Ditch The Desk…9 Awesome Apps To Achieve Location Independence
If you’ve ever dreamt of running a remote business, these 9 software programs will give you the freedom to work from anywhere.
Last year I was like many business owners who dreamt of embracing the laptop lifestyle, travelling the world and running their business from anywhere with a Wifi connection. This year I upped sticks and did it!!
6 months ago I packed up my life in Australia and made a temporary move back to the UK to spend time with my friends and family on the other side of the world, and I brought my business with me.
For any business that is used to doing all their sales and clients meetings face to face, this is a fairly major transition to go through. You start running all the objections through your mind and worry that this style of working will be a barrier to sale. Will our prospects choose our competitor because they visited their office and sat across from them? Will our clients feel they are getting an inferior service because I can no longer pop in for a coffee?
These are the kind of fears that stop businesses from taking this leap of faith and keeps them stuck behind a desk. But with the benefit of hindsight, I can honestly say that operating 100% remotely has NOT been a barrier to sale.
In fact, I believe the opposite is true. Our prospects and our clients see the efficiency with which we run our business, and they’re impressed. Often they also have aspirations to be more agile in the way they work, to be more efficient in the way they operate and to create more freedom in their life, and given our experience, they see US as being ideally positioned to help them acheive that.
Our dream was to make customised CRM solutions accessible to ALL small businesses. In order to achieve that we had to ditch our traditional pricing model, afterall only big businesses will pay us to waste time commuting to their office and sit in board rooms chewing the fat.
So rather than chew the fat, we had to trim it, ALL OF IT. Every single aspect of our sales, marketing, onboarding and customer service process was up for a review and nothing survived intact. The first thing to go was face-to-face meetings and we didnt’ stop until our entire business model had been optimised for remote operation.
So despite our initial fears, we now make sales purely based on the systems and processes our prospects experience from us leading up to making a buying decision. AND we’ve spent the last few months making memories that you can’t begin to put a price on.
If you have dreams of living the laptop lifestyle and running your business remotely, or simply just being more agile in the way you deliver your service, we’ve made a list of the 9 software programs we COULD NOT live without as a 100% location indendant business.
Being Zoho Partners, we may be a little biased, but in all honesty I simply don’t know how any business operares without a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for support. Zoho CRM takes every business relationship you have, categorises it and centralises it into one single database that is accessible from anywhere, anytime, even without Wifi!
Imagine the possibility of having every sales prospect tracked according to its position in your sales cycle, every marketing activity measured to understand whether it’s providing a return on investment, every follow up scheduled and every interaction with your contacts (including emails) recorded and visible by your entire team.
Zoho CRM has the capability to single handedly transform the way you do business forever, but combined with other cloud-based software like the ones listed below, you can truly skyrocket your businesses growth and success. To understand how Zoho can support your specific business requirements, book in for a free systems review and software demo HERE.
When you’re working remotely, you need a way to stay in touch with your clients and conduct sales meetings online whilst still maintaining that personal touch.
The know, like and trust factor is critical in sales and customer relationship management. We all know there is nothing like sitting across from someone to face to face, but Zoom comes pretty close.
I’ve tried every teleconferencing software on the market and nothing compares to Zoom. The quality of the call is faultless. Zoom automatically records your meetings and provides you with a shareable link following the meeting.
Hands down one of my favourite features is the option to add a slight filter to your video feed. This comes in really handy when you’re dealing with international clients and have to roll out of bed super early to get on a client meeting. Ladies no make-up is required, hoorah.
This awesome little app is new to my repotoire and saving me tons of time and bucket loads of frustration. Now that we support clients worldwide, managing the difference in timezones to tee up meeting times had my head spinning.
But even without the complication of multiple timezones, the constant toing and froing to marry up calendars and lock in appointments was a signinficant source of pain for me. Calendly completely eliminates this pain by turning your calendar into an online booking system.
Calendly lets you create a variety of appointment types with pre-determined time slots, availability and instructions. You have full control over who can book in for what and when for every type of appointment.
The Google Calendar integration eliminates the fear of double booking and makes it super easy to block out time that you don’t want to make available for appointments. The combination of Calendly, Google Calendar and Zoom has transformed my diary managment, I can’t recommend this lovely little app more highly.
