Technology is changing the way business owners work no matter what the size of business or budget.
Software that was once reserved for large corporations is now allowing one-person businesses to run their business entirely from a smartphone.
From being more organized to automating more of your daily tasks, here are 5 ways simple technology can bring your business huge returns with little investment:
1. Increase on-the-fly productivity
Getting more done with less is the name of the game for anyone running their own small business. And being your most efficient self requires paying special attention to your workflow: What’s on your to-do list, how you prioritize, and how you coordinate with others.
Take control of your to-dos with tools like Trello – a workflow app designed to organise tasks, assign jobs to others, attach documents, set due dates and update statuses so you know what is happening with each and every project. Because it’s a cloud-based app, you can keep everything you need to do organised in real time, no matter where you are.
2. Take more control over your billing & cash flow
The right tech tools can play a firm role in tightening up your cash flow (and making your back office a lot less of a headache). You can use a mobile invoicing app like Invoice2go to send invoices immediately when you finish a job.
Too many small business owners let their paperwork pile up at home. Finding ways to be productive on the go saves you loads of time, and in the case of invoices, gets you paid much faster. Allowing your customers to pay electronically by debit or credit card can help you get paid even faster, giving you more cash flow you can count on.
3. Offer faster, more responsive customer service
Not everyone has the capacity to respond to customer calls or emails right when they come in. If you’re finding it hard to get through your backlog, it may be worth mimicking what the big brands do and offering a way for your customers to communicate with you via social media.
By using a social media aggregator like Hootsuite, you can monitor incoming requests in real-time and get back with quick responses. It won’t make sense for all queries, but for some, a Facebook response takes a lot less time than a phone call.
4. Connect and collaborate with your team wherever they are
Whether you work with a team that is scattered about town on calls, or a team of freelancers and contractors, the ability to jump on a group call every so often to ensure everyone is on the same page is invaluable.
Rather than email, the chance to actually speak, discuss and work through questions or issues can save so much time, miscommunication and frustration. Apps like Skype allow you to hold free video or audio conferences to keep everyone on track, and with the ability to share your screen, everyone can see exactly what is being discussed.
5. Travel more efficiently
If you’ve ever been stuck in traffic or blocked by construction trying to get from one job to another, know that you are not alone. Waze is a community-based GPS app that uses real-time reporting of accidents and traffic jams so you can plan the best route to your next destination and maximise your working time.
You may not be ready for – or need – a major technology overhaul, but there’s so many easy to use technology tools out there that can have a big benefit to your business. It’s worth exploring them to see which ones are right for you.
Chris Strode is the founder of Invoice2go.