Ways To Use Technology Better In Your Small Business
There’s working and then there’s w-o-r-k-i-n-g. Learning the ins and outs of being more effective when you work is the key that successful entrepreneurs seem to have mastered while you’re struggling to pay the bills and find a clerk for the front of your store. Effective entrepreneurs know when to bring in additional resources to grow their businesses and when technology can also impart additional benefits.
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K.I.S.S. A great mantra for any aspect of your life, the K.I.S.S. (keep it simple silly) method is a solid ideal to live by. We are fortunate to live in a time where devices and technologies can be easily connected. Bluetooth linkages allow remote control over everything from home lighting and thermostats to banking and financial management with just the swipe of a screen. Use these tools to your advantage especially when they will save you time, money and increase productivity. Be aware that the Internet of Things also has its drawbacks, so guard your online usage for items like banking and client transactions cautiously and protected by substantial defensive shields. Make sure that your computer systems are guarded by firewalls and that your handheld devices and laptops are encrypted. That way if the device is lost or stolen, you won’t risk important company or client data from falling into the wrong hands.
Go Mobile. There are thousands of clever apps and integrated programs to help connect your mobile device to your main office. Mobile is also THE way to keep members of your small, but growing, enterprise connected. Streamlining technology will reduce duplication and protect from data loss. Start by linking your calendar app to your Office 365. Now meetings scheduled outside the office instantly link to one central calendar. Track business receipts with apps like Wave, a free, easy-to-use accounting software platform that can quickly scan your purchases and file them for monthly travel and expense reports. Wave is perfect for small business owners who have less than nine employees. The software is available online and the apps are found in the Apple Store. Another expensing app is Expensify. This little app will link to your credit or debit cards and track spending directly to an expense report. Expensify automatically extrapolates the relevant data needed so you can just review and send. The app integrates with Quickbooks, Sage and NetZero to name a few and costs $5 per month for team users and $9 per month for active corporate users. A nice cost-saving feature allows the app to be scalable both to other integrations and ERP systems as well as to the number of employees using the app. If an employee doesn’t use Expensify in a given month, there’s no fee charged for that individual.
Set goals (and revisit them often). Many small business owners are so busy working in their businesses that they often don’t take the time to strategically plan for the future. Goal setting is an important process and isn’t something that should be pushed to the back burner. How can you reach your goals if you never plan for them? You can’t. The first step is to write down what you would like to accomplish. A majority of these types of statements will be qualitative, ‘I’d like to have more personal time’ rather than quantitative, ‘I’d like to have five additional hours of personal time a week by next October.’ Once you can put quantitative qualities around your goals, the next step is to rough out a plan for achieving the goal. How can I free up five hours a week in my current business operations? Do I need to hire a person to assume some of my tasks or am I working too inefficiently and need to restructure my work day? Narrowing down both the cause and the solution will help to solidify the path toward achieving the goal. Once you’ve designed a set of achievable goals, build a specific time horizon for accomplishing the task. At the end of the campaign or goal effort, be sure to have measurable outcomes so that you can review what you did and make a determination on the success or failure of the effort. Remember, that failures are great learning opportunities too! It’s ok if every task isn’t met with 100% success. Set another goal and try again with a new strategy.
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