Table Of Contents

The Business Owner’s Guide to Websites, Software, Automation, and Project Management

Category: Agency Life

If you’re starting a new business or looking to improve your existing operations, learning about the latest technology, operations systems, and client management systems can feel like drinking from a firehose. The sheer volume of information, opinions, and choices can be overwhelming.

Choosing the right software, workflows, and automations can make or break your business in the early years.

In this blog post, I’m going to outline the tools and workflows I use to run Busi Sites. I want to share lessons I have learned over the years so you can streamline your operations and turn your business into a well-oiled money-making machine. My goal is to help guide you through the maze of business decisions you have to make when working to streamline your software and workflows.

business man at the center of a maze looking frustrated

Pick The Right Software Solutions To Design Robust Workflows and Best Practices

There are two major pillars that work together inside your organization. Those pillars are:

  • Software
  • Workflows (aka best practices)

These two pillars form a synergy with each other. The software you choose will determine the type of workflows you can implement inside your organization. I repeat, the software you pick to run your business will dictate what type of best practices and standardizations you can implement inside your business.

If you choose the wrong software early on, it might limit your ability to implement all the workflows you envision to streamline your operations.

Now let’s dive into the actual software I use to run my daily operations!

Software I Use To Run My Business Operations

There are several key software I have picked to run things like email, cloud storage, cloud apps, my website, and metric tracking.

Those software are:

  • Google Workspace for email, cloud storage, and cloud applications (spreadsheets, docs, etc)
  • WordPress to manage my website and web applications
  • Fathom Analytics to track website performance and log conversion events
  • Twilio for phone call tracking and analytics
  • A Kanban project management system
  • A CRM Solution for storing client contact information and automating marketing communication

Google Workspace Is The Hub For Internal Operations

Google Workspace is a suite of cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools, including Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and more. Google Workspace is designed for businesses and helps teams collaborate with each other. With Google Workspace, teams can easily communicate, share files, and collaborate in real-time. I think Google Workspace breaks down silos and helps teams work smarter and make more informed decisions.

You have to have a solution like Google Workspace to store all your files, handle emails, and connect your team.

Google Workspace apps displayed on a laptop sitting on a desk

The coolest thing about Google Docs or Google Sheets is how multiple users can edit the same document in real-time. You can literally see each person making changes to the docs, adding notes, and responding to comments.

For advanced users, Google Sheets can help do the heavy lifting when it comes to automation. You can automatically send data to a Google Sheet from all over the internet. One example might be to log in a Google Sheet the information put into a “contact us” form. You don’t want your staff doing that busy work when you can automate it.

This type of forward-thinking and building out the right type of workflow processes is what makes successful businesses stand out from their competitors. That’s why I said earlier picking the right software will determine the type of workflows you can run inside your organization.

WordPress Is The Hub For Marketing, Sales, And Online Presence

There are many different content management systems that can run your company’s website. WordPress is the most popular and runs over 40% of all websites on the internet. I like WordPress because it’s free, powerful, flexible, and just about any web developer knows how WordPress works.

Since WordPress is open source, that means you own your website and you don’t have to pay a monthly subscription to use the platform.

You do have to figure out your own hosting, manage software updates, and implement security best practices.

If all that sounds like too much work, Busi Sites builds and hosts WordPress websites for all types of businesses.

I even wrote a blog about managing your own website and all that goes into website management.

cell phone with wordpress image sitting on top of a laptop

Project Management System For Managing Teams And Projects

Kanban boards are my favorite way to manage projects big and small. A Kanban board is a tool that helps you organize and manage tasks. Imagine a big board with columns labeled “To Do,” “In Progress,” and “Done.”

You write tasks on a type of sticky note or card and place them in the “To Do” column. When you start working on a task, you move it to the “In Progress” column. Once you finish, you move it to the “Done” column. This way, you can see what needs to be done, what you’re working on, and what you’ve completed, making it easier to stay organized and focused.

Kanban Board For Project Managment

Depending on the software you pick, you can break major tasks into subtasks and assign work to individual team members inside and outside of your organization.