Once you decide to operate remotely, you may decide to leave your local business community for extended periods of time to travel. Because you won’t be able to catch-up with your local contacts in person, it’s essential to implement a keep-in-touch strategy to share your news and deliver value to your network.
Engage your audience, create lasting relationships and automate email followup with the Zoho Campaigns . This Mailchimp rival enables you to perfgorm effortless email marketing with professionally designed email templates and smart automations.
Connect it with the Zoho CRM to segment your audience and drive your sales and marketing efforts forward.
The nature of our work as CRM Consultants requires us to deliver step-bystep training on how to use and customise a variety software applications. We also utilise video to explain in-depth concepts and processes to our clients.
In the past this was delivered in 1-2-1 training sessions or group workshops. Now that our clients are scattered across the globe, this is no longer an option. So we were presented with a new problem, how can we deliver professional training that is on-demand and affordable?
Step up Learndash.
Learndash is a Learning Management Sysatem that plugs into WordPress and gives you the ability to create and sell high-quality online courses. Break your content up into courses, lessons and topics and create user engagement with quizzes, badges and certificates.
It has transformed the way we train our clients and enabled to us to deliver an even higher quality experience. As a secondary benefit, it means our training is now available to Zoho Users worldwide, regardless of whether they engaged us to set-up their CRM system for them.
Everyday we hear from business owners who are struggling with their quoting and invoicing process. Usually the process is so indiviualised that it takes up a huge amount of time, and so inefficient that with no follow up process in place, invoices regularly go unpaid.
Xero is an entirely cloud-based accounting package that helps you keep on top of cash flow & get paid faster. In recent years Xero has become the market’s favorite financial collaboration app and we recommend it to all our clients.
When operating an organised remote business, the ability to send invoices that include a link to process payments online is fundamental. Because working remotely opens you up to an international market place, your clients could potentially be operating in several currencies. Xero allows you to invoice in multiple currencies, calculate conversion rates and process payments online thanks to handy integrations with merchant facilities like Stripe and Paypal.
To achieve end to end automation, we integrate Xero with Zoho CRM to avoid unecessary data duplication in our invoicing process. The 2-way synchronisation pushes and pulls data between both software programs, helping you to stay on top of follow-ups and keeping your bookkeeper in the loop.
If you operate in the B2B sector, the easiest way to tap into a local market and connect with business owners nearby is through Linkedin. Advanced search functionality allows you to seek out your ideal prospects, filter by location, industry, company size and job title to avoid the gatekeeper and reach the decision maker directly.
For anyone that is very active on Linkedin, you can relate that managing your connection follow ups and touchpoints is both challenging and time consuming. To avoid the need for yet another Excel spreadsheet, we use a handly little tool called Linkmatch to connect Linkedin with Zoho CRM.
At the click of a button we can import the contact details of any Linkedin profile straight into our CRM, updating custom fields, notes and tags accordingly. LinkMatch also allows you to see who’s already in your Zoho account without leaving the LinkedIn platform, this eliminates the need of switching tabs back and forth.
Linkmatch saves us huge amounts of data entry time and streamlines our follow up process, ensuring no opportunity goes unexplored.
The way we collect data and feedback from our prospects and clients is critical to the success of our online business. Now that we no longer sit in front of our clients to obtain a project brief, we needed to find a more efficient way of doing that process. Zoho Survey is the answer.
A series of online questionnaires has replaced hours of work previously performed in person. The surveys have considerable question logic built into them making for intuitive user experience. Once a survey is submitted, the integration with Zoho CRM associates the response with their contact record and automated processes are triggered accordingly
We now use Zoho Survey for countless internal activities, anything from Interview Questionnaires to Landing Page templates. The ability to sort and report on the submitted surveys is extremely useful. It reveals patterns in our data we could never have anticipated otherwise.
If you’ve ever dreamt of swapping your desk job for the laptop lifestle, we hope that this list will help get you well on the way.
Follow THIS LINK to book your FREE systems review and Zoho CRM demo and learn more about how FWRD can support you in building a streamlined, scaleable and location independant business with Zoho CRM.