Large businesses have a full team for every aspect of daily operations. That, unfortunately, is a luxury small business owners don’t have. But today’s small businesses have a wide variety of tech tools to help make the job a little easier. HP recently released its tips for using technology to increase small business efficiency.
We’ve summarized some of HP’s most important points, plus added a few of our own. Here are some of the top tech tools that can help automate your business processes to increase efficiency and productivity:
- Use an Electronic Calendar–If you still have six different daily planners and sticky notes plastered all over your office, you may be spinning your wheels. Consolidate everything you do into one calendar you can access from anywhere. If you use Microsoft Outlook for e-mail, you already have a great calendar, complete with to-do lists and appointment reminders that show up on your right pane anytime you’re checking e-mail. Better yet, your calendar is available on the web from anywhere.
- Go wireless–If your office isn’t already wireless, consider making the switch. Not only will this allow you to print to the closest printer no matter where you are in the office, your clients will appreciate the ability to get online while in your office for meetings. You’ll also be able to save money and time on hard-wiring all of your devices.
- Go paperless–Your small business needs the ability to scan. By scanning and storing files securely on a server that is regularly backed up, you can eliminate the need to pay for file storage space. This will also help make your small business more mobile. As you strive for a paperless office, encourage your employees to print less and save files to the server instead of printing them. Consider automating any forms you use and transferring customer paperwork to your company website.
- File sharing software–Many secure, Cloud-based solutions are now available to make collaboration easy. Consider a service like Sugar Sync and Syncplicity, which automatically back up your files to a central server that allows your team to always access the latest version of all files. This prevents your team from getting confused about which version is the latest.
- Check into Cloud-based solutions–Even big businesses are turning to the Cloud for everyday business processes. Technology solutions are available that can help your small business operate more efficiently without hiring additional staff or buying expensive equipment. Everything from your full-time receptionist to the servers that hold all of your files can be replaced by an automated system, in many cases for a small monthly fee.
Today’s small business has to be prepared to meet the challenges of competing with corporations and larger businesses. Since funds often aren’t available to hire additional staff, checking into technology-based solutions is often the best way to make business processes more productive. Look around your office and ask yourself, what can be automated to free up more hours in the day? Chances are, there’s a technology solution that’s easy to implement and affordable, too!