• How to Choose the Right Business Management Tools for the Service Entrepreneur Mar 12, 2020
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    Starting and building a business needs the founder or owner to do a whole heap of work; it's not an easy ride. It doesn't matter what kind of entrepreneur you are. You could be embarking on a solo endeavour, or you could be starting big, but however small you start, the business owner wears many hats. When workloads, expectations and responsibilities depend on one, or even two or three people, they need the business management tools that will help to organise, develop, and support growing a service business.

    While it's virtually impossible to find a single tool that will do every possible job, some fantastic tools can make your life a whole lot simpler. I won't lie, we think that SimplyBook.me is on it's way to being one of the top business management tools for service businesses across the globe. Unlike any other industry, service sector businesses live and die by the way they provide services to their clients - long after retail and product businesses are replaced by technology; service providers will still be us, humans.

    What does your business need?

    Before you can find the tools that will best assist your business development, you need to know what you need for your business to grow. Do you know how many facets of your business that you need to organise and monitor?

    If you're an experienced entrepreneur, you'll already have a handle on it. However, here's a shortlist of the essential facets you'll need to cover:
    • Resource Management
    • Marketing
    • Performance Monitoring
    • Client Relationship Management (CRM)
    • Finances & Accounting
    • Payment Routes & Methods
    • Project Management
    • Appointment booking
    • Online Presence
    • Communications
    There are more, but these should cover the essentials for any service business, other items could be industry-specific or only particular to your business.

    It sounds pretty exhausting for a whole team of people. However, if you have to cover all of this on your own, you need to find the best tools available to make your business management more efficient.

    While it is unlikely that you'll find a tool that does everything you need, you can find some that will cover many of the essentials; the trick is to find the one that does it well.

    The Outliers
    Okay, I'm going to pay attention to those facets that tend to need outside assistance.

    • Finance & accounting - Taxes, accounts, payroll...
    • Communications - Phone, text, email, video calling...
    • Project Management - business development, processes, planning...
    The best and most affordable versions of these tools are mostly stand-alone entities, created specifically for the intricacies involved by people who understand it.

    Choosing the primary tool that will help you

    How you select your primary business tool depends on the importance you give to each facet of your business organisation. The only way that you can do this effectively is to do your research. If you search the internet for software business tools for each of the various facets of your business management structure, you'll get a list of the top contenders. When you start to explore these tools, you will find that many of them offer additional benefits that will cover other aspects of your business.

    Rank the facets of your business management structure in order of importance, and search for tools that will help you to streamline and facilitate that area. Once you have the most crucial aspects of your service business nailed down, you can research the tools that make that process more efficient. As you research those tools, you will find that the best ones will cover many more aspects of your business management needs.

    You have a service business to manage. When you deliver services (of any kind) scheduling appointments, classes, interviews, sittings, hiring times etc. is an essential aspect of your business. Meagre systems, missed bookings, poor time-management, and inadequate personnel and resource management will be a death knell for your business. It doesn't matter how good your payment systems, accounting software, or marketing are if no one wants to pay you anything.

    So, start with your scheduling and customer-facing facets and work outwards towards those parts that, have less effect on the experience of your clients. They are still important, but

    The best business management tools for an entrepreneur are those that can simplify and streamline the highest proportion of your management needs

    Selecting a Tool that "Fits"

    There are several great tools out there cover a broad range of business needs. However, they aren't giving you value if they offer a whole range of things that you don't need.

    Can you find a tool that gives you the things you need without the burden of things you don't?

    One of the downsides to some of the fully comprehensive software packages is that they aren't customisable to the requirements of the business. The best option you have is a system that will allow you to pick and choose the elements that you need. That will enable you to grow and expand your requirements as your business develops.

    Connectivity - you need it.

    You know that you can't get a single tool that will do everything for you - wouldn't that be nice. It doesn't matter how hard all of us try - we can't be perfect at everything. What we can do is acknowledge this and make sure that we can help you connect our super-cool management software with the auxiliary tools you need.

    Okay, you've chosen your best option to be your primary business management tool. You've done the research; your favourite tool can help you streamline and ease your business management load by 70-80%.

    However, there is no interconnectivity with the other tools you need to use. Your scheduling, marketing, website, monitoring, and resource management super-tool won't connect with your payment processors, your accounting software or your email system.

    It could be native connectivity in partnership with a well-known brand or use a third party "connector app" like Zapier. You need that connectivity to ensure that all of the time and effort and money you save with your super-tool, isn't lost by having to transfer data from one system to another manually. Possibly even multiple times.


    Conclusion

    While everyone in the Software as a Service (SaaS) sphere aims to be the answer to every problem that a business can possibly encounter. We want to be everything to our customers. We are realistic enough to know that we can't always do that.

    However, what a great business management tool can do is give you all the tools you need to build a business management system that suits you and your company.

    Perfection is almost impossible to find, but flexibility, connectivity and support can help you to build your ideal - even when that ideal changes, as your business evolves over time.
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