In this busy 24/7 world, constantly connected via mobile devices that we perpetually have on our person, confronted with information overload, we bet you’ve had a daydream or two (or ten or twenty…) about working differently. Think about it, when was the last time you mused about the possibility of working in a different way- to give yourself more freedom, choice and the Holy Grail, more time…?
…We guarantee it was fairly recently.
That’s is why we are huge advocates and practitioners of efficient, organised and innovative integrated CRM systems, such as those offered by Zoho. Why? Zoho’s CRM, working in tandem with the extra ‘bolt on’ applications such as Zoho Connect and Zoho Mail, allow our team to work effectively…from wherever and whenever they want. The user-friendly platforms allow the channels of communication to be open (Zoho Mail) so our creative juices can flow and collaboration can ensue in real time (Zoho Connect) and files can be shared, contacts securely stored and necessary information accessed (Zoho CRM).
We love to be able to work from anywhere, at the time we choose and from any device. It makes for seamless synergy of tasks and ideas and is just handy, speedy and free if not always in the monetary sense!
If you’re thinking about being able to work more ‘remotely’ or if you have ambitions to create a virtual office or virtual team then these are the top tips/tools we recommend:
Go paperless in the office. An amazing app for this, that we use for all of our written notes (they get scanned, pdf’d and put into our CRM) is CamScanner
Then you don’t have to panic when you’ve left notepads in the office or in the car or at home – it’s all online!
Get a CRM in place so that all of your information is organised, you can access client information when you need it and you can track tasks, digitally diarize events, follow-up and much more. Your CRM IS your virtual office.
3. Mobile Apps
Get everything installed on your mobile device. We have our CRM, Accounts package, scanning tool, mobile banking, Business Card Scanner (straight to CRM), Social platforms – including our internal social platform, Zoho Connect, Project management tool and instant chat (plus lots more obviously). Yes all that on our mobile devices! If the tech is there we might as well utilize it to our advantage.
4. Project Management
This is essential if you want to manage multiple clients amongst your team. Get everything into a project plan and track your hours/progress easily. We use Zoho Projects for this because it integrates with our CRM and with Zoho Connect.
5. Exchange Email
Absolutely paramount as a business. You need a reliable email platform that offers support, strong spam filters and you want to be able to update your emails on any device (read, sent, opened etc.). Zoho Mail also gives you a calendar that syncs automatically to your mobile device. Key benefit!
6. Business Instant Chat
As we mentioned above – we use Zoho Chat to communicate quickly and efficiently. It’s best used to catch each other for an instant answer, otherwise we use Zoho Connect.
7. Card Scanner App
Like most SMEs, the cornerstone of our marketing strategy and generating new business is networking but rather than juggling (and losing!) vast amounts of business cards belonging to important contacts, we use Zoho’s Card Scanner App.
It takes a photo of a business card, accurately scans the information straight to our CRM for all our team to see!
8. Zoho Books
If you’re a small company you are your own accountancy department! Zoho Books allows balancing of the books, tracking inventory and expenses and financial reporting to be smoother and hassle-free.
9. Be Transparent
We believe a thriving team is an open one. Sharing platform such as Zoho Docs and instant communication platforms, such as Zoho Connect that allows candid group conversations and Business Instant Chat to keep that team spirit flourishing.
All these tools are great but just like talented workers are made even better working as a team, so too are all these apps and platforms. Sync your contacts’ social media profiles to their profiles on your CRM, sync the calendar your email provides you with with your mobile device, sync the business cards your scanner app captures to your CRM.
Some of this syncing will be automatic, some will have to be set up manually but when things work in tandem that’s when the magic happens!
It’s all about creating that ‘online office’ environment. With all of these tools it doesn’t matter where you are so why not find your favourite spot and work from there?