My Favourite Operations Management Tech
The digital age is pretty wondrous, isn’t it? Not only can many of us run our businesses with just a laptop and a phone from virtually anywhere in the world, but we’ve also got more access than ever before to information, tools and tricks to help us get things done.
For me, technology is just another tool that helps me achieve my goals. These goals, however, usually involve someone else because I’m generally working towards results for a client. With that in mind, I’m picky about what technology I’ll use: if it’s not something I’m 100% comfortable recommending to clients, I won’t.
When I DO recommend tech to clients, you better believe it’s a tool or app that I’ve tested out myself extensively. Like everyone, I’ve got my favourites, which I wanted to share with you today.
Disclaimer time: I’m not being paid to advertise any of these technologies – they’re just tools I think are incredibly useful for scaling your business and every owner should know about them. Let’s have a closer look…
There are loads of project management tools on the internet. Asana, Monday, etc. ClickUp is the one I use and recommend, though I’m sure the others have merit too. Lots of businesses, especially those that were only started recently, don’t have a project management system in place - instead relying on spreadsheets, documents and emails to arrange work.
Even if there’s only one person in the business, you can imagine how quickly a system like that can fall apart - right? It only takes a few additional tasks, a random emergency, a client issue or some other minor disruption for it to all come crashing down.
If you’re aiming to scale, you’ve got to set the foundations right from the beginning. ClickUp helps you do that by offering a full project management ecosystem. You can create, assign and track tasks (whether those be recurring process related tasks or one-off tasks related to a specific project), link to SOPs and Handbooks within these tasks, see the workload of each member of your team, and more.
In a recent blog I talked about strategic planning and how a key component of this is treating your plan and goals like a project. This means planning in time to action parts of the goal, scheduling reviews of progress and having specific team members delegated to tasks associated with it - all of which I use ClickUp for with my clients.
Essentially, ClickUp gives you big business operations control without the need for a full operations team. I love it when I first start working with clients and they take my advice to get on board – setting them up on it and seeing them realise all the opportunities it can provide is pretty magical.
In a recent blog about proactive vs reactive growth, I talked about the value of proactivity in business. If you’re always sitting back and reacting to changes, you’re always behind your competitors and customers – which means you’re not growing.
ActiveCampaign is a tool I love for implementing proactive marketing and sales automations. Sales and marketing, on its own, can swallow your entire day in no time. Some tasks, like email campaigns, are more time intensive than others - you’ll need to capture customer information, build campaigns, send them and then monitor results.
ActiveCampaign takes care of the laborious work behind many sales and marketing tasks and uses automation to free up your time. Considering a founder’s time is incredibly valuable and my entire role revolves around helping you free up that time to focus on growth, I can’t recommend using an automated sales and marketing tool like this enough.
This may be a surprising addition to the list, but it’s absolutely game-changing once you start using it. Loom is a video recording tool that lets you create video-call-style content without needing to be live. That means you can record activity on the screen AND through your camera to deliver training presentations, walkthroughs, how-to’s and more.
For my clients, the real value of Loom comes from the ability to create engaging Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). An SOP helps you control processes in your business and systemise approaches so that you can grow without having to micromanage constantly. Creating an SOP via Loom means there’ll be no misunderstandings or room for interpretation because you’ll be offering a video walkthrough that demonstrates the process on the screen.
Basically, Loom allows you to demonstrate and educate at the same level as a video meeting, without having to actually commit to a live session. Once it’s made, the same video can be shared again and again (or downloaded and saved alongside your SOPs), making it easy to archive and then reshare to any new hires to help onboard them.
SOPs are crucial to your ability to grow, so why not use Loom to make them more engaging? I’ve created a full guide to writing SOPs, so head over and read that if you’d like to learn more about what content you should include.
Choosing the right operations management tech for your business
As much as these are some my favourite tools to recommend to clients, I always, always, always say that you need to do a full cost and benefit analysis before implementing any new tech (or switching tech) in your business.
As an example, if you were thinking about implementing ClickUp in your business, you first need to get a blank sheet of paper out and write down everything that you need from a project and task management perspective for your business. Here are some examples:
- Must allow individual team members to see a list of all of their tasks in one place
- Must automatically generate recurring tasks as part of recurring processes
- Nice to be able to integrate with Slack and Google Drive
You get the gist. If you are thinking of switching project management systems, think about everything your current platform doesn’t do that is essential or a nice to have and add that to the list.
Once you have your “must haves” and “nice to haves” you can begin to research various project management platforms and their features to see clearly which one(s) will meet your business’ requirements.
Then it comes down to the cost. Which of the platforms that meet your requirements is the cheapest?
Just please remember: The tools and technology that are right for one business, may not be right for another business.
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