At Busi Sites, we can help you set up your project management system with an easy-to-use Kanban tool that loads directly on your website.

In my experience, once teams start using a Kanban board to manage their project workload, they can’t live without it. If you have concerns about whether or not your team will use the system, I can say from experience that a few training sessions are all it takes to get your team members to buy into the system.

Customer Relationship Management Systems

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is a tool that helps businesses manage new and existing customers. Think of it as a digital contact list where you keep all the information about your customers in one place. It includes details like names, contact information, and notes about your conversations with them. A CRM system helps you remember important things about your customers, track sales, and stay organized.

A good CRM system will allow you to categorize and tag clients/customers. But John, why should I categorize my customers?

Well, let’s say you own a coffee shop and you sell subscriptions to your coffee beans. You may have three tiers inside your subscription – a good, better, best offering.

It would be a good idea to tag customers with their subscription type. This way, you can market the higher tier offerings to customers on the lower tier plans. You wouldn’t want to send marketing newsletters trying to upsell clients that are already on your highest tier plan, would you?

This type of categorization and logic could apply to:

  • landscaping businesses
  • massage businesses
  • hair stylists
  • HVAC companies
  • Software and technical service providers

The point I want you to take home is that it is a good idea to start categorizing and tagging your customers early on in your business’s life. It’s always harder to go back and do this work rather than setting up a solid workflow in the early days of your business.

However, if you have a mature business and would like some help setting up a CRM, Busi Sites has the skill set and software to get you off and running with a new CRM.

Analytics And Metric Tracking For Your Business

The three primary categories of analytics and metrics you should be tracking are:

  • Website visitors
  • Website conversion events
  • Phone calls into your office

Fathom Analytics For Measuring Website Performance

racking your website’s performance will provide valuable data and actionable insights into user behavior and marketing effectiveness. A tool like Fathom Analytics will help you see how visitors use your website. You can see how many visitors you get for a given period, which web pages received the most views, and how long visitors are staying on your website.

Event tracking is important for understanding how visitors interact with your website. For instance, you might want to track:

  • “Contact Us” form submissions
  • Booked meetings or consultations
  • PDF downloads
  • Product sales
fathom analytics dashboard showing visitors on website for past 30 days

Event tracking shows how often people use your site the way you intend, helping you measure the effectiveness of your content and design in achieving your business goals. At the end of the day, the goal of your website is for people to take action. That action is what we’re tracking here. Think about how you’d want people to use your website. Most businesses want customers to contact them, hire them for a job, or buy their products.

Call Tracking With Twilio

Another important metric to track is how many calls your office gets and what marketing channel those calls are coming from. You may not know this, but you can purchase individual numbers that are forwarded to your office when someone calls it. Twilio helps to log the calls and create metrics for each phone number.

For example, you have your office phone number on your website, your Google Business Profile, Facebook Ads, TikTok Ads, the local newspaper, and an infinite number of other places in the world.

Wouldn’t it be cool to know which marketing channel is performing the best? That’s what call tracking does. It tells you which marketing channel is working best for your business.

If you’re paying big bucks for Facebook Ads, but the ads aren’t converting, you need to make a change. On the other hand, maybe you put your number up on a free business directory and it’s getting loads of calls.

These are the types of metrics I track to help keep costs down and improve my return on investment for my marketing budget.

Workflows and Best Practices Make Or Break Your Business

I get so excited when clients book time with me to talk about automations, workflows, and best practices. Sometimes a simple automation can do wonders for your office morale.

In this section, I’m going to talk about workflows, best practices, and project management tools that will help streamline your operations. At the bottom of this section, I will provide a real-world example of a workflow for onboarding a new client inside a home improvement company.

The examples below may not exactly fit your business, but the key points remain the same. Those are:

  • Standardize your processes
  • Track your process steps
  • Automate redundant work
  • Follow up and tweak your processes when necessary

Project Management Workflows And Triggers

The most successful organizations spend a fair amount of time creating best practices and workflows that detail how each business unit manages and executes their day-to-day work. Once a process starts, triggers are put in place to kick off the next step until the job is done.

