By John Rampton, founder of Palo Alto, California-based Calendar, a company helping your calendar be much more productive.
It’s fair to say that business leaders fulfill dynamic roles. Between balancing the people and operational sides of management, those in charge can feel like things aren’t running that smoothly. Client deadlines keep getting pushed out, there’s a lack of cohesion between department managers and sales results are below expectations.
Falling short of business goals isn’t a fun situation for anyone on the team, but it can be a learning opportunity that identifies outdated platforms and procedures that impede productivity and collaboration.
Thankfully, technology is constantly moving forward with tools that help leaders optimize workflows, collaboration efforts and scheduling demands. Below are some of the software applications decision-makers can implement to achieve their business objectives.
1. Project Management Software
Without project management software, leaders and employees have difficulties keeping track of tasks and priorities. These apps make a manager’s job infinitely easier because their built-in features reduce the need for constant follow-up. Project management tools also help team members understand how their contributions impact the business.
Industries ranging from construction to software development can use project management tools that are geared specifically to their needs. Alternatively, applications such as Microsoft Teams, Wrike and Asana are designed to be universal, meaning nearly any department in any company will find their features useful.
With such tools, leaders and employees can create separate projects and outline individual assignments. Managers can assign ownership, set priorities and establish due dates. Checklists for subtasks, document sharing and real-time collaboration via chat and videoconferencing are also integrated into the tools.
Project management solutions show macro and micro views of an initiative’s moving parts. Teams know when they’re veering off track from an individual and collective standpoint. But most importantly, leaders and their direct reports see the same information and progress. They’re more likely to work together to get things moving, meet deadlines and overcome obstacles because their perspectives are synced.
2. Scheduling Applications
Effective collaboration can’t happen without scheduled meetings between stakeholders. Many business models also involve client appointments, whether it’s an account executive making sales calls or a customer who needs services. The problem is, manually arranging, confirming and rescheduling meetings can become a full-time job. Employees spend precious time coordinating calendars and managing scheduled appointments instead of doing their actual work.
As the creator of an automated scheduling software, I’ve seen firsthand how removing many of the routines and repetitive tasks involved in arranging appointments can simplify and streamline operations across teams. Stakeholders who receive meeting invites can select dates and times from calendars that reflect everyone’s availability. Confirmation emails with video call links or location details automatically go out to all attendees. Sorting through email chains and phone messages becomes a thing of the past.
Scheduling applications are versatile enough to work with internal and external groups. Teams can arrange recurring status and progress meetings with vendors. Customers who have to reschedule use links within confirmation emails to confirm new dates and time slots. Both parties receive automatic notifications, and email calendar details are updated as well. This improves communication and frees up staff to focus on more strategic or complex assignments.
3. Payment Processing Software
Some research correlates technology use to shortened attention spans. The effects of this are seen in classrooms and work environments. People move from one task to another, often before finishing a complete assignment. This fast-paced tendency also translates to a desire for instant gratification. Consumers want to order and pay for products in a snap, and vendors prefer to receive immediate payments for services.
Companies are also driven by a need to promptly collect and track invoice payments. The longer an invoice remains outstanding or past due, the more likely it will never get paid. Managing accounts receivable and payable, tacking on late fees and sending invoices to collections creates possibilities for errors and oversights. Payment processing softwares, such as Dex or PaySimple, automate the details and makes payments simpler for employees, vendors and clients.
Take property management companies and homeowners associations, for instance. Payment processing platforms allow tenants and homeowners to create personalized accounts. They can electronically submit rent payments or HOA dues, view statements and communicate with reps. Property managers have a streamlined way to send invoices and automate late fees and notifications. Payment apps keep revenue goals on track without as much human intervention.
Ensuring efficient business operations is a key component of leadership. Juggling business processes and customer and employee needs makes achieving optimal effectiveness a tall order. But with tech tools, such as project management, scheduling and payment processing software, managers can simplify and unite their teams’ efforts. By eliminating repetitive tasks and making it easier to collaborate, leaders can leverage technology to deliver on their goals.