From time to time we reflect on positive changes we’d like to make in our lives. And if you’re a small business owner you’ve probably spent a bit of time thinking about implementing measures that will help you work smarter, not harder.
One of the best ways to work smarter is to embrace technology, and today’s business owners are fortunate to have more high-tech tools at their fingertips than ever before. No matter what line of work you’re in, there’s an ever-expanding list of apps, software and hardware solutions available with the potential to save business owners time, money and stress.
Sharpen your focus
However, with the rapid development of so many tools it can be a challenge for time-poor small business owners to stay up to date. And if new tech solutions aren’t used properly they can, conversely, end up costing small business owners time, money and stress. A security breach of customer data from a poorly implemented CRM solution, for example, could be fatal to a small business.
One way to mitigate this risk is to narrow your focus, and pinpoint where new technology solutions could make the biggest impact in your business. Asking yourself what are the biggest opportunities for growing your business – or the biggest roadblocks – will help steer you in the right direction.
Undoubtedly one of the biggest opportunities for all businesses right now is the mobile revolution. Customers are using their smartphones and tablets like never before to research, buy and rate products and services, so it’s essential business owners have a mobile-friendly proposition.
Business owners also need to be harnessing the powers of ‘mobile’ to make their own lives easier – whether that’s keeping on top of cashflow on the go using a mobile banking app, or taking payments on the spot with a mobile payment technology like PayClip.
Finding the right solution
In terms of roadblocks, one of the most common barriers to growth for small business owners is the challenge of wearing many hats, from bookkeeper, to HR manager, to social media strategist, so alleviating the pressure in just one or two of these areas can be a game changer.
But once you’ve pinpointed an area of your business you’d like to streamline using technology how do you find the solution that will best work for you?
If you’re already using an online accounting system, check out other apps that connect to it (Xero, for example, has more than 600 apps covering a broad range of business functions in its ecosystem). You can also follow industry leaders on social media, stay up to date with tech news in your sector, and connect with other small business owners to learn what solutions others are successfully using.
Many small business tech solutions are either free, or have a small monthly subscription charge, and most will offer a free trial. No matter what the cost, it’s important you honestly evaluate how much a new solution is saving you – and don’t be afraid to ditch solutions that offer little value, even if they’re free.
Don't forget to look after your business’ most important asset – YOU. If you’re too busy to get to the gym, you could try working out at home or try upping your wellness regime with a mindfulness app like Headspace.