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Why You Need A CRM – A Simple Explanation

Why You Need A CRM – A Simple Explanation

Often, when someone starts a new business, their biggest clients are their friends, family, and acquaintances. Maintaining a personalised relationship with these customers is usually very easy. The small number of contacts and existing relationships make it easy to maintain great connections. These connections often result in referrals and fantastic reviews as a result of our personalized services.

However, with time, the businesses grow. Customers multiply, and it will most likely get difficult keeping tabs and feedback from every single client. It is for this reason that most growing and successful businesses require a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

What Is A CRM Tool?

A CRM system is an automated system for managing all details and contacts of your customers and potential clients. Data stored is often determined by the business or industry. It can range from merely their contact details to:-

  • their preferences,
  • former communications,
  • emails,
  • previous purchases,
  • sales details,
  • follow-ups, deadlines, and
  • any other notes collected from your customers.

There is no limit when it comes to CRM.

With a CRM tool, you can centralise the data collected by all the members of your team, in one place. Therefore enabling you to maintain meaningful personal connections with an unlimited number of clients. While additionally allowing for the scalability of your business, generation of analytical reports, and collaboration with members of your team.

Why Use A CRM And Not Spreadsheets?

According to a study by HubSpot, about 40% of salespeople still use informal tools such as spreadsheets for CRM. While using a Spreadsheet has its perks such as affordability. As your business grows, spreadsheets will just not cut it, especially if you’re aiming for efficient and productive relationships with all your customers.

For instance, spreadsheets limit your entries for each client’s information. When working with a spreadsheet, you might find the need only to record the basic contact information of the customer. A CRM, on the other hand, allows you to keep track of every detail of the customer’s information across the sales process.

Additionally, as you hire more people in your team, you will require a system that allows all members of your team to access the information in real-time and to collaborate. Research has shown that 65% of successful businesses adopt CRM in the first five years of operations. The rate of adoption has also been proven to get higher as companies employ a larger team.

Furthermore, spreadsheets do not:- 

  • offer automation, 
  • marketing campaign options, or 
  • integrations with other apps such as emails. 

Moreover, they do not generate useful insights and comparative reports on your customers. Therefore, it might be time you considered upgrading to a CRM system.

Bottom Line

Small businesses find a challenge moving from spreadsheets to CRM, due to fears of complexity, integration, or cost. However, you can leverage the many user-friendly and free CRM tools for small businesses to get you started. As you continue to grow your customer base, perhaps you can invest in a premium subscription with more advanced features.

If you’re still not sure whether a CRM is an excellent fit for you, or if you need any help getting started with CRM, get in touch. As a Virtual Business Manager I can set up an automated CRM system that fits your business needs. Helping you grow your operations, manage your current & potential customers, and assist you with maintaining a personal relationship with each one of them, no matter how many they are.

How To Set Up Email Templates

How To Set Up Email Templates

Responding to every single email can be very time-consuming.  Especially if you have to deal with loads of emails every single day.  Copy-pasting responses from other emails could work,  however, this involves searching back and forth through your emails to get your previous responses.  Luckily, email providers have now added the email templates features to provide a simple efficient solution to this problem. Plus the good news is they are absolutely free!


Creating email templates allow you to:-

  • compose & reuse email messages,
  • create automated responses to similar emails, and
  • reduce the amount of time you would otherwise spend constructing every single email afresh.

Besides preparing templates for the body of the email, one can also:-

  • build a bank of other resources such as frequently asked questions (FAQs),
  • incorporate guides and videos into the email as responses to inquiries.


Here’s How To Create Email Templates In Gmail And Outlook.

Using The Email Templates Feature In Gmail 

Enable the Templates Feature

  1. Log into Gmail.
  2. Click the Settings Icon and select Settings.
  3. Select the Advanced tab.
  4. In the Templates section, select Enable.
  5. Scroll to the bottom and click Save Changes.

Create and Insert a Template

  1. Click Compose in Gmail.
  2. Enter the email content in the compose window.
  3. Click on the 3 dots at the bottom-right of the compose window to get More Options.
  4. Select Templates and choose whether to Insert Template, Save draft as template or Delete template. You can either save a draft as a new template or overwrite an existing template.
  5. Once you have inserted the template, customize the content and click Send.

