#smartbusiness

3 easy ways to use more technology in your business

2020-02-01T15:48:29+01:00 May 20th, 2019|Categories: Entrepreneur, startupgold, TheStartUpGold|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Let’s face it. In 2019, if you are not riding the wave of technology, chances are your business is missing out on a world of opportunity. From sales through to operations, technology is simplifying traditional ways of working and improving efficiency. Interestingly it is still not a favourite topic for a lot of female entrepreneurs.  

An investment in technology can make all the difference in your business. I am not just talking Facebook and Instagram. Today, ease of use and flexibility for small business are key focus areas for tech providers when building their products. So we have less excuses not to embrace tech and many more reasons to love it.

Companies that use technology for competitive advantage will win in today’s fast-paced business environment

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If you like what you hear about technology but not sure how to get more of it in your business, here are some ideas.

#1 Hire a tech savvy person on your team.

You don’t have to go with a full time person if you’re just starting up. You can hire a freelancer on sites like Upwork, Fiverr or Freelancer. A part time virtual assistant with a tech background will do for a start. Task them with researching what tools are in the market and how your competitors are using them. If you like the results the tools can provide, make the investment and get your techie to integrate it into your business. With so much competition in the tech market, you can get tools at competitive prices, a lot of providers also offer flexible payment plans.

#2 Always default to automation first

Automation can save you a  lot of time and money. The golden rule is as long as it is a repetitive task, it can be automated, you don’t need to hire a dedicated person for the job. Today there are easy to use tools that automate almost every part of the business process. Marketing funnels, scheduled advertising, email, messaging, billing and payments automation, there are lots of options to choose from. So think of your end to end business process and and research the areas you can automate. The first thing you and your team should consider when you start a new project is how you can automate.

#3 Attend conferences and exhibitions.

One of the best ways to adopt the newest and brightest tech trends in your business is to attend industry events . You will find enthusiatic exhibitors keen to tell you about their products and how they can help your business grow. You also gain insight from other business owners in your niche who can share what works for them.

If you are thinking, “well my business runs as a service which I deliver myself, I don’t need technology”. As a business owner you should continuously think of how to grow and technology can help you do that. Think of how many more customers you can reach if you are advertising your services online and building an email list of clients interested in your services. Today the world is digital and there are so many tech tools that will help you achieve better results faster.

Smart entrepreneurs keep up with the times and use what works to serve their market. Technology works

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How to improve your efficiency on a busy schedule

2020-02-01T14:50:20+01:00 February 12th, 2019|Categories: Entrepreneur, TheStartUpGold|Tags: , , , , |

Do you sometimes feel like you will never get on top of the million and one things pending action from you?

You begin working through your To Do list and just when you’re about to expire, another wave of needs, wants and asks blossoms and knocks the wind out of you. Flat out and completely drained, the motivation you previously had to drive your business goals is replaced by an overwhelming despair of your workload.

You can change the despair to joy and excitement by making these  adjustments in your work life to improve your efficiency.

Adopt an entrepreneur mindset…ALWAYS

A busy To Do list focused on value adding activities (emphasis on the words VALUE ADDING) is a great thing and the time you commit to it is an investment in your business. The way you perceive your workload will drive your actions . Successful entrepreneurs have a positive mindset and are energised through self motivation. A positive mindset can help turn a bad situation into a good one in a shorter time period and help you find solutions quicker. This is the mindset you should adopt as you tackle your workload.

Adopt a Lean Approach

Eliminate the non value add activities completely. What you spend time on should bring some measure of growth to your business, if its responding to a customer concern, you could translate that to building customer satisfaction which is great for your brand. If it’s a meeting you’re attending, ensure the  purpose of the meeting is clear and that the discussion is contributing to an area of your business that requires attention. What ever you have on your schedule or To Do list should be something that adds value to your business.

Automate repetitive tasks. Chatbots and FAQs for instance are a great way to address your most frequent customer queries. Consider automation in areas of your business such as Marketing, delivery, invoicing and billing

Outsource and Delegate

Entrepreneurs wear many hats particularly when trying to upscale the business.  To maintain productivity (and your sanity) consider assigning tasks that aren’t your core skills to others. If you have the skill but it takes a significant amount of your time and attention away from other value add activities consider outsourcing or delegating to someone else.

This extends outside of your business life as well. Mumpreneurs in particular will find it beneficial to have a support structure outside of work that gives them more time in the day. This could be hiring the services of a cleaner or a child minder.

To the best of your ability, ensure you are outsourcing or delegating activities you do not necessarily have to do yourself.

