I don’t know about you, but running my business is like having not one, but two full-time jobs. It’s more often that I work 16 hours a day than I work just eight.
Because my time–like that of every other business owner–is one of the most vital assets of my company, I am always focused on finding ways to save it. It’s all about efficiency and innovation: If I have more time to think or rest, the better work I will do and the more contributions I can make to my businesses success.
There are probably many things that my employees or I could do to save time and/or money in my business right now. The same is probably true for you. These are three tools I’m exploring to keep me connected, capable and better rested:
Regardless of your business’s size or industry, you should make sure that all of your key business applications are Internet-accessible, or preferably, Internet-based. I’ve found that having our key applications Internet-accessible makes it much easier to share information and skills among my staff. This means my people are more empowered to do things that only I used to be able to do. This means I can either sleep more or get more done–or both. Even applications that aren’t Web-based can be made accessible by the Web with the right tech partner. Before you decide on what’s right for your business, consider these:
- Starter Cloud Services: Hosted Exchange e-mail, online data backup, video calling/sharing, e-mail marketing, website building
- Advanced: Sales management, accounting, industry-specific cloud services, like online survey software, order tracking or fleet management
Like a lot of business owners, I spend more time on the road than in my office, so being able to work, in addition to accessing my full email/calendaring suite from a mobile device is essential. This will not only keep you productive in moments that used be unproductive (like waiting at the airport or while in transit), it also means that when you are in your office you’re not playing as much catch up.
- For Trade Professionals: Fleet management and GPS are key for knowing where your trucks and people are at any given moment. Mobile payment processing allows field workers to take credit cards, mobile video calling/sharing and mobile access to key data so mobile workers can take care of “paperwork” while out in the field and home office knows exactly what’s going on while it’s happening.
- For knowledge Professionals: Hosted Exchange, you really shouldn’t be living without business grade email services, calendaring and contact management, mash-up applications – these take information from many sources and make it easy for you to consume it via your mobile device or tablet, Web conferencing from your mobile device and mobile file access, using your backup service (so you can access those key files from your computer on your tablet or mobile phone).
Online Data Security Services
Simply put, protect all your data (including client data you collect). This includes backup, intrusion prevention, monitoring and anti-virus. You can never be too vigilant. It’s a work in progress, but something you should never take for granted. Work with a partner and look to well-known brands or certifications for security services.
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