How can outsourcing help your business in the current climate?

How can outsourcing help your business in the current climate?

With UK business owners facing a cost-of-living crisis and the prices of energy bills and petrol soaring, you may wonder how outsourcing can help your business to operate more efficiently.

Outsourcing can save you money on staff

With the rise in national insurance contributions and minimum wage, taking on additional staff can be financially challenging in the current climate. Outsourcing gives you the opportunity to bring in additional support as and when you need it as opposed to offering someone a permanent position. They will also usually work remotely, saving you money on equipment, energy, and office space.

Outsourcing allows you to access a specialist with a different set of skills from your own

The key advantage of outsourcing is not just having quick and easy access to an extra pair of hands to assist you when you are at full capacity, it is the skills an outsider can bring to your organisation. People who carry out outsourced tasks usually have specialisms such as database management, organisation, invoicing, or research; all of these are tasks you could do yourself but would take you a lot longer than hiring a specialist to do so.

Outsourced personnel are not biased toward your current business model

As they are not accustomed to the way your business operates, they may be able to highlight cost and time savings within your organisation. As freelancers work with a number of organisations they are continuously exposed to new software and ways of working and may be able to make recommendations for making your business more efficient.

To learn more about outsourcing, call Busy Lives! 07565 722 031. Alternatively, you can drop me a message on LinkedIn / Messenger on Facebook or email: karen@busylivesnottingham.co.uk to discuss your requirements!

 

The 3 Main Benefits of using a CRM System

The 3 Main Benefits of using a CRM System

It’s a well-known fact that businesses that know, understand and communicate with their customers are more successful. A well-used customer relationship management system (CRM) can help you to track and manage all your customer data and communication, when used effectively your CRM should be able to aid you in communicating with your customers.

You may be wondering “what is a CRM system?”

A CRM system helps to manage customer data (contact details, lead status, customer activity, etc..). They are designed to support your sales, marketing and customer service processes.

So, why should you be using a CRM? Below I have outlined three of the main benefits:

It allows you to organise all contact data 

A CRM allows you to store all relevant information in one easily accessible, secure and visible place. This not only makes it easier to find the information you may need, but it is also easy to update when necessary without the need for pesky spreadsheets that you may lose track of.

Automation options for simple admin tasks

CRM systems can be used to automate unavoidable but monotonous, manual administrative tasks such as logging customer interactions, setting up personalised email sequences and data entry, by using automation you can save time and become more efficient, focussing on the tasks most important to you and your business. 

Access to easy to digest customer reports

When using your CRM system effectively it is straightforward to generate detailed customer reports.  These reports can be used to form a better understanding of your customers, their behaviour and enable you to plan your communication to them effectively, taking a more proactive and targeted approach based on the evidence your reports have provided. Following this approach should enable you to save time. 

If the key benefits mentioned above have motivated you to implement a new CRM system or update your current one, I can help you manage this process to save you time! I work with clients using a variety of CRM systems, such as Hubspot and Mailchimp, I can work alongside you to ensure you choose and implement the right tool for you and your business. 

If you would like to learn more about how outsourcing your CRM management call Busy Lives! 07565 722 031.

Alternatively, you can drop me a message on LinkedIn / Messenger on Facebook or email: karen@busylivesnottingham.co.uk to discuss your requirements!

Invoicing Top Tips

Invoicing Top Tips

I understand invoicing is the bane of many small business owners lives and for that reason, it is no surprise invoicing is one of the most common tasks regular clients choose to outsource to Busy Lives!

Ensuring you send invoices and get paid on time is the life blood of any business, but it does require a regular time commitment and a focused follow-up. During the past few years, businesses have been reluctant to chase overdue invoices as frequently as pre-pandemic, but this is starting to change now.

Having used many different invoicing programmes such as Xero, QuickBooks, Excel etc. I have picked up some great tips along the way to support businesses with their invoicing needs and I will be sharing in this blog:

My Top Tips are:

