What does flexibility mean for a business?
Live wood isn’t like the wood for a fire. It is green, flexible and full of life. In business, you always want your business to be like live wood, able to bend instead of break, ready to grow, and able to overcome or incorporate challenges or barriers.
Whether your small business is just starting out or you’ve been around for years, there is no better time than the present to embrace technological changes that allow you to bring your products to new markets, free you from the office and generally keep you flexible and growing.
How is flexibility achieved in business?
Here are three ways technology can help you meet those flexibility goals in your business.
1. Move to Software-as-a-Service Applications
If you are still using disks to install software, you are locking yourself to a specific machine and increasingly rare tools to be able to transfer information to third parties.
You may be thinking, “what is SaaS?” but you are likely already using it for some things. SaaS allows application code and your specific data to live on the cloud, allowing you to access it from anywhere.
Consider going from installed versions of Microsoft Office to its subscription service, or using an analogue of their classic programs. Even move your business accounting to a subscription.
A subscription may seem like an extra cost that never goes away unlike the one-time purchase of software, but there are significant benefits to a subscription. First, of course, is that you can access your information from anywhere and work collaboratively. Have two or three people work in the same Google Doc to make agreed-upon changes in real-time. Ask your accountant to check your books without the need to deliver a drive.
Beyond that, with a subscription, you are paying to always have the latest version of the software without installing updates and patches. These companies also ensure that your data is encrypted and hidden behind the strongest firewalls and antivirus software.
Be ready to do business anytime and anywhere with SaaS.
2. There is an App for That
The cloud and the app market aren’t just for your core business needs. Think about the areas where you could really use help, and chances are there is an app for that.
Help others meet with you without scheduling conflicts. Apps like Calendly make it easy for clients and partners to find your calendar and write themselves in at available times. If you have trouble focusing, there are hundreds of apps to help you out. Look at a Pomodoro app that will show the time you need to focus until your next break.
Apps like Freedom are social media blockers that you can set for certain hours or on timers, so you can keep yourself from checking Facebook or offering a few minutes of mindless scrolling as a reward after you’ve focused all morning.
One of the most important apps you can get is a social media manager. Free up your time by pre-scheduling posts. You’ll be able to do social media listening for mentions of your company and products as well as find customers who are dissatisfied with your competitors.
You’ll see all your mentions, comments and private messages in a single location instead of logging in to ten different platforms and spending hours combing each one. While it takes some research to weed through the sea of apps, it is worth it to be able to grow your business with a small investment instead of hiring whole teams of employees.
3. Expand Your Web Presence
Finally, use the internet to expand your customer base worldwide. Unless you have a product that doesn’t travel well, there is no reason to focus on an exclusively local audience.
Your social media reach can find people all over the world who want what you have to sell. Invest in a great website that fits your local image and is optimized for mobile. Make sure your checkout page matches the rest of your website and is secured.
How can a business be flexible?
A business can be flexible by using technology to simplify its processes. Here are simple tips to achieve that:
- Move to software-as-a-service applications.
- There is an app for that.
- Expand your web presence.
When you invest in these business technologies, you are investing in a business that is ready to take on challenges without a second thought about flexibility.
Disclaimer. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of IdeasPlusBusiness.com. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors is of their opinion and is not intended to malign any organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.
For questions, inquiries and advert placements on the blog, please send an email to the Editor at ideasplusbusiness[at]gmail[dot]com. You can also follow IdeasPlusBusiness.com on Twitter here and like our page on Facebook here. This website contains affiliate links to some products and services. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you.
Paisley Hansen is a mother of three and a small business owner. She spends her time caring for her children and taking her business to the next level. When she’s not busy working or taking care of her kids, you can find her at the gym or curl up with a good book.