Keeping Small Business Simple
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Category Archives for Office Organisation

Are You Over-Automating Your Business?

When it comes to creating systems in your business and streamlining processes to help your business run smoothly, automation can be brilliant.

It can also help your customers to get their results quicker.

For example, if you’re selling information products or digital products on the internet, then it makes it easier to deliver those products if your systems are automated. Customers can buy whenever they like and once they’ve bought the product it’s automatically delivered to them. They get an email with the download link or they’re automatically directed to a page where they can access their product.

You can automate your emails to some degree and even the ordering and fulfillment of physical products can be mostly automated online.

Today’s specific question though, is… “Can you over-automate your business?”

The answer is “Yes, absolutely!”

Watch the video below for suggestions on how to get this balance just right.

Click here to watch in YouTube.

 

The Pros And Cons Of Cloud Computing

pros and cons of cloud computingWhat Is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is a great concept in the internet world. It enables delivery of business processes, computing infrastructure, applications, personal collaborations and computing power as a service over the internet through a web browser.

You may have already used cloud computing if you have been part of basic internet activities like sending and receiving emails, searching for information online, or posting photos and videos online.

Simply put, your data is being stored on ‘the internet’ (or ‘cloud’) instead of on your computer and so it can be easily accessed from other computers that have access to those specific files.

A good example of this is if you have an account with Dropbox (and if you don’t, I encourage you to at least try out Dropbox).

This is a site where you can store a variety of files, all password protected within your account. You can access these files from any computer, as long as you can access the internet and log in to your account. You can also ‘share’ this files with other Dropbox user accounts if you choose to – e.g. co-workers, clients or family and friends.

Cloud computing is a revolutionary concept and can be of great help for small business owners by improving the productivity and efficiency of their workforce.

Here are some of the key advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing for small businesses:

Advantages:

1. Cloud computing can be of huge benefit for small businesses that have employees working from different locations, from home or on the move. Similarly cloud computing also allows clients working from different sites to access important files and information.

2. It can often boost productivity and efficiency in the workforce. Team members can communicate faster with the use of cloud services which cuts down on the time required to discuss important matters during operations.

3. Cloud computing is easily scalable which enables companies to design storage space more effectively.

Disadvantages:

1. One of the main concerns for many business owners when using cloud computing is that of security. Many companies still prefer to store their important documents locally to keep their data safe.

Whenever you’re considering cloud computing options, make sure you ask about their security features to ensure that your sensitive documents and information is safe and cannot be easily accessed by potential hackers.

Also, have a clear policy in place to define what documents can/can’t be stored ‘in the cloud’.

2. Many cloud services will charge a recurring monthly fee. You may also need to pay for the bandwidth, depending on the amount of usage an account gets, which can be costly. You should do your research before purchasing cloud computing services so that you get the best deal to suit your specific requirements.

3. When using cloud computing services you may be dependent on the internet. If you have problems with your internet services it will affect productivity as important documents and data may not be able to be accessed.

Cloud computing is a brilliant invention of modern technology and has completely transformed some business’ use of technology and the way they work and communicate with their customers and team members.

If you’re not already using cloud technology at least in some way, I urge you to find out more about how these types of services may benefit your business.

 

When Things Need To Change

This week I helped a friend edit a letter that’s used frequently within her organization and set it up as a template with ‘fields’ for certain data. If I’ve started to lose you, don’t worry about it … the point of this post isn’t the technicalities of setting up merge fields within a Word document.

The point of this post is something that was said during the process.

You see, there were some parts of this letter that didn’t seem quite right to me. There were a couple of fields at the very top of the letter that seemed out of place and I desperately wanted to tidy up the layout.

Anyway, I asked my friend if she’d like me to tidy up the format a bit too and she gasped, “Oh no, please don’t do that! I’ve asked before if I could make changes to the layout but management were very strict and advised me not to.”

Why?

“Because that’s the way it’s always been done. We don’t want to make any changes after all these years.”

What sort of reasoning is that? I’m not advocating that things need to be constantly changed and updated, but isn’t it at least worth considering?

My personal view on change is that ideas and suggestions should always be listened to and should never be automatically dismissed. If there seems to be a good enough reason to try something new, or to make a few minor adjustments – and these changes are likely to bring about benefits of some sort – go for it.

But always test and measure the results. Did the change bring about any sort of improvement or benefit? Did it cause any problems or negative feedback? And at the end of the day, do the benefits outweigh the negatives?

Sometimes you make changes that don’t work and you need to revert back to the old system, or to try another option all together. But you’ll never really know if you don’t at least test different options.

As for my friend’s letter template, it remains in the old “the way it’s always been” format … for now. ๐Ÿ™‚