by Dr Greg Chapman
“How important is technology in your business and which is the most important for your success?”
Technology is important in any business, but it’s all too easy to get distracted by the latest bright shiny object that becomes available with suppliers insisting it’s essential for your business. As my business, Empower Business Solutions, is largely an online business with most enquiries generated in that environment with a mixed online/offline conversion, I am regularly tempted by the latest fads. However, I resist this by stepping back and thinking carefully about how the application might help my business, and researching how others are using it, running trials, and quickly dropping it if it doesn’t live up to promoters’ promises.
Not only is online technology a crucial part of my business strategy, it is also of great interest to my clients who want to generate more business online.
One technology I use is SEO which is important for my success, but it is only part of the equation- being found is actually relatively easy (really it is) and there are many people who will help you if you don’t know how yourself. What happens next, converting those leads to clients is what really makes the business a success. Instead of SEO, I will describe two other technologies that have been key to achieving my goals.
When I started this business over 10 years ago, all follow-up of enquiries was by myself often involving onsite visits, resulting in a lot of wasted effort. The first step was to automate much of this process. The technology I use for this is autoresponders after visitors have opted in at my website. Autoresponders are a series of emails that are sent out automatically at fixed intervals to move leads to the next stage of my sales pipeline. A well structured Sales Pipeline is a critical success factor for any business and autoresponders have been fully integrated into mine. Sales Pipelines also happen to be one of my core areas of advice.
Autoresponders have saved me hundreds of hours of effort whilst enabling me to stay engaged with leads until they are ready to buy. In addition, the reporting from professional autoresponder services is now of a high standard so you can see what is working and what is not. This technology has also increased my conversion rates substantially as a result of this structured follow up.
Over the years I have refined this tool so that I now have multiple autorepsonder series for different referral sources each quietly nudging leads towards a sale while I focus on developing new strategies for my business.
The second technology at the core of my business is online meeting and webinar software. This has become much more practical with higher internet speeds in recent years. In the early years, even if I had a high speed connection, it was not common for clients to have one. Now most businesses have invested in high speed broadband.
I not only use this technology for service delivery (I have clients across the country), I also use it for promotion and conversions, so I no longer even need to visit prospects to get the sale (although there are exceptions). Ten years ago, I would spend much of my time in my car. Not only has this has been a major time saver for me, it has totally transformed my business model.
There are other technologies I use in my business, but these two have made the greatest difference because they have been fully integrated with my other business strategies and processes.
What technologies have changed your business?
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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.
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