Ever since the invention of the abacus, technology of one sort or another has been at the core of business, but never more than it is today. Technology is essential if you want to get ahead, but equally essential is making the right decisions about it. There are many different technologies out there, often offering different ways of doing the same thing, and it’s not as simple as paying more and getting something better. Different approaches suit different business styles, so you need to discover what will get the best results for you.
Increasing the efficiency of your sales team is always good, but sometimes the process can be counterintuitive. Research shows that allowing short breaks every 90 minutes means getting more done overall, as it ensures optimum concentration. Other measures that can help concentration include good quality, supportive seating and headsets that eliminate as much ambient noise as possible. The latest sales monitoring software can record and organize telephone, email, website and social media communications and produce statistics to help you determine where your team is most effective.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software takes a lot of the pressure of day-to-day tasks off managers, letting them focus more on strategy and leadership. There are different systems out there to suit different business types. ERP software is also modular and easy to fit around your existing software. At a lower level, tools like Schedulicity make it easier to manage activities across your workday and organize everyone’s tasks in the kind of small business environment where everyone has to chip in to handle a variety of duties. Using the cloud also comes in useful in these situations because it provides low cost access to specialist software that would be expensive to install and that you might not need very often.
Connecting the Team
One of the most important things in any business is making sure that everyone can work together in an efficient way. While ERP can help a lot with scheduling and streamlining tasks, you’ll also need diligent board management to connect senior staff members and arrange meetings, and it’s useful to have an intranet forum where people from all levels of your company can communicate and make suggestions. This will help staff members to feel valued and will potentially generate valuable ideas. Just one note of caution: turn off instant messaging facilities, which can be very distracting.
Tips and Tools
There are a lot of great tools out there today which can help you organize around commuting and business trips and get more done, such as Google Drive and Dropbox for file sharing. Programs like ShareFile are really useful for developing in-house visual presentations. Try QuickBooks to make accounting easy and FileMaker Pro to help you manage databases. Also, look beyond software and see if your business could benefit from better cabling or better quality hardware like printers and scanners. Intelligent investment in these areas can save you a lot of money over the long term.