Here are six technologies to streamline your day-to-day business operations. They can help free up your time for business analysis and strategic thinking.
All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions
Small business owners are often swamped by day-to-day operations, unable to focus on the overall shape and direction of the business.
Tapping into smart – and often less obvious – tech choices available to automate various business operations provides a quick and sustainable way for small business owners to free up more time for business analysis and strategic thinking – both critical to long-term business sustainability and success.
To make smart tech choices though, your business needs the best connectivity it can afford. In today’s world of Internet-connected clients, a stable, secure and fast Internet connection is essential as your business’ main communication channel.
Related: How to manage stress in the workplace
In addition, Internet connectivity is the technical backbone of your businesses, allowing you to automate time-consuming day-to-day business operations ranging from data storage to sales.
1. Communication channels
It’s no longer enough to have only one channel of communication. Determine how your customers prefer to communicate and be ready to engage via that platform. Some examples include VOIP (Internet-based telephone); video engagement, contract management and customer support; and online helpdesks. Also consider internal team communication tools such as Slack and Trello. These applications allow for efficient, direct cross-device communication with team members.
2. Data Storage
There is no need to manage your data on site today; outsource it. There are numerous Cloud storage options, most of which allow for compliance with current data protection and privacy regulatory requirements. Data stored on the Cloud is also accessible via multiple devices, with automatic backup functionality and support.
3. Human Resources
Basic HR options ranging from leave management to payroll processing and payment are freely available, depending on your requirements and budget. In addition, Cloud applications such as Policy Shepherd allow you to manage and distribute policies and procedures to staff via the web, recording access in term of specific compliance requirements.
These are also useful onboarding tools for new staff. Manuals and SOPs are now available digitally with certain of these management services offering additional basic assessment functionality to confirm knowledge transfer.
4. Finance and Accounting
There are a wealth of financial and accounting web applications available to small business owners. At a minimum, you should be using cloud-based services to manage your accounts, invoicing, inventory and cash flow.
Related: How to manage employees and entrench productivity in a business
5. Research – Business Continuity
Use the Internet to analyse how you compare to various similar-sized businesses in your sector. Statistics for benchmarking are but a click away.
6. Sales – Lead Generation and Management
Use the Internet and your CRM to:
- Target the right market – one size does not fit all
- Focus on one message – grabbing a client’s attention today is all about message clarity
- Track, manage and follow up on leads – there is no excuse for not having a CRM these days.
There are numerous solutions for small business owners. Many of these, as with smart phone apps, end up having limited use. Make sure that the tech choice you make addresses specific - if not multiple - business needs.