By Leon McKenzie
The challenges in today’s real estate market means that you need to take advantage of every opportunity available in order to build your business. One of the best ways to build your business, create new streams of income and work more efficiently is by using the new technology that is available to every investor. From developing and maintaining a website to building a blog community and purchasing mobile technology that will allow you to effectively work no matter where you are, you will appreciate how you can save time and take your business to the next level with these new devices and techniques.
Adding Technology is Critical to Business Growth
A decade or more ago, it was possible to work without embracing much of today’s technology. People who preferred to work “old school” still had some latitude to do so. While there is nothing saying that you have to incorporate technology into your business, if you haven’t done so you are missing a vital and important way to streamline your work and connect with people who may have property or assets that you can purchase at a discount. You can even leverage technology to find new opportunities and buyers for the items in your portfolio.
Options Are Plenty
For the probate real estate investor, the newest technologies provide plenty of ways for you to connect with more people and work in the most efficient way possible. Each and every day it seems that there is some new app, website, blog or hardware that will make working easier. With so many options available it can be hard to choose. Chris Strammiello of Fox Business.com said, “Technology is an essential ingredient for fueling innovation and offers an advantage to transforming your business.”
Using technology wisely – not in a way that overwhelms you or your daily processes – is the key to integrating it into your probate real estate business. There are many options that can help you to promote what you do and make daily operations much easier. One of these options includes cloud computing. Strammiello said, “The cloud provides a way for SMBs to increase business agility and introduce capabilities that would have been cost- or time-prohibitive to deploy on traditional technology.”
Cloud Computing Can Give You Access Anywhere
What is cloud computing? According to Eric Griffith at PC Magazine, “In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. The cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet.”
When you work in the real estate industry, you are constantly on the move, visiting properties, meeting with Executors, evaluating properties with your contractor and starting or finishing projects. What this means is that you may not have a whole lot of time in the office or access to paperwork that you need when you are on the road. Storing your documents and records on the cloud means that you can have access to it wherever you are. Practically speaking, with the cloud you will simply store your records on the Internet rather than on your local hard drive, or in some cases, you may choose to do both. Many Internet service providers are now offering a basic amount of cloud storage for free, but you may need more if you choose to put all of your documents online. Examples of cloud storage include Google Documents, a widely used free document sharing platform.
When you do need business sized cloud storage it can come with a fee. Griffith said, “There is an entirely different ‘cloud’ when it comes to business. Some businesses choose to implement Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), where the business subscribes to an application it accesses over the Internet. (Think Salesforce.com.) There’s also Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), where a business can create its own custom applications for use by all in the company. And don’t forget the mighty Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), where players like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Rackspace provide a backbone that can be ‘rented out’ by other companies.” While your business may never get to the size where they need these large commercial options, it is good to know that they are available for you.
Consider Mobile Technology
Real estate entrepreneurs need to be out of the office frequently and that means that spending a full day in the office is a rare occurrence. That is one of the best reasons to consider mobile technology as a replacement for your office technology. Strammiello said, “Mobility today means more devices (smartphones, tablets and laptops), more locations (working in an office, home, coffee shop, and more), and more apps that improve productivity, collaboration, and your overall business. And mobility is paying off with 70 percent of firms saying it’s improving customer service, according to the most recent Sage U.S. SMB Survey on Mobile Devices.” Having access to these devices means that you can work through problems, issues and opportunities no matter where you are. With the need for real estate investors to be available 24/7 to help Executors with their questions and negotiate deals, having mobile technology means that you won’t miss important phone calls or ways to profit because you aren’t in your office.
Given the proliferation of cell phones, it would be unusual for a real estate profession to not have access to one. However, if you aren’t using it for your business, that can put you at a disadvantage. While you can be contacted at any time, day or night, you also have the option to turn your phone off and only take calls when you want. This is one of the nicest features of mobile technology.
In addition to having access to a smartphone, consider a mobile tablet or “phablet” – a phone/tablet combination. These powerful devices, combined with cloud technology can allow you to do everything from talk to a family member to create a contract and email it to an Executor no matter where you are. You will love the flexibility that you can achieve with mobile technology.
Accounting Software – Necessary Technology
Even the way that real estate entrepreneurs keep their books has changed. The reality is that if you aren’t making a profit, then your business may need some work. There is no way to know that if you don’t have your finger on the pulse of the financial side of your business. The writers at the Small Business Administration say that having access to accounting software is critical, “This is important, even if you have your own accountant or bookkeeper. Accounting software allows you to see your profits and losses at a glance. It can also help you design and maintain a budget for your business.”
Designing and maintaining a budget for your probate real estate business is what will keep you in business for the long term. Using accounting software that has the ability to be stored on the cloud in a secured fashion will help you to make decisions about how much to spend on a property, whether to invest in a remodeling project or even help you keep track as to who has paid their rent and how much of a rehab budget you have left. Being able to access this information from outside of your office can save you time and frustration.
Marketing Technology Can Help You to Score More Leads
Marketing is another area of the real estate business that has been revolutionized by technology. The experts at Entrepreneur said, “By adding a simple plug-in app, small businesses can turn their basic Gmail service into something even more powerful. For instance, using Streak turns Gmail into a customer-relationship management tool, allowing businesses to track customers, active leads, deals and sales pipelines from the inbox. Other sales plug-ins include Rapportive, which provides detailed profiles on each contact, email-tracker Yesware and scheduling and reminder tool Boomerang.”
A plug-in is nothing more than a short program that is very easy to add to your current platform. A few clicks and it is ready to use. While you may not need all of these marketing plug-ins, some of them can be very helpful when you are tracking the contacts that you have made and are currently making in your probate business.
Be Website Savvy
For the most part, real estate entrepreneurs are hesitant to start a website, wondering what it will do for their business. Though that is a legitimate concern, having a website as a probate real estate professional can be the one thing that will help people who are just hearing about your service take the time to call you. Michel Thierault of Forbes said, “A website is a necessity for entrepreneurs, small businesses, home-based businesses, and anybody selling products or services. Regardless of your other marketing methods, enabling potential customers to either find you through a Google search or learn more about you after they’ve seen your other marketing material is key to creating and developing new customers. If you’re selling online services or products, having a website is obvious. But even if you don’t sell anything directly online, the website can serve as an extension of your business card, with information about you, your business, and services offered. Most important, your website should detail your background, experience, and other credentials to give you credibility and give potential customers more confidence when deciding whether or not to deal with you.”
This “extension of your business card,” as Theirault puts it, is critical for probate real estate entrepreneurs. Networking and having people understand that you run a serious, credible business means that you will get more of the market share than those business owners who simply don’t take the time to build a website. Executors and other potential clients want to be able to understand who you are and what you offer. In today’s economy, the best way for them to do that is by looking at your website. Your website doesn’t have to be elaborate, but making sure that it is designed professionally and that the content on the site reflects who you are, your business goals and provides current contact information can be just the reference you need in order to land a big deal.
In the End
Adding technology to your probate real estate business will open doors of efficiency, communication and opportunity to you and provide you with the tools that you need to take your business to the next level.
Contact the experts at US Probate Leads today to hear more about the way that we can help you to build your business. We offer a wide range of tools, including communications management software, e-books, webinars, seminars and mentoring programs to help you meet your real estate investment goals. Talk to us today about our professional lead service and how we can help you to locate properties and assets that can be purchased for a significant discount. Call now! http://www.usprobateleads.com