Improving Small Business with Technology

Whether you're a small business or an independent agent, optimizing your operations is critical for success. Focusing on consistency and quality is very important for effective growth and scalability. As a business leader, I believe that you should be designing your business around the premise that it is a prototype for 5000 other replicas, operating just like it.

Whether or not you plan on franchising or scaling to large numbers, it really shouldn't matter. The point is to think of your business from a perspective, defined by clear rules, processes and expectations throughout.

If you stop and focus on your operations and document how you're currently handling all scenarios, it will become clear where opportunities for improvement exist. Opportunities could be reducing costs by eliminating redundant tasks, increasing value to clients by providing a more consistent product or service, or reducing the risk of providing your product or service to your customer.

So where does technology come in? Technology is always improving and becoming less expensive. The memory cards purchased last year are half the price this year, kind of frustrating actually. But of course there are more positives. You can now get immediate, accurate and relevant business information in the palm of your hands, including specific key performance indicators about your business.

Let's take a local college for example. A few years ago, the methods they used to handle tasks like taking attendance, compiling marks and creating diplomas was manual and extremely time intensive. The instructors now take attendance via web apps, which automatically keep track of attendance and warns students if they are in risk of losing their OSAP due to absences. It's smarter. Their processes alone were extremely redundant and time intensive, now they're completely automated. Money has been saved, and consistent service to their customers has increased. They now save 90% of their paper consumption from 100k sheets per month to 10k sheets a month from moving course notes online.

Again, this concept isn't new, it's just becoming more affordable to a new market. Think about some of the repetitive tasks which are involved in your business. If you haven't yet taken advantage of technology from this perspective in your business, you probably have quite a few low hanging fruit opportunities.

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