  • Depending on the size and nature of your business, I would recommend you always invoice your clients either weekly or monthly. Always on the same date / day to ensure easy payment.
  • Always use the date you did the work, not the date you’re generating the invoice.
  • Ensuring invoices are paid on time is crucial when running a small business, to mitigate the risk of late payments make sure your payment terms and due date are clear and your invoices are completed fully. I regularly review my clients’ invoices to ensure compliance.
  • State your preferred method of payment (such as direct debit or the fact you do not accept credit cards). Be clear & reduce issues further down the line.
  • Avoid confusion on both ends by requesting clients uses their invoice number when paying electronically, this will minimise the need for you to trawl through your online banking, saving you precious time.
  • Always ask the client who the invoice should be addressed and sent to, when dealing with other businesses this may not always be the Director and may need a purchase order number adding.
  • Provide as much information as you can to your customers when generating an invoice, be clear with exactly what you are charging them for to reduce confusion that could lead to late payments and time wasted with clients querying their invoices.
  • If you charge VAT, double check the software you’re using is taking this into account and is charging the correct rate as this human error is often made when using automatic invoicing software to save time.
  • Most importantly and the one many small business owners shy away from is, do not be afraid to chase the payment! Both as Xero and QuickBooks have the option to send automatic reminder emails. If clients fail to respond to those emails, pick up the phone.
  • Ensuring you keep a secure record of all the invoices you generate for HRMC to save time when filing your financial accounts and tax return

After many years of clients outsourcing their invoicing to Busy Lives! I also have some great ways I can help clients improve their invoicing process for those outsourcing their invoices for the first time:

  • Create a clear and consistent key of all your service areas by assigning a letter to each one, this will save you and the person managing your outsourced invoicing time and confusion.
  • I can help you create an easy-to-use table to streamline all your invoices showing the service their receive and the amount to be invoiced and their payment terms if they vary Again, this saves time for the business owner.
  • Keep detailed monthly stats on who pays you via direct debit and who pays on time / late. I regularly provide my clients with detailed stats highlighting key trends, average order values and the most popular services being used.
  • Use data to ensure you can make decisions about your business – are you receiving the income you need? I provide regular tracking data to help you track and measure your invoices. Clients find this useful and something they would not have the time to do.
  • Don’t forget to send reminders and chase for payment. I always help clients to successful chase debts by creating a 3-stage process and email communications to help ensure invoices get paid. You would be surprised how many don’t like chasing but with simple, friendly communication it can really work wonders.

 

I manage invoicing for a busy Marketing Agency in the East Midlands, and this is what she had to say about my work

“Karen has a very keen eye for detail and has helped set up and implement some procedures into the business around invoicing, all saving time and money. Highly recommended!”

Using the tips mentioned above to either manage or outsource your invoicing will allow you to save precious time! If you would like to learn more about how outsourcing your invoicing can save you time call Busy Lives! 07565 722 031.

Alternatively, you can drop me a message on LinkedIn / Messenger on Facebook or email: karen@busylivesnottingham.co.uk to discuss your requirements!

Time-saving Tips for Business Owners for 2022

Time-saving Tips for Business Owners for 2022

Is one of your business goals for 2022 to save time to be able to focus on the important tasks within your organisation? Use these time-saving tips to streamline your businesses procedures and increase your efficiency.

  1. Keep your information organised!

We are all guilty of spending precious time looking for records that are lost or misplaced.  Ensuring your database is updated, accessible and backed up regularly is crucial for saving time. When managing your database ensure record names and labels are clear and consistent to avoid confusion at a later date. If you do not have an existing online database, I can work with you to move your existing paper-based data online. I work alongside organisations migrating their database online and ensure the data carried over is correct, up to date, well organised, secure and compliant giving you added peace of mind.

  1. Write your to-do list for the following day before you leave the office

Having your priorities clearly listed for the day can help you feel ambitious and motivated from the minute you enter the office. The morning is when your productivity levels are likely to be at their peak, having a plan for the day can fuel your efficiency as you’re utilising your energy on important tasks as opposed to using this momentum to plan your day. It is also a great way to start your day with a clear focus as you’re likely to be less stressed when you realise your itinerary for the day has already been planned.

  1. Keep an eye on the clock

Understanding how much time you need for each project can help you better plan your days and waste less time. As silly as it sounds keeping an eye on the clock is an easy way to minimise the time you waste.

Calculate the time your everyday tasks should take to complete and set yourself time-constrained goals for completing them. An easy way to manage this is to set alarms on your phone for completing individual tasks or block out time in your diary to do those key tasks you try your best to put off. If you need help carrying out the tasks you try your best to avoid you may benefit from outsourced help to help you save time and boost your personal productivity.

Using the tips mentioned above or outsourcing will allow you to increase your productivity levels, minimise stress and accomplish more, helping you achieve increased success in 2022 and beyond.

If you would like to learn more about how outsourcing can save you time in 2022 call Busy Lives! 07565 722 031. Alternatively, you can drop me a message on LinkedIn / Messenger on Facebook or email: karen@busylivesnottingham.co.uk to discuss your requirements!

