Time is a precious asset for small businesses – and a rare one at that. In the daily running of your business the majority of your time can be consumed by menial tasks, rather than perfecting the service you are providing. However, thanks to the rise in simple technology that automates time-consuming tasks, small business owners are able to tackle them in half the time (or less).
Take some time to look at the wide range of applications for digitally connected business owners. Here’s a good place to start:
1. Dance with data
Know how to unleash the power of your most valuable asset – your data and your people. For a small business, data is helpful in understanding your customers better, tracking your business’ performance and guiding your decision-making. Tableau is a self-service visual analytics platform that enables businesses of all sizes, even the one-person bands, to make sense of their data. As a small business owner, you can now capture actionable insights from your results in minutes, rather than spending hours combining data and seeking out trends. This save you time, and also facilitates informed business decisions.
2. Keep on trackin’
But do it the good way. Ask any business owner about their biggest challenges and it’s likely that keeping track of outstanding invoices will be high on the list. Invoice2go makes it easy to streamline admin processes, send professional-looking invoices on the spot, and accept online payments. The app also gives you the ability to set up automated reminders to send your client a friendly note about upcoming or overdue payments, meaning that you’ll never waste time chasing payments again.
3. Box it up
No matter how many people are employed within your small business, or if you’re running solo, you want to be using a platform that enables you to store, search for, and share documents from any device, wherever you are. Dropbox Business is a file-sharing and cloud-storage solution that offers an easy way to share information and collaborate on the same documents in real-time. This saves you the precious hours spent flicking documents back and forth between your team, with changes often lost in translation.
4. Pick up the slack
A lot of your time is spent communicating with suppliers, employees, partners and other business owners via email. A digital tool worth considering to save cluttering your inbox is Slack. The app effectively brings communication together – offering real-time messaging, archiving and search. The simple layout and immediacy of Slack ensures that communication is as fast and efficient as possible, and in some situations eradicates the need for those unnecessarily time consuming face-to-face meetings.
5. Get social
Most small businesses are now up and running on an array of social media channels. While this is a fantastic way of maximising your brand’s visibility, managing your social media posts can be consuming. Plus, as small business, it’s usually not an option to hire a social media manager, particularly when starting out. With tools like Hootsuite, you can automate your social media marketing efforts from a single dashboard and scheduling effective social content.