If you’re a small business owner, then it’s likely that increasing productivity and efficiency are a constant priority.
As the Australian small and medium businesses support network, we’re always looking for ways to help small businesses, work smarter, increase productivity and become more efficient.
Harnessing new technologies, processes and tools to manage your small business more efficiently creates a platform to realise business success.
Being ‘always on’
The key to managing a business efficiently is having the tools, a reliable network connection and an ‘always on’ approach. Whether you are responding immediately to customer enquiries, to building your reputation as a strong supplier by solving customer issues outside of usual operating hours; an ‘always on’ approach is crucial to success.
Being connected also provides opportunities for you to use your time more effectively by completing smaller tasks on the go – such as creating and sending an invoice from your mobile while waiting for your morning coffee, travelling between meetings or during short intervals of downtime.
To help you function in this way, you need a reliable support network of suppliers who can be responsive and supply a quality service around the clock. Small business owners are time poor and often require help outside of traditional working hours to manage their business, which is where services like Optus’ 24/7 Live Chat are so valuable. The service enables our small business customers to get help anytime of the day and ask questions about products and services when it suits them, not just between 9 and 5.
Embracing new tools and technology
The rapid rise and evolution of mobile apps and software solutions has meant that technology is now more easily accessible to you, helping to optimise productivity and provide you with cost effective ways of working.
Cloud-based software solutions in particular are growing in popularity due to their flexibility to be accessed in real time – something that is a prominent feature in Optus’ new Smart Shop solution.
Optus Smart Shop has been designed to make running a small business easier by providing technical support and apps that help reduce time-consuming tasks such as creating invoices, managing expenses or providing the convenience of being able to access documents from a mobile device or tablet. Optus Smart Shop is also teamed with specialist IT support to answer questions.
This is just one example of how embracing technology enables you to set up a virtual office. Having tools such as Sage One, Microsoft Office 365 and PlanHQ in one place gives you the flexibility of running your business from outside the office and monitoring it in real-time.
Using your business data
Understanding business analysis is important for any company. It is significant in order to maintain competitiveness and to run your business as efficiently as possible.
As businesses become increasing reliant on technology, more companies of all sizes are beginning to use big data and analytics to gain insights into their business and better serve customers. By asking what’s important to your business and focusing on the right information, analytics can be vital to increasing your productivity.
Managing your business on the go
It’s estimated that Australian small business owners lose up to 250 productive work hours each year by being unable to continue managing projects and keeping in touch with the business while they’re away from the workplace.
While you can’t always be on site, it’s important that you’re able keep your finger on the pulse with managing things like cash flow, invoicing and staff.
Making sure your business is set-up to enable you to access everything you need 24/7, is key to ensuring productivity stays high even when you’re out of the office.
In short, you’ll face many challenges when it comes to running your business so it’s essential to explore the tools, services and processes that are on offer to make life easier, save time and ultimately, help your business to become more efficient.
Matthew Ball is the Head of Optus SMB.