Entrepreneurship is often filled with challenges to overcome and the deeper we dig, the more we realize how much is left to do.
Managing your own business can seem fairly simple when you are self-employed. Create sales estimates, orders and invoices via excel then update their status to ‘Paid’ when you notice the payment on your bank statement.
You do not need to follow orders, leads, prospects and customers closely because you only take a few new customers at all times.
Vendor bills are entered on another excel sheet and your profit/loss for the month is a sum of your sales less the sum of your expenses.
Bringing your laptop with you allows you to manage your activities from wherever you are, as long as your excel data is with you. So you’ll have no need to use a cloud solution. Your free email account such as gmail or Outlook allow you to communicate whilst your calendar holds your planned activities for the week/months ahead.
What’s the digital fuss about?
The first factor to consider is security. Losing your laptop could mean losing your data, but using tools such as OneDrive or Teams, you can easily log back online and work regardless of the hardware used (PC/ Android/ Smartphone). So it’s easy to ask oneself what going digital really brings to the table.
1) Spend time on value added tasks
We assume that, as a sole trader, the time you put in your business determines the revenue you’ll get out of it. But even the greatest self-employed needs to pause his sales to actually deliver the goods/ services promised. Then comes the administration, ensuring all transactions have impacted the right accounts and that your general ledger balances.
2) Automate recurring activities
The time required to run marketing, sales and operations as well as administration prevents you from focussing on any aspect thoroughly. You cannot stay awake 24/7. You may not wish to present your business to someone new every minute of your day and night. This is where a website is used: An online presence which lets people searching for what you offer find you, get to read about you, and only contact you if interested.
Websites allow visitors to let their contact details and information on what they need. Getting back to those can take a while, since their requests might be about more information on a topic, an estimate on a job or booking an appointment.
3) Never miss a beat
A modern system will help the entrepreneur in automating the management of such requests, alerting you by email about them so you can take action and call back the visitors when deemed necessary.
This way, you can be sure to:
1) Never to miss a request
2) Always keep track of your visitor’s comments/ feedback and orders
3) Provide all the info on the goods/ services you offer so they can make the decision of what to buy without speaking with you.
Digitalization in companies, groups and multi-subsidiaries
Any business with more than one employee faces errors of miscomunication, delayed notifications, operational errors, administrative errors, financial budgeting mistakes and a lack of vision which we consider key to the ability of decision makers to steer their actions in the best possible direction.
Digitalizing your resources’ activities allows them to:
1) Work together, in real-time
2) Maximize Customer satisfaction through better sales
3) Increase quality of work through clear efficient methodology
4) Enhance company culture through a strengthened organisation
5) Set acheivable goals without overstressing the workforce
It is estimated that 85% of the time spent by management is on fixing recurring issues, that operations spend 60% of their time waiting for further information from their Sales director who in turn awaits the Financial director’s decision on pricing/ promotion/ partnership proposals.
Digitalization is a way to spend time (you would have otherwise lost on meaningless tasks) on activities which will bring real value to your business. Digital solutions are sold purely on the needs expressed by yourself or those of your colleagues. Trying to sort all problems from a single solution is a risky challenge that often fails.
Reaching independent solution providers with over 20 years of experience across continents and industries (Like the Business At Work Group and Cloud At Work) is highly recommended to avoid disappointment.
About the author: Dominique Staub is an award winning consultant with a diploma in Business Management from the Souhampton Business School. He teaches decision makers innovative ways to transform meaningful parts of their activities to increase efficiency and reduce costs.