Automate Templates

  1. In the search box at the top of your account, click the down arrow to your right.
  2. Enter your search criteria according to the email addresses, content, size, date, location or attachments.
  3. At the bottom, click Create filter.
  4. Gmail gives you a variety of options. You can select Send Template and choose the saved template you would like to automate from the dropdown box.
  5. Click Create filter.



Using The Email Templates Feature In Outlook

 Create an Email Template in Outlook

  1. Go to the Home tab, click New E-mail to compose a new email. You can also press CTRL+SHIFT+M.
  2. Compose the content for the email content.
  3. In the message window, click on the File tab, and select Save As.
  4. In the Save As dialog box, enter the name of your file, choose Outlook Template as the Save as type and click Save.
  5. Your email template will be saved in a default location, but you are free to change the location before clicking Save.

Insert and Send an Email Template

  1. Go to the Home tab, in the New Items drop-down menu, select More Items then Choose Form.
  2. In the Choose Form dialog box, under the Look In drop-down box, select User Templates in File System.
  3. Select your template in the default templates folder opened or click Browse to select templates saved in a different folder, then click Open.
  4. Customise the email and click send.


How To Make It Even Easier

You can get a virtual business manager/virtual assistant to set up your email templates for different responses to inquiries, FAQs, thank you messages, marketing among other frequent and repetitive emails in your business. This will save you lots of time and efficiently minimize the time you spend in your inbox.

Why Time Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Why Time Is Your Most Valuable Asset

  • Have you ever calculated what an hour of time is worth to you?

  •  As a small business owner can you put a value on every task that you perform on any given day?

It’s surprising to learn that many entrepreneurs and successful business people do not understand what their time is worth. In business, time is the most valuable asset of all. It is fleeting, comes in an instant and goes and you can never get it back. Yet each passing moment, is an opportunity to be productive. An opportunity to help you along the road to ultimate success may be squandered.

Time stands still for no one. We all have the same amount of it in any one day. Yet those who are going to be the most successful fully understand how they must manage their time efficiently. You cannot expect to get the biggest share of your market if you are not working productively. If you are wasting time you will not achieve these goals.

Whether you are a solopreneur or a small business that employs up to a hundred people, your time is very valuable. You cannot afford to be wasting it on administrative tasks or mundane initiatives that do not contribute to your bottom line.


It Is Not Just Your Salary You Need To Consider

Remember that your time is not simply worth what you pay yourself. It is more than your salary or whatever you take out of your business. The value of your time must also include the cost of your overheads and other business costs. You need to recognise the fact that a lot of your time is essentially non-productive. In other words, when you bill your time to a client, are you being realistic?

You may well be in business because of your expertise in a particular subject area or niche. You make your money by selling your knowledge or your ability to other people or organisations. So, you need to be able to maximise your billable time if you are to be totally successful. If you are able to bill clients £100 per hour, then it makes sense to maximise the number of hours that you can charge this rate.

If you find that you are bogged down with:

  • administrative tasks,
  • bookkeeping,
  • online marketing or
  • correspondence

you are certainly not earning £100 per hour for each of those hours. Taking all of those hours into consideration the amount you are earning for your time spent is a whole lot less.

When you look at it like that you can understand the advantages of outsourcing to a virtual assistant, such as Bravapro.  Your Virtual Assistant can do all those administrative tasks, freeing up time for you to focus on revenue opportunities.

You only need to spend a few moments calculating how much a virtual assistant versus how much you could earn each hour, to understand how sensible and cost-effective this approach can be.







How To Save Yourself Time – Use The Covey Matrix

How To Save Yourself Time – Use The Covey Matrix

In last week’s blog, I talked about the importance of managing your time efficiently. One of the most important aspects of this is to evaluate the tasks in your life. Hence, you want to lay them out in a time management matrix. This gives you the critical information you need when planning how to work your way through the list

What Is A Time Management Matrix

The Time Management matrix goes by many names – the Covey Matrix, the Eisenhower Matrix, the Urgent Matrix, and many, many other variants. It’s been discovered and reused by business planners for decades. Presidents have used it. CEOs have used it. So have work-from-home parents and struggling students.

