By Amy M. Curran, Business Operations Lead
With this blog, we’re continuing our theme of helping to make this coming year your best yet.
Today’s message is, “Work Smarter, Not Harder.”
You are not alone if you have become overwhelmed by the myriad challenges of running a jewelry, gemstone or diamond business during these “interesting” times. How to get everything done, achieve maximum efficiency, get optimal results, all without having cracked the code of the time/space continuum (that is, without getting more than 24 hours in your day or 7 days in your week?!).
One important answer: use automation and technology to increase your own bandwidth. And we’re not even talking about large, company-wide tech. You can do some of this now, after you finish reading this, to simply make your days easier to contend with.
These easy-to-implement tech tricks will free you up to focus on what truly requires your personal attention: the high-level operation of your company and the changes needed to grow. Let the tools work to bring the answers and results to you, so you don’t have to chase them.
What tools do this best? Let’s start with simple yet underrated moves and continue to more specialized tools from there:
Looking for instant in-the-news updates on your dream client? Or insights into your target demographic’s behavior? Set a Google Alert. Type into the search bar the keywords – for example, “Kendra Scott” or “Signet,” or “Generation Alpha’s First Jewelry purchase” – and set the Google Alert up.
Every time a new bit of info or research hits the net, it will arrive in your Inbox for your immediate notice.
Sure, you’ll receive some alerts that are not relevant, but deleting something you don’t want is 20 times faster than spending time searching tons of websites for what you seek.
Don’t know how to do something? Maybe you want to learn how to set up reminders in your Gmail, or share your appointments with others on your team. Search Google, watch a 2-minute video, and you’ve got a virtually instant answer to go right in and set it up.
Top tip: many videos let you watch on higher speeds, for an extra time-saver!
Explore the versatility of software like Monday.com, Xero, HubSpot, or Proposify, to take care of the repetitive jobs that contain many also-repetitive components to the tasks. These can include:
o following up on open purchase orders
o tracking manufacturing or repair jobs through the shop or your supplier
o sending out a sequence of emails to contacts you met at the last trade show, golf outing, or your best customer’s referred neighbor
o sending out birthday, anniversary and other calendar events and offers to your clients
If you haven’t already learned how to set up automations in your POS or CRM system, now’s the time. Find it dreadfully boring? All the more reason to conquer the system: assign a tech-friendly person on your team to learn how and manage it, or use a specialist consultant to get it set up powerfully and implement it for you. Move all the key information in, and let it rip!
STAND ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS
Hold a meeting with the agency or person handling your digital (website, etc.). What new applications do they recommend to move your business forward with less interaction by you? Are there templates for email blasts, thank-you notes, requests for a review, etc., that you haven’t set up? Can chatbots be added to help answer your customer questions so your own staff can be freed up to do more important work? Now is the time to find out, opt in and move the ball into the endzone!
Join Groups on social media platforms. There are currently about 39,000 Groups on LinkedIn, and dozens on Facebook.
Among them, there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, that are immediately relevant to our Diamonds/Gemstones/Jewelry industry. Find the best for you by using keywords to search.
Among the thousands of folks out there in our industry, most of them are your colleagues, not your competition. Some of them have already addressed and overcome a challenge you may have now. They can be an incredibly valuable collective Brain Trust.
Throw the question or idea out to them and get great insight, advice, and fresh new suggestions. You also may find new collaborations that can be mutually beneficial – perhaps even new business opportunities!
AUTOMATE DATA COLLECTION
Set up a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) monitoring and reporting system that will automatically take the data you are able to collect and add it to a template so you get an easily digestible report, rather than having to comb through the bits and pieces yourself.
This can be done through one of many different software integrations out there. Google- search this, or ask your website or Digital person to advise you.
(Not collecting KPIs yet? You’ve got a much bigger problem that you need to fix immediately! How can you fix what isn’t working, if you don’t know what is and is not achieving results?)
What you focus on grows. Remove what doesn’t need your attention from your field of vision
Marie Kondo would tell you to clean out your closets, and donate any clothes you haven’t worn in two seasons. Do the same for your email Inbox. A newsletter you signed up for, and you just never seem to read it? Don’t just delete it – it’s like dust in an old house, it will come back again. Search for the sender, unsubscribe, then select all and delete. You will eliminate it for good – and your Inbox will thank you.
There are stacks and stacks of tech and automation that can help you be more efficient and less wasteful of your limited time.
Set even 15 minutes a day to implement at least one tip, and you will see a big improvement in the first month. Or schedule yourself a half day a month to attend to these, have them all set up to work FOR you, and free yourself to grow your business with innovative thinking and reinvigorated energy!