilliant email system, and the ability to share documents and store whatever you need in Google Drive.
The beauty of Google Apps is not just the email but all the add-ons for your business. Below are two add-ons we used that will help your whole business run smoothly.
Podio is something we just added to our business because it worked with Google Apps, and we have never looked back. Podio is how you manage your business. We now have all of our suppliers, partners, and pricing (cost, wholesale, and retail) in one place. Plus, because it works with Google Apps, each email you receive can be turned into a task that you assign to an employee or colleague, all with the social network feel of Yammer.
It’s the best accounting software that ties in nicely with Google Apps. Manage your accounts in multiple currencies, and look after your invoicing and payroll. It works like a dream.
If you are like us, everything falls apart at tax time. Why? Because you still have to manually go through your receipts. With Shoeboxed, you send off all your receipts in one of their envelopes, and they take care of the rest. Everything is now online and synced to Xero.
So that is how we did it. Finally – one system that really works across the board, taking away the manual work you still find yourself doing from time to time.
Guest author Chris Joannou is a serial entrepreneur with businesses in everything from tech to tequila. He runs two of Melbourne’s largest online business and startup networks – the Melbourne Internet Business Group and Startup Grind Melbourne, in addition to DreamPushers.com, which showcases startups and visionaries. Outside of tech, he runs an innovative, private-label food and beverage business that primarily imports for the retail and food service markets within the Asia-Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @dreampushers.