It’s all about the nature of each task. Let’s look at a grid with four cubes in it.

Tasks get put into whichever of these four cubes makes the most sense.

Seems simple, right? But if we look at the tasks we tend to do in life, a lot of them somehow end up being the “urgent but not important” ones. The things that cry the loudest and perhaps are quick, easy, and painless to do. It brings a sense of progress. But in the meantime, urgent and important things are often left undone because they seem complicated or stressful. And the non-urgent things keep getting shunted to the back of the list until suddenly they become urgent.

The aim of this matrix is to let you look logically at the items you have before you. 

The Covey Matrix Explained

Urgent And Important (Do It Now)

Yes, these have to be done. If your car’s tire goes flat, it has to be fixed. You should always leave time in your schedule for these items which can pop up by surprise. That being said, it’s important to track your schedule over time. If certain things keep popping into this area, look for ways to head them off before they become urgent. It can sometimes mean you aren’t spending enough time in the second category, which is:

Not Urgent And Important (Schedule It)

The more you can work steadily on these important things at a reasonable pace, the better life in general goes. That flow of calm, smooth energy tends to maximize progress and quality. Bills should be paid on time. Correspondence should be kept up to date. Not only does it build a better system in general, but it also reduces stress on those involved.

Urgent And Not Important (Delegate)

We all fall for these tasks. Something exciting is happening. Someone stops by with a question or need. There’s a balance here. We don’t want to ignore everything around us – but there needs to be a focus. Find ways to lessen those distractions. Take steps to remind yourself just what is important to spend your time on, and why.

Not Urgent And Not Important (Don’t Do It)

Ah, the time sinks. We all have them. Sometimes they’re useful in small doses as stress relievers. But if you didn’t have the stress in the first place, you wouldn’t need these to take up even more time. The more you can whittle these tasks out of your schedule, the more time you’ll have available for the key things that have to get done. The more your life will open up to new, soul-filling possibilities.

How To Get Started

It’s a good idea to fill out this Covey Matrix regularly at first, so you get a firm handle on where your time is going. A downloadable version is available HERE. Once you get into the rhythm of it, it’ll be second nature to consider where a task falls. Still, it’s a good idea to fill in a grid every week or two, just as a reminder of what you need to focus on and where your path is currently heading.

How To Manage Your Time Effectively

How To Manage Your Time Effectively


We all have things we’d like to do in life, be it related to work or personal leisure. Often, we are in danger of becoming overwhelmed with tasks to complete that can bog us down and cause negative effects. If we are not careful these can also limit our productivity. Hence, it is important to understand how to manage your time in order to prevent overwhelm.

The core of nearly everything we want to do is time. The ability to manage our time effectively determines how we cope with the demands put upon us.


What Is Time Management?

Time management sounds easy. It is the art and science of working with your daily tasks to best fit them into the time available, but in practice it takes a fair amount of focus, attention and discipline.

The benefits of time management are that you gain back not only more time to spend on things you love, but also more energy and enthusiasm. Many tasks carry emotional weight with them. For some tasks, the more you put them off, the more they loom large over you. Their very presence causes stress. By getting them off your list, you mentally free yourself from that burden.

Other tasks bring joy to do them. They don’t even seem like “tasks” at all – they seem more like rewards. By working with the way you tackle tasks, and by evaluating which items even should be on the list in the first place, you build a momentum which carries you through everything you want to do in life, relieving stress and achieving your objectives.


The Key Is To Start

Make time soon to explore time management. Even small steps will add up quickly and get you on the path to success.

Not all time management techniques are suitable for everyone, the right method for you will depend on the type of person you are and your own time management issues.


Next Week Further Tips To Help You Manage Your Time

I hope this gives you a few ideas on how to manage your time effectively. However, in next week’s blog we will look at one of the main recognized techniques for time management – the Covey Matrix. Come back then to find out more!

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