Stay Organised

It is said that for every minute spent organising, an hour is earned. Maintain a schedule you are diligent with and ensure activities are done on time and at the right time. Maintaining a log of required actions and commitments helps to keep you focused. You could adopt a daily routine where you check your schedule the night before and plan the following day ahead of schedule. It isn’t uncommon for working women to have the spontaneous unplanned event (Mumpreneurs can relate) but it helps to manage your schedule better when you understand your priorities for the day and can move things round as needed.

Wunderlist, Evernote and Trello are some great mobile apps to help you stay organised and productive.

Prioritise your health and downtime

You really are no use to yourself or anyone else if you are constantly tired and spent. As an entrepreneur you are responsible for the decisions that impacts the people and businesses associated with your business, carrying the weight of this responsibility and staying productive requires you to be in fit form.

Be disciplined about tuning off work (and social media) a few hours a day, make time to connect offline with your family and friends, sleep well, eat well and exercise. When your mind and body is right, you are in a better state to stay motivated and improve your efficiency.

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Smart Business – Ethics

2019-02-03T20:52:26+01:00 January 10th, 2019|Categories: TheStartUpGold|Tags: , , , , , |

What policies do you have in place to safe guard the safety of your business? Do you have measures in place to check you are operating with high ethical standards? Are you aware of the impact of poor ethics on your business? It sounds like a boring topic until your business gets slammed and profiled as running sub standard ethics.

Business leaders in some countries may argue this isn’t a relevant topic for the environment in which they operate but it nonetheless sets a benchmark for the sort of company you run and even limits the extent to which International businesses with high ethical standards will work with you.

As a CEO or person in leadership the onus is on you to ensure the right controls are in place for your business to perform optimally not just on internal targets but on its social responsibilities and performance in the external environment. For larger firms where it takes a village, focused departments on ethics and compliance are carved out to empower people make the right decisions and set the right initiatives to ensure the business operates with high standards.

Corporate Social Responsibility refers to the impact your business is making in the outside world and its compliance to areas of the law and national economic or international standard.

So what parts of your business feed into these areas?

Have you considered your I.T department and the effects of your business output on your employee and customer data security?

Recent events in the news about Facebook has forced a lot of companies into reviewing this area of their business, however it isn’t relevant to large corporate only. As a small to medium sized business, it is your corporate social responsibility to safe guard the privacy of employees and customers that trust your company enough to do business with you. Tighter controls on the systems and processes for communicating and enabling customer information as well as regular compliance training to raise awareness in your business and remind staff and vendors to be diligent when handling people or customer data are some effective ways to improve data security.

A second area of your corporate social responsibility that needs regular review is your Accounts department.

As a leader in your organisation are you aware of where all the money is going and how it’s been used and reported. We can review case studies of businesses that have had troubles due to poor accounting standards – Sybase, Micro Strategy, Computer Associates, Enron, Lehman Brothers, Worldcom….. A review of these companies would be a start but more pertinent is to have a proactive approach to being diligent about the accounting practices of your firm. Keep in mind that a lot of these large corporates have used other reputable firms to handle their account but still gotten into trouble. The key message here particularly for business leaders is to understand the practices and processes that govern their accounting principles and mobilise the right controls where gaps exist. This remains relevant for small to medium sized businesses as leaders monitor the financial performance of the firm.

The final part of the discussion that needs attention is your HR function.

This includes the ethics your business has in the areas of rewarding, developing and protecting people as well as encouraging a diverse and inclusive work force .

You’ve probably heard a lot of companies use the catch phrase “people are our greatest assets” Smart business is about engaging your workforce and creating an atmosphere that enables the people not only to help realise your targets but position you as a responsible company as well. The world more than ever before is paying a lot more attention to areas such as gender inequality, diversity and inclusion, so ensure you are conversant of this and feeding into your people management initiatives.

These three key departments – Technology, Accounts and HR are by no means the only important departments required to have a strong ethical focus in businesses. In a fast paced world where change and economical issues are prevalent, they are usually the most visible areas that flag the controls in place to show the company operates with high ethical standards.

On a final note, we learn something new everyday. If there are areas within your business that need improvement on ethics, start to initiate the steps today. Your customers may have picked up on this already and asking questions about certain areas. We have learned over the years about the importance of transparency on matters with clients and this can help build loyalty and strengthen your brand.

Do you need support for your business on ethics and compliance. Contact us at info@thestartupgold.co.uk today to utilise free consultancy services available to your business.

Are there other departments that need more focus to improve business ethical standards?

Leave us a comment, we would love to hear them.

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