Running a small business often involves juggling an endless array of tasks on a shoestring, but as the old adage goes “working smarter not harder” is the most effective way to ease the burden.
In a new series of blogs created in partnership with Digital Journey – a social enterprise helping to make New Zealand organisations and businesses become more digital savvy – we look at how SMEs can up their game through effective use of the Internet and online services, paired with high performing broadband.
In the first two articles, Digital Journey Founder and GM Stuart Dillon-Roberts looks at how to get the cloud working better for SMEs.
From Whangarei to Westport, we deal with hundreds of SMEs every year and the reality is for many of those work up to 70 hours per week just to stay ahead. Yet, many of the tasks they do can be simplified or automated through the use of cloud-based apps.’
Furthermore, recent statistics (below) demonstrate the massive uptake of cloud-based services over the last four years by SME in New Zealand (reflective of a worldwide trend). So, even if you’re not jumping onboard this fast-tracked train, your competitors are!
How apps can help your business
Cloud-based apps and services can increase productivity in three main ways. They allow you to:
Share information effortlessly in real-time.
Apps can create a centralized space on which you can store and share information with your team, and access anytime from anywhere with wi-fi. From sharing and managing information about your next product launch, to sharing digital invoices with your accountant, you can ensure that everyone is working on the same page, and that nothing gets lost or overlooked.
Manage your time more efficiently.
Apps can provide a logical framework that helps you organise your tasks and workloads, and improves your ability to manage multiple, complex workflows. In addition, apps can help you monitor where you and your team are investing your time so you can ensure you’re spending it on projects that drive the most value for your business.
Automate your everyday tasks.
Apps can streamline and manage repetitive manual tasks, so you don’t have to. From overseeing individual tasks like invoicing, to encouraging your apps to work together to automate workflows, they can free up your time for more important tasks. Like GROWING your business. Or sleep. Remember sleep?
Find what’s right for you
With hundreds of comprehensive business apps released EVERYDAY, how do you pick a winner?
Consider your needs:
Do some research. We’ve listed our top picks in our next blog, but the world of apps doesn’t stop there. Look at current reviews, find similar businesses to yours and check out what they’re using.
Try some out. Many apps offer a free-tier or free-trial, so it will cost you nothing to have an explore. Get a feel for what does and doesn’t work for you and the features that seem useful.
- How many people will be using the app and on what devices?
- What’s your budget?
- Do you need something that can scale and grow with your business?
- Breakdown your time and how you spend it, what tasks could be streamlined?
Quick tip: Make sure you regularly review your app providers. Are they still working for you? New apps and changing plans can offer you improved features and functionality that may suit you better.