Every business owner is looking for that magic bullet, that special ingredient that makes a business grow. And while you might think it’s simply a matter of having a great product or service – there’s one particular element that is crucial. As highlighted by highly successful US entrepreneur and business mentor Simon Reynolds, the number one way to grow a business is sales.
If sales are the key to growing your new business, it follows that you’re probably wondering how much time to spend on sales, and how you’re going to manage it when you’re juggling a lot of different tasks and trying to keep an eye on the bigger picture as well.
Reynolds answers the first question in an article published by Forbes. "How much time should you spend on sales? Well if you’re running a new business, you should devote at least 80% of your day to it," he said.
So how can you manage this, without losing track of everything else?
You can free up your time to concentrate on sales by taking advantage of technology to streamline your business processes and increase productivity. Here are some examples:
1) Invest in a cloud accounting system. Cloud accounting programs can save you time and make sure you’re on top of your incomings and outgoings. You can set up automatic bill payments and invoicing, and because the data is always current, you know exactly where your business stands financially at any given time, so you won’t lose sight of the big picture.
2) Move your software programs to the cloud. Using the cloud to run your other business programs also makes sense. This means you can work remotely, and you’ll have access to data whenever you need it. If you’re at a meeting for example, and a potential client asks for figures that you don’t have to hand, that spreadsheet is only a click away on your smartphone or tablet.
3) Streamline your business communications. Business communications are particularly important to a smooth sales process. You need to send and receive paperwork as efficiently as possible, and be easy to reach and quick to respond to queries. Consider implementing a system such as eFax, to send and receive faxes online. With eFax, you’re not tied to the office; you can send and receive faxes on your computer or mobile device, at any time from anywhere. It’s as quick and efficient as sending an email. It doesn’t require you to spend time waiting at the fax machine for pages to go through, and if you’re on the road, you don’t have to wait to get back to the office to send a vital contract to a customer.
Once you’ve put some thought into how you’re going to free up time for sales, the next thing to focus on is how you’re going to do it. Here are two tips for how you can help increase your sales:
1) Social media, online advertising and an engaging and well designed website all enhance your ability to spread the word about your business, and interact with your consumers in real time.
2) Cross selling, up selling and bundling are all proven methods to increase sales. Cross selling involves selling other products and services from your range in addition to your customer's initial purchase. Up selling requires offering your services in a tiered system, whereby you advertise a budget, medium range and superior version of your product, increasing your chances of appealing to varying markets. Bundling can increase your average sales by creating more value around a product, by offering it as a package.
The bottom line is, when you save time by using technology to streamline your everyday business operations, you can concentrate on boosting your sales. Using technology allows you to be available to your customers, and to be efficient in meeting their needs.