Tech Tools for the Business Owner
May 2019 Issue
I once did a presentation titled "The Adolescent Years" about how practices operate and how business owners tend to run their companies the same throughout their entire life cycles. I challenge every business owner to reflect on the question: Are you still running your practice today the same way you were five, ten, or even 15 years ago?
When I started my company nine years ago, I had a laptop, printer, and notebook, and it worked for the business' needs. Today my company has two locations and 42 employees, including three remote employees. If all I used was that laptop, printer, and notebook, my company and my employees would be in big trouble. That's why we also have a minimum of ten software applications or tools we use daily to help the business run most efficiently.
I will share some of the tools we use that help with time, communication, and marketing.
Our human resources (HR) manager must keep up with a variety of HR issues including constantly changing labor laws, compliance, and payroll. To help provide her time to focus on the most important HR tasks, we use HR Web, a software application that manages employee profiles, time and attendance, performance reviews and goals, attendance requests, etc.
Each employee has individual access to his or her file; can clock in and out; request time off; and view past performance reviews and assigned goals. Account managers can view requested time off and update goal statuses for their team members.
While this was not always a necessity for my practice, as we have grown, we have seen the value in the utilization of a software application to encourage employees to be accountable for their own time worked, time off, and goals, as well as providing our account managers the ability to oversee their teams efficiently and smoothly. With the varying levels of access and authorization, it also allows our management team the ability to oversee the entire company and encourage progress toward our goal of individualized plans of self-development for each employee.
Communication is a fundamental component of any relationship. Because we have two offices and remote employees, keeping communication flowing clearly and openly is something we focus on regularly. To help engage and retain our employees and to keep everyone informed, we use Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Teams. SharePoint is our intranet, which we use as our home page on any internet browser. SharePoint acts as our go-to for useful links, such as our internal newsletter, reference library, Medicare updates, client updates, and employee suggestion box.
Microsoft Teams is our internal instant messenger application. We use Teams for quick conversations, reminders, video conference meetings with off-site employees, file storage, and sometimes lunch orders.
These two software applications allow us to stay connected even when we are miles apart.
Warren Buffet once said, "If you can't read the scoreboard, you don't know the score. If you don't know the score, you can't tell the winners from the losers."
How can you tell how financially successful a project was if you can't determine how much time was spent on it?
Time Doctor is a software application we use to track time spent on each client or project; it tracks the time employees spent working on each client account and breaks it out even further into what tasks were performed. This tool also allows us to track employee time and productivity and cumulative man-hours on a project. We use this information to determine whether a client account is adequately staffed and what the profit or loss is for each account.
Social Media Marketing
Hootsuite is a social media management platform that allows us to manage and schedule posts on multiple social media platforms. Hootsuite allows us to build out and schedule our content in advance, not only saving us time but keeping our messaging consistent.
Facebook provides many different tools to optimize our social strategy. When logged into your business' Facebook page, the Insights tab across the top banner gives you extremely useful information specific to your audience, best days and times to post, which posts are outperforming others, your page reach, tracking of page likes, post engagements, and how all these items are performing over time. This data gives us the insight to plan our social media approach properly, specific to our audience.
There are other companies and products that serve these purposes, but some of the business solutions used at my company will give you ideas for a starting point. If you are in search of tools to help your practice, you should investigate what would work best for you.
Erin Cammarata is president and owner of CBS Medical Billing and Consulting. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.