Rick Meekins is the Managing Partner at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy, an Atlanta, GA based small business consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations.
Gaining a Competitive Edge with Technology
According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, truly great companies don’t scramble to adapt to the future but instead adapt and work to create the future. This includes anticipating, adapting and reacting to new technologies and integrating one’s business model. The article also points to the case of Microsoft, where the CEO dismissed the iPhone and claimed it would never gain significant market share; IBM acted to the contrary by directing its focus to growing technology in cloud computing, which led to rapid growth.
Your company doesn’t need to invent a new product like the iPhone to compete. But you do need to anticipate growing trends in technology and the infrastructure being created in order to get ahead. Take the first step by combining the use of new technology with growing business trends, like automation, to stand-out and compete.
Here’s how to get started:
Get Into the Field
According to studies analyzed by Dr. Richard Arvey of the National University of Singapore Business School, anything done with new customers and closing sales is most effective if done face to face. This means that more entrepreneurs and business owners need to be out in the field and meeting their clients instead of strictly relying on email, conference calls and video chats.
But your business still needs to run while you’re away from the office, meaning you should make use of technology that has the ability to manage everyday business with sufficient battery power and memory. For example, the LG G5 has a removable battery and expandable memory of up to two terabytes, making it virtually impossible to run out of power or storage space while on the go. There’s also an enhanced camera and display to both take photos and run through presentations, graphs and spreadsheets with clients while out of office.
Automate your Inbound Sales
But what about companies that rely on online sales and lead generation? Face to face meetings aren’t necessary, and generating leads and online sales requires immediacy and a sense of urgency. However, sometimes recording the appropriate data becomes complex, from lead generation to automating the information the client receives and recording everything into a central CRM.
Try using Zapier to integrate your tools together, automate processes and reduce task time. For example, a Wufoo lead generation form could integrate with Batchbook to record the data and automatically follow-up with the appropriate information. The time saved can reduce the need for costly administrative and sales assistants, and can help close sales faster and improve your bottom line.
Develop a Remote Team
Hiring a talented team doesn’t require scouting locally anymore. Get rid of traditional office norms and focus on honing the best possible team players for your business. The real trick is keeping everyone connected, engaged and on the same page. Use tools like Slack to stay in communication with each other and manage projects from start to finish.
Send direct messages to each other, or start a small group to discuss a project virtually. Slack can also launch video calls in any Direct Message so your team can hop on a call to talk through issues as needed. Next, drag, drop and share files and images to work on projects to get them internally approved before presenting to clients.
Foster Customer Advocacy
Focusing on turning customers into your champion advocates isn’t a new concept. But how you manage the process, engage your customers and foster their advocacy can set you apart from your competition. Rely on a system like Influitive to launch your customer advocacy to help collect case studies, testimonials and reward incentives. After all, no one can speak louder and more candidly about your products and services than the customers you serve best.
Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. We are the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results. We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.
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