We live in a technology driven world. Technology has changed the way in which we live, the way in which we work and how businesses are run. As a small or medium sized business owner, it can be a minefield choosing the right technologies to streamline your business.
My advice is to keep it simple. If you overcomplicate your technology, it takes up time, people need to be trained to use it and there is more that can go wrong. Importantly, every piece of information technology that you put in place should be carefully matched to a need. If it doesn’t address a need, it is irrelevant, your employees won’t use it and it will become a white elephant.
Businesses have different technology needs. Most small business owners I work with are primarily looking to:
- Improve Marketing and Communication
- Manage time and performance
- Be more organised
- Streamline administration
- Increase collaboration between employees and teams
What are your needs?
- Do you want to leverage social media and digital marketing channels to target your customers?
- Do you want a better way of managing time and employee productivity?
- What processes are you implementing manually that could be streamlined with technology?
For a small business, there is a wide array of free tools and apps that can be deployed and used quite easily to address these needs.
Marketing is like doing an experiment in a lab. Off course you need the ingredients to experiment with, so you can work out the exact formula that achieves the desired result. There are three main ingredients:
The digital route is the fastest way to test out your three ingredients because you get feedback (results) within hours, telling you that you’ve got it right or that it needs another test.
For online marketing, I suggest the following:
- A simple Google ads guide course to learn the basics and refer to when working with it. Maybe pay for it on Udmey.com
- A simple Facebook guide course to learn the basics and refer to when working with it. Maybe pay for it on Udmey.com
- com to find relevant and free pictures to use (remember that a picture paints a thousand words…)
- com to create graphics. There are lots of templates which are easy to use
- Mailchimp, a free CRM tool to collect email details of potential clients
Time and productivity management
What I use with great success personally and with my clients is Trello.com, which is free to use. I set up a scrum board and use it to monitor progress daily, weekly, monthly and overall.
The scrum board in conjunction with a live daily huddle with all of your team members raises collaboration and helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page all of the time. Here’s an example:
From communication to project management, there is an array of options. GoToMeeting for instance is an online video conferencing software that allows users to schedule meetings and share screens. It’s one of the most popular video tools with millions of users.
For project management, there are tools like Asana which allows users to assign tasks to other members, add followers to projects and monitor deadlines. It also provides a useful to-do list and a calendar for strategic planning.
Then, there is my favourite, Trello. It’s easy to learn and is excellent for monitoring projects and assigning tasks.
Google’s Docs and Sheets services are designed to allow teams to edit files at the same time and save all their changes automatically.
Seek advice from a professional and discuss your needs, from communication and productivity, to sales and marketing. Technology can work for you.