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As my latest client just said “If I had gotten what I needed from my software, I’d be in much better shape – I wouldn’t be struggling and wasting my time trying to do all the things the software could have done for me to help me grow my business”.

At least he realizes it. We’ve gotten him back on the right software and are working with him to get it where he needs it.

The five main problems we most commonly see are that companies and organizations:
1) Think they can’t afford the software they need
2) Don’t think they have the time to find and implement it
3) Don’t know what they are losing by not implementing the right software
4) Don’t know what kind of software they need (start with a CRM that has business options and can integrate with your web site and other software you use, like QuickBooks).
5) Are just overwhelmed by the choices

By the time most companies and organizations get to us, they have mostly overcome the last objection (#5) to becoming a successful company – they are actively seeking help.

There are many software and BI (Business Intelligence) companies out there promising that they can “fix” all your business problems, but the truth is, they can only do what you allow them to do and you need to be prepared with the basics (below).

They can guide you in the right direction, they can share their experience and expertise, some can even do the implementation of whatever software you choose, but ultimately YOU are the decision maker and need to know what you need.

Our basic guide on “How to Plan For Your Business Software Needs”:
1) Develop a basic business flow

Map out from leads to sale, then follow through to whatever form of quoting and collections (billing/invoicing) you need. Take into consideration your needs for inventory management, scheduling, order fulfillment, and all the other processes you perform in your business. Look at what you could have access to on an app that would help you accomplish your sales goals or any functions that would help your business run smoother. Use a Mind Map – it’s actually fun!

2) Examine your marketing needs –
Find out who your target market is, their demographics, and where you can find them. If you’ve been in your business for enough time, you should know how much each sale costs you on average. Identify where you’re most likely to find your ideal client.
Examples:

  • If you provide software systems like we do, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to find clients at a networking event, no matter how large it is, or on Facebook – not the right audience. It would be like finding a particular drop of water in a swimming pool. However, if you have certifications and partners (we have Google Adwords and Microsoft partnerships) and you’re listed on their sites, clients will find you. LinkedIn articles help, too.
  • If you are selling jewelry or landscaping (or any type of personal or home services), then networking, Facebook and Google Ranking and ads are much more likely to help you.
  • If you are a B2B, Google Adwords and Ranking along with LinkedIn are more likely to help you.
  • You really have to do the research AND work with a company with that experience.

If you need Social Media Marketing, we have a new product that we’ve
been using that puts it all on autopilot, saving us a LOT of time, it’s
inexpensive and is making us money – ask and we’ll share our experience.

3) Know your budget
Understand what it’s costing you NOT to have the software you need and be able to do the tracking and analysis that will ultimately grow your hobby into a business. If you’re just starting out, pick software that you can grow with – that offers more than just the basic CRM and that will integrate your CRM with your Business Processes, your Web Site and Facebook, and will interface with the other software you need (like QuickBooks).

4) Get demos for several different software systems
After the first three steps are taken care of, either do the research yourself or go to a firm that sells/supports several different systems. This will help you focus in on what software you really need. This is usually a free process, so my advice is to use their experience in this as well.

I’m a big fan of Infusionsoft, which is the premiere marketing/campaign software product on the market. But it’s not business software.
Microsoft Dynamics is both a CRM and a business system, with analytics, which is integrated with Office, which allows you to manage scheduling in either user interface (it’s synched) and use their email and scheduling apps.
We sell/support those systems and our own product (1-Box.com) where we provide a basic CRM for just a small setup fee or we build completely custom systems on our already developed platform.
Always ask about integrations to other software that you use (like QuickBooks) to cut down on the number of times you have to enter the same information over again.

Of course, there are many other things you need to plan for in a business – we have a tax advisor, a former IRS agent and trainer, working with us to help you take advantage of programs you’d never find and/or understand on your own.  We are always looking join with organizations that promote small business and offer programs for them.

Find a company that will work with you to find the right software for your needs and be there with you as you grow, with the ability and knowledge to help. These are things that are often offered for FREE – take advantage of it!!!

Or call what you do a hobby – it’s perfectly OK to have a hobby.

Please 1-Box.com to take your hobby to the next level. Initial consulting and demos are free!

If you have an existing vertical market, or want to create your own company for sales and support of our products, including Internet Marketing programs, ask about ourReseller Program.

_____________________________________________________________
Dawn Cassara
What Dawn is passionate about and speaks on:

– How to Run Your SMB like a Large Corporation
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