A trigger is defined as some sort of action, task, or completed work that then kicks off the next step of the process.

Depending on the size of your organization, there could be a few workflows and triggers or many of them. There is no right or wrong way to start creating process workflows and triggers. As your processes mature, you will identify gaps in your processes that need to be plugged so work or a key communication does not go unnoticed.

The key takeaway here is to start mapping out how net new work comes into your company and what steps need to be done to ensure you are delivering on your promise to the customer.

Once you map out all the process steps and triggers that go into completing the work, you can start to identify automations that can help keep information from slipping through the cracks.

You want to make it easy for your employees to do their job.

You should strive to make it impossible for work activities to be forgotten about or completely missed altogether.

Home Improvement Contractor Example

In this example, I will briefly walk through the client acquisition steps for a home improvement contractor I work with. Each step below corresponds to a task in the project management system.

In this example, I will briefly walk through the client acquisition steps for a home improvement contractor I work with. Each step below corresponds to a task in the project management system.

  • Step 1 - New Lead Contacts You

    A new lead comes into the office via a “contact form” submission on the company website.

  • Step 2 - Logging The Lead

    The lead is logged in the client’s CRM as a lead, gets added to the Kanban board, and assigned to the sales team.

  • Step 3 - Sales Team Makes Contact

    The sales team schedules an at-home consultation with the lead and gathers some basic information about the job they want done. (this is a task on the Kanban board)

  • Step 4 - Lead Moves To Operations Team

    The lead is passed from the sales team to the field operations team who visits the lead’s home.

  • Step 5 - A Quote Is Generated

    The field operations team generates a quote for the lead and the lead agrees to the quote and hires the company to perform the work.

  • Step 6 - A New Paying Customer!

    The lead is changed to a paying customer in the CRM and the work is scheduled.

  • Step 7 - Project Completed

    The customer’s work is completed and the project is marked complete on the Kanban.

As you can see, multiple teams are involved to onboard, quote, schedule, and perform work for the new client. Everyone must follow the workflow to ensure the work gets done on time. If everyone understands their role in the project, they will do their part to make sure the job gets done right. When processes and workflows are incomplete, work slips through the cracks. As a business owner, it’s your job to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Automate Redundant Activities

If you use technology and software to run your business, there should be plenty of opportunities to automate your team’s day-to-day work. Not everything can or should be automated, but I tell clients to automate boring work. Nothing drags down employee morale more than performing boring repetitive work.

Automate Contact Form Submission Data

Every website should have a contact form that allows visitors to get in touch with your sales team. A proper contact form solution should be able to automatically send emails to your team that a new form was submitted. Better yet, the form solution you pick should be able to store the form data in a Google Sheet or your CRM software via a webhook.

A CRM automation could look something like this:

image of a CRM automation that will send a follow up email to a new lead after 7 days and then apply a tag to the lead

Let’s work through a common contact form submission automation.

Let’s say a visitor submits a contact form on your website. What happens next? Does this lead get buried inside your website database never to be seen again? Or have you implemented a system where no lead gets left behind?

What should happen is this lead is:

  • Logged in your CRM and analytics system
  • Added to your Kanban board as an open task or project
  • Assigned to the appropriate team member
  • Pushed through the new lead workflow or life cycle
  • Marked complete when all work is done

I have to say it one more time – if you pick the wrong software you may tie one hand behind your back and limit what you can do with it.

At Busi Sites, we can implement contact form submission tracking automations into your CRM systems or applications like Google Sheets.

I hope you are thinking about workflow processes you can implement inside your organization when a new contact form is submitted!

Automate Email Sequences

Sometimes new leads come into your business and they are considered “cold” leads. They might not be quite ready to buy and are the very start of your sales funnel. If you captured your lead in a CRM, you can kick off an email sequence maybe 24 hours after they contacted you. You could thank them for considering your business and let them know you are available if they have questions.

