A lot of people seem to have this idea that simply adding a computer or two or switching to a cloud-based storage service instead of using hardware storage is the best idea. However, they would be wrong. Very wrong.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to run a business without the internet? You’d probably have to write a lot of letters by hand and send them through snail mail, meaning that business operations and receiving or sending messages would be very tiresome and expensive.
However, this is how businesses were operated way before the internet was conceived. You see, businesses have always existed. Even back when we didn’t have electricity, people still made a living by buying and selling wares, promoting their brand and using whatever methods they could to get an upper hand.
This article won’t be going into the details of how medieval tradespeople made a living, but it will illustrate a very important point: your business is only what you make of it.
Don’t assume technology can save you
Technology is what horses were to traders back in the old times. It was a way to speed things up, carry more workloads and ultimately improve your business. However, if you didn’t know where to trade, what wares are worth money and how to protect your horse, then it’s pretty much useless. The same thing counts for your business and its technology. If you can’t safeguard your technology from viruses and hackers or if you don’t actually know how to use it in order to grow your business, then how do you expect to prosper? You simply can’t.
Technology can help if you know how to use it
However, if you know how to use technology because you’ve hired IT managed services or if you have a dedicated team of professionals on your workforce, then you can utilise it correctly and make the most of it. It’s important to have some kind of help when it comes to technology because chances are you don’t have the necessary knowledge or expertise to make it work for you. This isn’t a snide jab at you or your staff either, but unless you know the ins and outs of a particular piece of technology or software, then you’re better off leaving it to professionals that can teach you how to use it.
Ignorance isn’t bliss
Far too many business owners try to claim they understand how to use technology. However, this ignorance is usually what causes them to waste a lot of money on useless technology or spend valuable time and money on things that won’t actually improve their business. This is the perfect example of someone that does more harm than good to a company, and it’s vital that you understand what you’re dealing with. If you have someone that tries to do everything themselves, produces inconsistent results and doesn’t know how to handle the technology you use in your business, then you may want to reconsider their status or position.
Time is money, and you need to save as much of both when it comes to running a successful business. Therefore, it’s time to wise up and save yourself some valuable hours by utilising what’s available to you on the market. Technology is constantly evolving and changing to improve the processes within a company, so start using it!
There’s no time like the present to put your thinking hat on, go through your business with a fine toothed comb, and start implementing changes and introducing new software and tech that will help your small company generate more hours and minutes for your team to take advantage of. Who knows what more you’ll be able to achieve in your business with extra time; you will soon, so read on.
Goodbye Note Books
However old school, you like to keep things; it’s time to give your notepad and pens their redundancy. Whether you’re using a tablet, laptop, or the latest iPhone, you’re able to capture all the information that you need to note down immediately, on any device. Having the info there digitally from the get go can save valuable time in translating what the information means for your business and on the process of yourself, or a member of your team, writing it up so everyone can understand. Details can be sent back to your office in real-time and can go up and be automatically saved into your company’s data so that they can be recorded and utilised straight away.
The faster that instruction and knowledge are used, the quicker your business will function. There are a variety of tablets that can be taken into the meeting room, to a conference, or a networking event, and if typing isn’t your thing; use a stylus. The tech is there for you to write down information, as you would on a notepad or paper with a traditional pen, index what you’ve written and transfer it to where it needs to be. Check out some of the best apps for taking notes on your tablet here and start downloading a few to see what will suit your business the best.
If you’re still not being swayed and cannot bear to give up your stationery; there’s still the right tech out there for you. There are apps available that will import your handwritten notes into digital form, simply by photographing them. However, you might need to check for the odd typo, but it will still save you the time of typing up your notes yourself, so they’re worth checking out.
Forget The Flights
Meetings and informal discussion are the keys to the growth and success of a small business. Therefore speaking regularly with the right people is a must, and will lead to new ideas and opportunities for your company. However, if the right person’s business is across the country, or overseas; it can be an expensive meeting of minds to pay out for. Cut the need for fuel, rail passes, and plane tickets, and utilise video conferencing.
Work out the time differences and choose a suitable hour to communicate with who you need to. Download the right technology, whether it’s Skype, Adobe Connect, or any of the other communication software that’s available on the market, and utilise it straight away. Using technology designed for business communication will save you hours of travel and the money you’d otherwise spend on tickets, which are vital when you’re running a small business.
Discover what your competitors and peers are using the most when it comes to video conference software and invest in the most popular version; this will ensure that you’re able to successfully communicate with other business’ easily. Networking events and talks can be a massive expense, that will impact any small business, so utilising the tech to watch a live stream or a pre-recording of something that will help your company to develop, is a smart choice.
Advance Your Admin
There will always be processes within your company that needs a human touch; customer service being one of them for example. However, you need to filter out what activities can be done by technology and software instead. Hiring a person to complete certain aspects of your company’s admin is an expensive decision, especially when there is tech already available to help.
