Using Apps and Software to Maximize the Potential of a Virtual Team
In our previous Blogs, we looked at various ways in which you can optimize your business potential whilst still reducing your overheads by using a number of tried and tested ‘free apps’, specifically designed to support small business owners(1). With continuous growth in technology and available services and products, more entrepreneurs are choosing to outsource certain business operations to companies that offer specialized services such as Live Chat which offer you a 24/7 company representative with the added benefit of Lead Generation.
Drawing resources from a virtual team, who are qualified to deliver on specific skill sets is another way in which entrepreneurs can maximize potential without having to accommodate a permanent staff base. In addition to the apps we have already discussed, there are a number of additional tools and management solutions available free or at a minimum cost to manage tasks, processes, HR functions and a winning team regardless of location across the globe.
The Advantages of Virtual Teams
There are a number of benefits that come with creating a virtual team. The most obvious – operational costs. Employee costs are of the highest operational costs of any business and putting together a virtual team allows you to call on the expertise and skill sets for a specific task or job without the hassle of having to offer long term, permanent or temporary employment contracts. With Virtual Employees, your new workers will be able to perform a task or project that will give you access to an increased number of skills from a greater pool of talent without limiting yourself to a specific geographical area. You know what you can spend on staffing solutions for a specific project and with the huge variety of skills, services and level of competence to choose from, you are bound to find the perfect fit for your project and budget.
Recent studies showed a 13% productivity increase when employees worked remotely and as virtual employees are paid a fee for a specific agreed contract, there are no hidden costs, allowing you as an entrepreneur to maintain expenditure well within your budget. Setting goals and milestones for each task that you would require ensures money is well spent, as you will be getting exactly what you want from the agreement. With a global team, you can operate your business on a 24 hour schedule with shifts in different countries meaning that you can achieve your goals and objectives in the least amount of time. (2)
With Live Chat You Have Your Own 24/7 Receptionist
With the increasing focus on Optimization Rates and turning your website clicks into paying customers, services such as Live Chat offered by Blue Sky Chat improve your conversion optimization rate and offer your clients 24/7 lead generation for a minimal fee. You will have access to trained, professional staff as well as valuable chat history. Stay up to date on customer queries and complaints and you have real-time resources and information for making informed decisions. (1)
For instance, a customer browsing a financial website can ask the chat consultant about repayment terms on the loans offered, and with a single sentence, the consultant can turn that customer from someone browsing the website into a lead by getting their contact details and forwarding them to the sales department. With Live Chat you can enjoy up to 5x more leads at a minimum costs. With no lock-in subscription fees, you pay only for consumers that choose to interact with you and you are able to budget without any surprise costs.
Management Made Easy
There are a number of management tools, apps and resources that make managing a global virtual team easier than one would think considering the logistics. Let’s take a look at a few of those resources and tools and how they can benefit your company.
- Slack is an innovative “team communication” solution that offers ground breaking functionality that allows you to keep team communication, regardless of location of each team member, centralized. Slack is an instant messenger and collaboration system that allows you to create and use a number of threads, channels, messaging and file sharing options in one location. You have the benefit of Team Communication, Direct Messaging and File Sharing which enables you to have all project and team communication limited to one source. (3) With Slack you can:
- Create channels that help you focus by allowing you to separate messages, discussions and notifications by purpose, department or topic.
- Have private channels that give you privacy and are open to users by invitation only.
- You also have the option of direct messaging or conference messaging allowing you to address a direct message to one individual or a number of people at once.
- With Slack you can share all types of files with one or a group of individuals.
- You also have the function of creating notes and ‘to do lists’ for yourself or a group of individuals.
2. Deputy is a staff management solution that allows you to automate your workforce in one central location.(4) With Deputy you are able to:
- Create schedules.
- Manage tasks.
- Monitor time and attendance.
- Mange and process time sheets.
- Manage your payroll.
Deputy is also a great way to collect accurate data on project timing for future costing and proposals.
3. Blossom is a Project Management tool for teams that are spread across different cities and time zones.(5) With Blossom you are able to:
- Monitor project visibility, this enable you to easily grasp the current state of a project.
- Have project integration for instance, slack Integration, which means that the most important activities from your Blossom projects are sent over to Slack. Every time something interesting occurs on your project you can get a message to your Slack.com channel.
- Notifications can be set to keep you up to date on project milestones.
- Have access to analytic data for future project planning.
- Create Checklists that enable your team to ensure all the necessary boxes on the project have been checked.
4. Process Street is a workflow and process management software that provides a simple way to manage recurring checklists and procedures in your business. You can simplify workflows and templates for any team in your business. The platform was built specifically for businesses to be able to build and track their processes and with the use of checklists, it provides for better scaling, assists in minimizing mistakes and saves money. (6) To name only a few functions, with Process Street you are able to:
- Create procedure documents
- Run processes as collaborative workflows
- Capture structured data
- Perform regular workflow scheduling
- Data protection
- Tasks assignment