If you’re starting a business opportunity from home, people are probably constantly telling you how much time and hard work you’re going to have to do. While that might be true, there’s an old adage about working hard vs. working smart. And how the latter can often reduce the need for excessive amounts of the former.
If the idea of working smart is appealing (and let’s be honest, who really enjoys 18-hour work days?) then looking at your IT equipment is a good place to start. In the same way a tradesperson will tell you that the right tools will cut their working time right down, the right IT equipment is also likely to slice big chunks of time off your day, too.
We’ll look at some hardware and software IT solutions. Then we’ll consider how they might free up some of your working week.
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A domestic internet connection is exactly that—domestic. In other words, it’s not designed for running business applications as quickly as you would ideally want.
The situation is potentially even worse if you’re using your domestic internet connection to access your office’s IT network, too. New data protection laws are more stringent than ever. And the moment you connect your home’s network (of computers, phones and TVs) to your work’s local area network (LAN) you’re creating a potential access point through a host of devices that don’t meet your organization’s security requirements.
If the idea of running a business-grade connection into your home isn’t practical (and trust us, it’s not) then a 4G router is an extremely good alternative option.
A good 4G router will bond the connection from a series of SIM cards to create one solid and fast connection. And because it’s 4G, it’s portable. This means that your business-grade secure internet connection can travel with you wherever you go. If you’re not sure what to look for, this guide to 4G routers will be a big help.
Companies waste an extraordinary amount of time with meetings. They waste even more time with people moving between sites for those meetings.
Get in the habit of saying no to pointless traveling for meetings. Instead, get into the habit of working smart. Suggest that you use video instead. Services like Skype for Business, Google’s Meet and Microsoft’s Teams all offer excellent video calling opportunities. Any one of them will save you a lot of time.
You might think that people are going to be disappointed not to be doing business with you in person. However, you’re a professional person dealing with other professional people. They, too, have time constraints. In fact, they’ll probably appreciate your suggestion.
You can be forgiven for thinking that Bluetooth headsets were the reserve of traveling sales people 10 years ago. However, while they might not look wonderful, they’re extremely useful. This is especially true if you’re committed to working smart and adding a huge chunk of productive time to your day.
When you remove the need for holding your phone to the side of your head, you’ve just won back time you’re spending on the phone. Okay, maybe you don’t want to try complex tasks while you’re talking to a customer or a client. But you can be doing plenty of other things, especially if your office is at home.
Any IT device that allows you to do two things at once is worth considering, even if it saves you only 10 minutes each day. Those 10 minutes add up to a staggering 50 hours over the average working year. So a very cost-effective IT solution has just bought you an additional week’s worth of productivity across 12 months.
Project Management Software
That notepad or series of quick notes on your phone are okay while you’re capturing your first thoughts about your business. However, when it comes to running things properly, you’re going to need organized and collaborative project management software.
This idea might prompt the question, “What’s wrong with email and a calendar app?” However, in reality, these things don’t offer a real digital workspace in the same way a system like Basecamp, Plutio or other similar systems do. In short, they don’t allow for working smart.
Use project management software to quickly set tasks and reminders. Have group chats. Break your task down into manageable chunks. Invite contractors and freelancers to access only what they need. Plus, there is so much more.
You’ll be able to store the files everyone needs and have everything work-related at your fingertips. No more searching through email attachments or calling to have things resent. You’ll have just one clear and easy-to-use space from which you can see every part of your business.
A CRM System
A customer relationship management (CRM) system is a little like project management software. It is possible to handle all the information it’ll hold elsewhere. However, it’s nowhere near as practical as having it in one quick reference place. From that place you will be able to see everything you’ve ever learned about a client.
The fact is, your customer’s expectations are likely to be higher today than at any point in consumer psychology history. Because sophisticated tools that allow you to provide excellent service exist, your customers expect you to be using them.
You can set up a CRM system to perfectly match your business’s procedures, too. Therefore, you can track where your quoting process is up to for each prospect. What’s more, you can attach the relevant paperwork. Further, you can follow the process all the way through to syncing with your accounts software. You’ll have invoice and order details at a glance.
If you’re working across different locations, a good CRM system is worth its weight in gold. That’s because most are cloud based. Therefore, you’ll always be working with the most up-to-date information, no matter where you are in the world.
Set Yourself up to Succeed by Working Smart
Even if you’re working from home you have no reason to deny yourself state-of-the-art IT tech. After all, without it, you’ll be working harder. With it, you’ll truly be working smart.