Time-consuming administrative and accounting duties, like invoice validation and stock control, can be completed by a computer, rather than a human having to sift through mountains of date. Implementing the correct software in the various areas of your business will save you the time, hassle, and money it would take for yourself, or a team member, to complete each task.
Email management is another time-consuming area of the smooth running of business; however, the influx of information and lines of business communication can not be ignored and will continue to be part of running your company. Streamlining email management is being introduced by various email platforms, including Gmail, and implements artificial intelligence (A.I.) to scan each of your incoming emails.
Once scanned, you will be given an array of response options to click, based on keywords and text that the scanner has found within your message; so, you can email back a reply at the click of a button. Taking advantage of email technology will save you hours in typing out responses when you could be using it to push your business forward in other areas instead.
As previously mentioned; there’s nothing quite like human contact when it comes to customer service, as people enjoy human interaction when they are seeking help and advice. However, it’s predicted that by as early as 2018 (yes, next year!), there will be digital assistants that will have the ability to mimic a human interaction and conversation, both in how they listen and respond. By 2020, it’s thought that 85% of all customer service interactions will be powered by A.I bots; so it’s tech that’s worth checking out and keeping an eye on, especially if it’s going to save you time and cash.
Phones: Yeah, They’re Smart Now
Here’s nothing more frustrating than a client missing an important meeting; except for when you miss something equally as vital to your business. Don’t worry; start using your smartphone to help remind you of scheduling dates, and times. Better yet; use the phones of your clients and those you need to liaise with too.
The tech is there so that whoever you’re due to meet will get an automated SMS sent to them before your catch-up is due. When other people are just as busy as you are, they can often forget the note that they scribbled down in their diary last month to meet you for a coffee and to go over some things that are important to your business. Therefore, sending them a timely reminder could be the difference between your company progressing with their help, and you being stood up in Starbucks.
Aside from sending you and others friendly appointment reminders; your smartphone can now hold as much software and technology as a tablet, and even some laptops can. The storage capacity on your phone makes it a portable office right in the palm of your hand; so start utilising it to its maximum capabilities for added time and money efficiency in your business!
Getting your brand and name out there and marketing your business when you’re not one of the big guys is a challenge, but you’re in business because you thrive on a challenge, so take action. Regular social media updates are an effective way to reach your target consumer audience; however, it’s often a time-consuming activity, especially when you’re flying solo or part of a small team. Utilising a social media management system is the perfect option for you, and will save you valuable time; you can schedule your posts and don’t have to keep moving between various sites.
As a business person; you’re already aware of how important the use of your time is. If your run a company of any size, you cannot afford to waste your hours and minutes doing something that could be completed by technology, or worse, paying someone to do those tasks for you.
Now is when you need to go through your business and see where and how to incorporate the latest time-saving tech into your company so that you can develop and grow at a faster rate and utilise your free moments wisely. Now you’ve read this, be proactive and download what you need for a bright business future!
I’ll tell you something I’ve found in business, and that is that technology matters. Period. No matter what sort of business you run you are going to need to rely on technology in some way. That’s why it’s so important to look at the areas you can use technology in that will help the company.
It’s going to make your life a lot easier in the long run. Let’s be honest, we don’t go a day without using some kind of tech, do we? Whether it’s at home watching TV, messaging a friend on WhatsApp, or updating our statuses on Facebook. In fact, it’s estimated that we spend around seven hours a day using technology. If you run a tech business this number will be significantly higher. The point is, technology matters. And here are a few things that illustrate why we need it so much in business.
Security Just Got Easier
Think about it, when you run a business this is your livelihood. If the business folds or makes losses it will greatly affect your personal and financial situation. For this reason, it’s really important to look after your business tech and machinery. And the way to achieve that is to make sure you use technology. Virtual security helps you to make everything a lot safer. Sure, you have the risk of cyber-attacks, which you wouldn’t have without technology. But, you have much more effective means of securing the business using technology. There is malware, password protection, the Cloud, and many other forms of virtual cyber security.
You know what else is great about using technology in business? It saves you a lot of space. Think about how much storage space you’d need for equipment and files of information. Well, these days you don’t need to worry about that because it can all be done virtually. There are so many programs you can use these days to store information and data safely. This is amazing because it can all be held in a virtual space, and you can recall it whenever you need it. But you don’t have to keep paper copies of anything if you don’t want to. The benefit of this is that it saves space, and cuts down on the cost of ink and paper.
And this brings me to one of the best ways technology has benefitted business. And that is through the use of instant offices. If you’ve never encountered these before then prepare to have your mind blown! A virtual office is an office that is not owned by a business. It is simply used when needed, and equipped to fulfil your every corporate need. Virtual offices allow you to have an upmarket business address and fully furnished offices, minus the cost. These look set to be more widely used in the future. So it’s important to look into trying to benefit from virtual offices as much as you can.
You can see from these wicked points that technology is hugely important. There are so many things you will need to use to help your business grow. But, none of them are going to be more important than technology.