TechInAfrica – Modern technology is often seen as a distraction in our personal lives. Yet, when it’s a matter of entrepreneurship, it can prove to be a useful tool which can help you run a more streamlined operation.
You will find below a list of advice in order to help you have both your company’s efficiency and overall performance improved, thanks to the use of technology.
- Try to integrate your systems
By deploying various systems and applications in order to support your business’s processes, you will save a lot of time. Otherwise, if your systems are not connected to each other, you will be more likely to spend too much time consolidating all of your data, which is simply counterproductive.
Using only one integrated business management system, gathering all of your software applications, can enable you not only to benefit from an access to real-time data among all the different areas of your operation, but to have a whole visibility of your business as well.
Risk of human error will be drastically reduced with automated data consolidation and, your team will now be free to focus on business touch technology can’t help with (for instance customer relationship management).
- Don’t forget to store it in the cloud
By storing all your documents and important files in the cloud, you’ll ensure that you have a backup version in case your USB sticks get damaged, or you files become corrupted for example. In this way, you will be able to anticipate any case of emergency. Indeed, cloud-based storage is far more convenient thanks to its unlimited capacity, rather than keeping years of copy records in a basement storage facility.
Moreover, cloud-based documents can turn out to be particularly useful when working on group projects. That means that all group members can easily access and update a single shared version, and review the history of all different changes that have been done by other users as they want. One other important point is that without a proper authentification, it could be difficult to gain access to cloud storage and in terms of security it’s something that can’t be neglected.
- Project/task management
Usually, in smaller businesses the workload is shared between fewer employees, so organization is key to a startup operation. Implementing a project management tool will help you supervise and monitor the progress of your projects, which to some extent allow you to be aware of any upcoming tasks.
Nowadays you have the choice between a large number of free providers such as Asana, Basecamp, or even Trello. Such providers allow your employees to access and revise the same timelines, ensuring everyone is working to the same schedule. Furthermore, you can grant your clients a greater visibility of processes by sharing access with them, so that they can be sure their projects is in safe hands.
- Always use time tracking
Time management is a key success factor of efficiency for any business size, mainly when you’re servicing several clients at once. By getting used to registering activity through a time tracking platform, like Noko or Toggl, you can check that your businesses stay on top of time spent per client.
This not only ensures that you as a business are not being short-changed by over-servicing clients, but the client can also benefit from it as well , as you’ll be able to plan and manage their monthly actions more effectively.
Finally, by tracking your activity, life will increasingly get easier when it comes to reporting back to your client on your performance since you’ll dispose of a ready-to-go breakdown of all their jobs and projects.
- Web-based communication tools
Without communication, or even in case of poor communication, you’ll have your efficiency seriously strained. Web-based tools are much more reliable in terms of communication with both colleagues and clients. Those tools, which come in many forms, can be used either from a fixed location or on the go while providing greater flexibility.
They are really ideal for enabling face-to-face interaction and maintaining relationships across long distances if, for example, you have employees in other countries. We can also add that they’re more cost-effective than international calls.
- Update legacy technology
Legacy technology includes any out-of-date equipment that has a modern and more efficient replacement (just think about fax machines, or telephone systems).
Hence, many reasons can explain why business owners may be reluctant to part with their legacy systems. Since budgets can often be tight, entrepreneurs may try to avoid the financial outlay and disruption when it comes to migrate to a more modern system. However, the capital spent on maintaining and replacing legacy equipment over time can be put somewhere else in the company for a better use.
The fact that older legacy technology can sometimes be incompatible with newer systems, it can lead to a situation where the future of you business can be threatened. Actually, you can wonder how you are going to provide the best service for your customers without a well-integrated infrastructure.
You can feel discouraged because of the amount of money required to make changes to your systems and familiar processes. But at the end, this isn’t too high a price to pay, if you don’t want to find yourself being left behind. Those who remain in their comfort zone are the ones who will fail to innovate, and thus, to develop their business.