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Business

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Business

Just like 2020, 2021 was driven by a sense of uncertainty meaning the goals you set for the year were likely to have changed throughout the year. However, 2022 should hopefully be a little more settled, making it a great year for setting some clear business goals.

In this blog post I will be sharing some new year’s business resolution inspiration to help you have an efficient and successful 2022.

1. Expand your network

Have you been attending the same Zoom networking groups throughout 2021? With the same faces attending every week. If you are guilty of this, you’re likely to have not made many new business connections throughout the past year. Treat 2022 as a fresh start, look for fresh new groups whether that be face-to-face or online. Making the conscious effort to attend a new year every month or quarter will give you the opportunity to expand your network, of course, you’re not guaranteed any new business by doing so but meeting new people can often help re-spark our business mojo and inspire you to look at things differently which can enable us to be successful in ways we may have never considered ourselves.

2. Achieve a better work/life balance

For many of us, 2020 and 2021 were consumed by work as there wasn’t much more for us to do with restrictions. Many business owners I speak to are planning to regain their work-life balance in 2022, outsourcing can give you the freedom to do this. To decide what you should consider outsourcing in the new year evaluate the tasks you have to carry out, but dread doing or taking up too much of your time. For many this can be chasing invoices, updating your database or general administrative tasks such as emails, all of which could be handed over to an outsourcing organisation such as Busy Lives!

3. Automate more of your processes

We all know technology can help us to run our businesses more effectively, but have you considered implementing automation in your business? You may be surprised to hear about some of your automation options. I work with clients who use automation software to help with their bookkeeping, database management, and invoicing. Automation not only reduces the chance of human error but can also give you more time to focus on important tasks that will drive the success of your business further than completing these administrative tasks.

4. Communicate more with your clients to let them know they’re appreciated

Have you ever considered sending birthday cards to your clients? Over the past two years, our email inboxes have been busier than ever with sales messages. A client of mine has seen increased success from sending handwritten birthday cards to their clients, reminding them they’re thinking of them with no ulterior motive and helping to build a more personable relationship, meaning when you are ready to hard sell to them, they’re a warmer lead.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year and a prosperous 2022! If you would like to learn more about outsourcing or anything else, call Busy Lives! 07565 722 031. Alternatively, you can drop me a message on LinkedIn / Messenger on Facebook or email: karen@busylivesnottingham.co.uk to discuss your requirements!

What can you outsource at Christmas?

What can you outsource at Christmas?

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but for many business owners it can also be the busiest. Outsourcing can be a great way to save some time this festive season and give yourself the chance to enjoy the holidays. In this blog post, I will share the tasks you can outsource this season.

1. Ensuring all 2021 admin is complete

The most stressful December task for many is ensuring everything is ticked off your to-do list ready for January before you close for business for the year. I can save you time by ensuring your database is up to date for 2022. I can also help with your invoicing ahead of the new year, helping you to get paid and start the new year without any outstanding invoices.

2. Christmas cards

Writing and sending out Christmas cards can be an exhaustive task, by outsourcing this task you can save yourself a lot of time and effort whilst still wishing your contacts a Merry Christmas. Last Christmas, I hand-wrote all Christmas cards and envelopes for a client enabling them to send them out ahead of the Christmas rush, assisting them to build upon their client relationships during the pandemic. There are many advantages of sending handwritten post, you can read them here.

3. Christmas gifts

Sourcing and sending the perfect corporate Christmas gift can be a logistical nightmare. It is expected to be even more challenging this year due to delivery driver shortages, making it vital to be a thought for now, rather than later. I understand many business owners have clients and staff throughout the UK and into Europe, who may still be working from home or live in areas where travel restrictions make it still difficult to visit them, therefore it is vital for gifts to be easy to post. I can work collaboratively with you to find and send the perfect corporate Christmas gifts for your requirements this year. Before sending out cards or gifts you must also ensure your database has been updated to guarantee items are posted to the correct addresses. Database management and maintenance is something you may also wish to outsource.

4. Planning or researching ready for projects to kick-off in the new year

The new year is a time many businesses launch new products and projects, for this to happen research must be taken prior to January. A remote support service like Busy Lives! can carry out effective research so you are able to start your new year projects with the best possible information. I can work closely with you to create clear research goals to ensure suitable and effective information is gathered ensuring your business is ready to start 2022.

To learn more about outsourcing the tasks mentioned above or anything else, call Busy Lives! 07 565 722 031. Alternatively, you can drop me a message on LinkedIn / Messenger on Facebook or email: karen@busylivesnottingham.co.uk to discuss your requirements!