By Charles & Linda Musselwhite of Musselwhite Consulting
As business owners, we are constantly searching for two things – more time and more money. Both of these resources play a fundamental role in the continued growth and well-being of our company. Fortunately in the Digital Age, technology has saved us as basic office tasks are digitized and streamlined. Recent technological innovation has allowed us to transition many of our in-person, time-intensive tasks to virtual operations. According to the 2016 Brother Business Survey, on average, about half of daily tasks can now be accomplished remotely using digital technology. Digital tools have helped us take our small business anywhere in the world, enabling us to work in flexible locations from home offices as well as on the road.
The once daily practices involved in running a business have evolved into weekly or monthly tasks. Let’s take a look at some “tasks of the past” and how innovative technologies can allow you to maximize time and money.
1. Use Efficient Communication Channels
Five to 10 years ago, listening to voicemails used to be a daily priority in order to get feedback from a customer, prospect or employee while you were away from the office. Now, social media, email, texts and other online messaging platforms make it simple to connect with clients and colleagues in real time around the clock.
Aside from social platforms, we’ve also streamlined other necessary business communications over the years. Meetings take up lots of time but are crucial for making sure business teams and partners are aligned. We have no solution for completely forgoing meetings, but taking the time to travel for in-person conversations is no longer necessary for us. Instead, we use Skype, Google Hangouts and Facebook Phone, among other tools, to connect while saving time and cutting travel costs.
2. Transition To Digital Banking
We used to visit the bank at least weekly, if not several times per week, so it ended up costing us money to save or spend our money! These days, if we visit the bank twice a month, that would be excessive. Although one of our clients still sends us paper checks to deposit, our trips to the bank have been cut down significantly, thanks to digital checking and other online payment options.
3. Review, Compare And Purchase All Online
In the past few years, our purchasing techniques have shifted. The 2016 Brother Business Survey revealed the majority of businesses are now referring to online reviews and technology-focused websites when making office technology purchasing decisions. A common chore for us used to be taking time to visit the office supply store to buy and replenish supplies several times a month. Using online reviews, spec sheets and other purchasing options, we cut down our trips to the store significantly, with the option to review and purchase products directly from our computers. Not only is this a huge time-saver, but we enjoy the comfort and convenience of handling this particular task from our own home.
4. Invest In “Smart” Things
While the Internet of Things (IoT) may seem like a buzzword, it does have some accessible and sensible applications to small business owners. With services like Amazon Dash, business owners are notified by their products when they are running low on supplies like printer ink and toner, and they can re-order with the touch of a button. This combined support from distributors and technology has “virtually” solved two of our most common small business pain points related to cost and convenience.
Innovation continues to make workflow operations smoother and simpler, putting time back in our days as processes automate. This allows us to focus on the heart of our business and growing our pipelines. Though upgrading technology may seem like a daunting overhaul and investment, considering some of the time-saving technology above can help you work smarter not harder.
Charles and Linda Musselwhite are the founders of Musselwhite Consulting, a hybrid marketing agency based in Southern California. With over 20 experts on their team, they provide full service marketing to small and mid-size businesses. Charles ave and Linda also been giving back to the entrepreneur and SOHO (small office home office) community through workshops and webinars since 2011 on assorted digital marketing and business growth topics. Married for more than 25 years, they honor the same values in their business as they do in their marriage: trustworthiness, honesty, loyalty and integrity.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the authors alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the authors.