Five days later, you send a follow-up email detailing your services and include a link to your website testimonials page.

Ten days after that, you could send them a final email with a 10% off coupon for your highest ticket service.

You are trying to stay in the mind of the customer so that when they are ready to buy, they buy from you!

Automate Paid Consultations And Calendar Entries

If your business workflow starts out with a consultation (paid or free, it doesn’t matter),

booking automation is a MAJOR time saver. The booking process is 100% hands-off and automatic. All bookings and payments can be made straight from your website.

Let’s take a look at an example of how automated consultation booking helps my law firm clients cut down on administrative work for the staff.

When a new potential client wants to talk with a lawyer, they can book time with them using an online calendar form. Most lawyers ask for payment for the consult and the payment is automatically handled on the website!

The process looks something like this:

  • Client chooses a time to talk to lawyer
  • Client pays for the consultation on the website
  • Lawyer gets an email about the meeting
  • Lawyer’s calendar gets updated with the meeting details
  • Lawyers availability is updated on the website to avoid double bookings
  • Client’s contact information is added to the CRM

You can imagine how much time you saved your receptionist by having the website take the payment, book the meeting, send the emails, log the entries on the lawyer’s calendar, and update the website form to prevent double booking.

Frequently Asked Questions For New Business Owners

Below are a few FAQs you should review when planning out your new business and picking software to run your operations.

How can Google Workspace help improve my business operations?

Google Workspace is a suite of cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools, including Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Sheets. These tools enable your team to communicate easily, share files, and collaborate in real-time, breaking down silos and enhancing overall efficiency. By using Google Workspace, you can centralize your business operations, streamline workflows, and make more informed decisions.

How can I automate tasks on my business website to save time and improve efficiency?

Automating tasks on your website can significantly save time and enhance efficiency. You can use tools like WordPress to manage your site and integrate plugins for various automations. For example, you can automate contact form submissions to send data directly to a CRM or Google Sheet, schedule automatic email responses, and track website performance with analytics tools like Fathom Analytics. These automations reduce manual work, ensure no leads are missed, and help you focus on growing your business.

Why should I invest in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for my business?

A CRM system helps you manage new and existing customers by keeping all their information in one place. It allows you to track sales, remember important details about your customers, and stay organized. A good CRM system also enables you to categorize and tag clients, automate marketing communications, and improve customer service. Investing in a CRM can help you build stronger relationships with your customers and drive business growth.

How does using a Kanban board improve project management in my business?

A Kanban board is an effective tool for managing projects of all sizes. It helps you organize tasks into columns such as “To Do,” “In Progress,” and “Done,” providing a visual representation of the work process. By using a Kanban board, you can easily track the status of tasks, prioritize work, and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. This method promotes better organization, enhances team collaboration, and increases productivity by making project workflows transparent and manageable.

What are the essential tools I need to start a new business and streamline its operations?

To start a new business and streamline its operations, you need a combination of tools that cover various aspects of your business. Essential tools include:

  • Google Workspace for email, cloud storage, and team collaboration.
  • WordPress for building and managing your business website.
  • Fathom Analytics for tracking website performance and conversions.
  • Twilio for phone call tracking and analytics.
  • A CRM solution for managing client relationships and automating marketing.
  • A Kanban project management system for organizing and tracking tasks. These tools will help you create efficient workflows, automate repetitive tasks, and ensure smooth day-to-day operations, setting a strong foundation for your business’s success.

Wrapping Up

The right combination of software, automation, project management tools, and your website can transform your business operations from chaotic to streamlined.

By implementing robust systems like Google Workspace for internal communication, WordPress for your online presence, and CRM solutions for managing client relationships, you can create an efficient, well-organized workflow that drives success.

Don’t let the overwhelming array of options paralyze you; start with the basics, build on solid foundations, and continuously refine your processes.

Remember, the key to staying ahead of your competition is to embrace technology, automate where possible, and always look for ways to improve. If you need any help setting up these systems, Busi Sites is here to support you every step of the way.