Save Time In Your Small Business By Using These 3 Communication Tools Today

Isabella on the phone


Do meetings eat hungrily into your time?

Once you’ve taken into account travelling time and got through the small talk and niceties, a conversation that would only last 10 minutes can easily absorb an hour or more.

It can be really frustrating and it’s bad news if you’re already feeling the time pressure and want to free up more time to work ON your business.

If that’s you, then check out these three virtual meeting alternatives. In addition to helping you save time, you could also save money.

And because these tools only require an internet connection, you could find yourself talking with clients, suppliers and associates anywhere in the world.


1. Skype (It is free!).


Skype is VoIP phone software that lets you make voice or video calls free of charge to other Skype account holders.

There are over 405 million users worldwide so the chances your customer has a business or personal account is pretty high.

The quality is usually pretty good (sometimes audio can be flakey) but the ability to connect with a webcam is really useful if you want to see body language and make the interaction more personal.

Skype also has an inbuilt instant messaging service. This offers an alternative way to get in touch with a contact, and because messages are stored you can easily refer back. I like to use this function to send a short follow-up note after a call and I also find it very handy if you want to send a web link or spell out a complex term whilst in conversation.

You can also send and receive documents via Skype during your call. This avoids having to open and use email during a meeting and because this interaction gets stored in your contact history, it’s easy to find it again at a later date.


2. GoToMeeting (It costs!).


If you’d need something with more functionality, try GoToMeeting.

With GoToMeeting you can:

  • Schedule meetings in the future
  • Send an invite an easy to join meeting link
  • Share your screen to present work or do a demo
  • Record meetings to refer back to later
  • Connect via your iPad or iphone with the GoToMeeting app
  • Meet with up to 15 people at the same time

Your first 30 days are free and then you have to pay a subscription.

It has never crashed on me yet so it gives my (and your) business a more professional edge. In addition, the sound and visual quality is perhaps more consistent which could be a key factor if you absolutely can’t afford to not be able to hear the person you are speaking with!

The screen sharing works really well if you are troubleshooting, need to discuss a document together or if you have a sales pitch or a training session you want to present. And if you record it, you can email the recording to your customer for them to review at any time in the future.


3. Google + Hangouts.


I’m a big fan of business mastermind groups. Spending time with other smart business owners discussing pressing issues facing your business can help you find solutions, gain new ideas and learn new knowledge.

Google + Hangouts are a new feature of Google + which enable you to meet remotely.

To attend a hangout you simply need a Google+ account, get invited and you’re in. The Micro Business Hub runs monthly hangouts for business owners. Each month has a different theme and I’ve always found them entertaining and thought provoking.

To find me on Google + just click here.


Could this the end of face-to-face meetings?


It can be tempting to rely on virtual meeting methods to get all your business done. After all meeting online is far cheaper in terms of money and time.

And in lots of cases this approach works perfectly.

However, there will be times when meeting face-to-face is necessary and as a smart business owner you need to know the difference.

For example you may anticipate a difficult conversation. Perhaps a relationship with a key supplier or a customer has become strained. Making the effort to see people in person says a lot about the value you place on that relationship and can help steady the waters.

Perhaps you’re looking to secure an appointment with a prospective customer – the one that could transform the fortunes of your business. Again in this instance a face-to-face meeting is likely to generate better results.

As with everything there is a balance to be found.

Over to you:

What is your approach to meetings? What tips could you share that maximise the impact of the interactions you have with key people whilst saving time?

Let me know in the comments below.

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