Small business technology tips for boosting efficiency
Running a small business can often feel like there's almost too much to juggle.
Not only do you have to manage a purposeful and strategic overview of the direction you want your business to take, you also have to manage many other tasks and responsibilities that go towards your business's overall health. These include marketing, managing the finances, keeping a handle on client/customer relationships and focussing on the development of your product or service.
Fortunately, technology has advanced significantly in recent years and there are now a wide range of apps and tools designed specifically for businesses of all sizes that are very easy to use.
Here, we look at how small business technology can help you to streamline your business day.
1. Mobile payment processing
Today it's relatively straightforward to make and receive credit card payments on the go, for instance with PayPal. So there's no need to wait around for lengthy payment processes and delays.
Applications can help you to track your petty cash payments and ad hoc expenditure too, so there's no need to fumble around looking for receipts (though it's a good idea to keep the hard copies to back up tax relief claims later on).
2. Cloud-based services for small businesses
Gone are the days when reams of paperwork needed to be maintained in locked storage or tucked away on hard drives. Today, invoicing, marketing, and accounts can all be done in cloud-based storage systems.
These cloud storage systems are becoming increasingly commonplace for small business and are available with a range of different features. So it's worth doing some research to find the most appropriate cloud-based storage solution for you.
When you're looking around, remember to bear questions of cost, security and flexibility in mind as this will help you to find the right service for your business needs.
3. Virtual receptionist services
If you don't have a dedicated member of staff to handle them then interruptions in the form of phone calls can at best be an irritant, or, at worst, a serious hindrance to your productivity levels.
If you're finding that you're spending too much time answering incoming calls, a call-handling service could be a worthwhile investment. These services provide professional call handlers to respond to callers, allowing you to get your head down and ensure that your business remains productive.
4. Freelancer marketplaces
Small businesses can seldom afford to hire dedicated staff to handle important tasks like copywriting and design. As a result, many business owners find themselves responsible for work they are not necessarily specialised in or equipped to handle.
Luckily there exist many people who can offer these services on a per-job basis.
These platforms are ideal for finding a range of skilled freelancers such as mobile developers, virtual assistants, creative professionals, marketing professionals and accountants at the budget you can afford. The productivity of your small business could be significantly increased by drawing upon the resources of existing professionals in this way. So these platforms are worth looking at if you find yourself facing a skill shortage.
5. Project management apps
Being the owner of a small business requires being a bit of a Jack of all trades – at least in the early days. So you need to make sure that you're keeping on top of all of the projects that are working on.
Fortunately, there are a range of small business productivity tools that can help take some of the organisational weight off you.
You can then take the outcomes of these notes, such as tasks that need to be completed, and put them into a project management tool such as Trello or Freedcamp. This will provide a visual representation of where you're at with each task, so that you can identify what it is you need to focus your attention on.
6. Phones and tablets
Phones are among the most agile technology for small businesses and suit those who conduct much of their business outside the office. So it's worth asking yourself whether you currently make the most of your phone's capabilities.
Even something as simple as integrating your work schedule and tasks into your phone or tablet's built-in calendar could provide a productivity boost. So make sure to take some time to research what your current technology is capable of.
As you look for ways to save time and money through daily efficiency gains, don't neglect the other potential risks to the long-term profitability of your business. Click here to find out more about our insurance options for small businesses.