Running a small business is by no means an easy feat. I always say that people with white collar desk jobs in large corporations get it easy. Everything has been laid out for you; there are company manuals, standard operating procedures, a communication hierarchy and you can always ‘go to’ somebody to help you with work or resolve an issue.
Running your own business however is a very different ball game. You are overlooking all aspects of your little empire and sometimes even micromanaging it, there is payroll, business development, client servicing, checking on payments and liabilities, you are even looking around for any cracks in the paint or water seepage left unaddressed from the last rainy season.
It can all get very hectic and sometimes you might even have thought about age getting to you sooner then you expected. I know most of you are sceptical of technology, gone are the days when the most complex gadget in your house was the scientific calculator which you never got around to operating beyond basic arithmetic, but here is a little anecdote I would like to share which will tell you how an entrepreneur friend of mine runs his own business using free, very basic internet apps and softwares.
As a man of the service industry who needs to travel all across the Eastern Coast management is very important. I asked him once how he manages to cover multiple cities in a day while at the same time overseeing his daily operations at home.
His reply was these two sentences:
1- Keeping Pace with the World
2- Keeping Pace with yourself
Keeping Pace with the world involves everything that enables him to stay connected with his clients and vendors. For example:
Is a simple option available in your Google account that will enable you to check your emails, archive and categorize them on the go, maybe you are in a plane or a train with no internet hotspot, you can still access your Gmail Offline make the changes, send emails etc. And the next time you have internet access; all the changes made earlier will be synchronized. It’s a great way to catch up on work and save time.
You can enable Gmail Offline by going to top right corner on your Gmail account, click on Options < Mail Settings < Labs < Gmail Offline.
This is a wonderful invention. It allows a computer located anywhere in the world to share files with another computer anywhere that has a Dropbox software. The files, it maybe a project you are working on, documents, pdf, photos, proposals are updated in real time thus its a great way for teams to work together. The software can be downloaded for free at www.dropbox.com.
Keeping a Smart Phone
This is perhaps the most important investment my friend has ever made. People, get a good smart phone, you will find that most of the tasks requiring a laptop can be performed more conveniently by a pocket sized device. You can make free calls via Skype to other Skype users and by ‘jail breaking’ your Iphone you can install applications like Whatapp or Cydia to send free text messages. (Important: Jail breaking is against Apple Policies and will probably render your warranty, void)
Keeping pace with yourself is the second most important aspect of leading a business. It involves managing your time, planning your business strategy and action plans and staying on top of affairs.
Many of you might have personal Facebook profiles and business pages on the website. It is very useful to install the free Facebook app which allows one to maintain status updates, respond to messages and keep track of important notifications. Facebook app can be found in the Apple Store which is a program in the Iphone.
You are browsing the net and see an interesting link, hundreds of interesting links, news feeds and articles you want to read later. Just save it in your Evernote Application and it will be synced to www.evernote.com which you can access from anywhere you like.
It is often very easy to overlook even the basic tools readily available to us. MS Outlook is one such tool. Not only does it allow you to receive email from multiple third party accounts in one control panel, you can schedule tasks, set up reminders (with actual alarm bells), maintain a database of clients, vendors, suppliers with their complete profiles. It is very basic and can be used through a laptop or a smart phone.
Small business management is tough but the rewards are equally higher. Follow these small tips and you will find you have more time for yourself and your family within weeks.
Here’s to your success!
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Go ahead! As long as you give full author attribution as follows:Business Growth Expert Yoon Cannon has helped thousands of CEOs, entrepreneurs & small business owners achieve dramatic results in sales, productivity and profits. Over the past 20 years, Yoon has started 4 other companies and sold 3 of them. She is the author of numerous articles published in major print media and magazines. She is also a popular keynote speaker. Get Yoon’s free video “How to Find Your WOW Factor” at http://www.ParamountBusinessCoach.com. Call Yoon direct at (215) 292-4947.
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