Whatever business you may run – whether it’s a kebab shop or a removal company – there’s always room to incorporate digital technology. Most of us by now have dragged ourselves into the 21st century in order to survive. But owning a computer isn’t enough. The best businesses use their PC to its full potential to save time, energy and money. Fall behind and you risk being less efficient and therefore less appealing than other businesses. It’s survival of the nerdiest. Now it’s your time to become top dog. Embrace these technological advancements and become an empire.
Few people pick up a phonebook these days. The search has all moved online. Creating a website and putting yourself on major search engines is the way that clients will discover you. Your website can contain all your contact details, information about your services, pictures, references and more.
Of course a website isn’t enough. Social media is fast becoming a new source of business. Create yourself a facebook page for your business where you can advertise deals and show off projects that you are working on. Run ads so that other Facebook users may learn of your services. For networking, create a LinkedIn account. This site specialises in connecting individuals from different professions together. If you’re a plumber – this might be as useful tool for connecting yourself with fellow handymen such as electricians and builders who may in turn be able to recommend your services. A Twitter account and Instagram account can also give you extra online presence.
Once these bases have been laid out, you can start using other more creative platforms. Get your friends, family and any happy past clients to shout positive things about your business on review sites. Use Youtube to create a promotional video or to give advice to other budding business owners. Create a business blog and give regular updates on your achievements and things you’ve learnt. Invest in SEO companies to boost your rankings on major search engines such as Google. All this will create a huge online presence that will get you more recognition.
New software is always being released to speed up commonly mundane tasks experienced by every business owner. Dreading having to do your tax return. Don’t slave over a spreadsheet – download accountancy software that can calculate all your expenses and tax for you automatically.
Similarly there are organisation programmes that can replace the need to carry around a pen and diary. Simply have it all on your phone in the form of an app. HR programmes meanwhile can make building an editing rotas quicker and easier, as well as calculating your workers’ hours instantly.
There may also be many specific tools available to your area of business. Many a builder has been helped out by the spirit level app. Language translation programmes can help those who regularly trip abroad. To see which programmes may be able to further benefit you, find an IT support company that might be able to give you advice.
Filing cabinets are expensive purchases. They’re also taking up valuable storage space in your office. All those hundreds of files could be condensed down and stored in a hard drive. Sure, you may wish to keep physical copies of certain important documents. However, most of it doesn’t need to be printed off, or at the very least stored away.
If you currently ask for invoices via post, why not ask for them via email instead. In fact, make all your business mail come to your inbox instead of through a letterbox. That way you won’t have to use storage space for receipts and application forms.
New advancements have even taken storage one step further, no longer requiring you to use up disc space on your computer. Many businesses are turning to Cloud technology. Instead of being stored on your computer, your files can now be stored in a remote server. This may sounds scary, but in fact it’s more secure than having files on your computer. Servers are much harder to hack, plus if someone steals your computer, they won’t be able to access your information as it won’t be on your computer, it’ll be on the Cloud.
Needless to say, faxing and scanning can also be minimised by simply sending your chosen document as an attachment or Dropbox link.
Meeting clients that are based far away can take up valuable time in your day that could be done completing another business task. Not only does travelling someone cost time, but it also costs money – especially if you’re meeting someone for lunch. Certainly, some transactions should be done in person, but digital technology has made the less important ones no longer a chore.
Emails are good for simple relaying of information, but don’t always receive a quick answer as well as being less personal. Phone calls can give you a better idea of the person you’re dealing with, but the lack of visuals means that you can’t try and discuss designs or read a person’s facial expressions, making it easier to lie. The solution – and one that many companies worldwide are using – is video-messaging.
Programmes such as Skype can allow you to talk from the comfort of your office, whilst also being able to provide visuals such as gestures, facial expressions and diagrams. Job interviews can be carried out like this with candidates that live far away. You can give presentations to people this way too. It’s even possible to attend a conference from your office chair. Save your petrol money and give it a go.