As soon as you start running your own business, you quickly realise that waste is a thief! When you’re on company time, it’s pretty safe to say that you’re less than concerned about how efficiently you use the time and resources you’re afforded. If you can take a 20 minute bathroom break that includes a comprehensive check of your social media feeds and a quick game of Angry Birds, and still get the job done- more power to you! When you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer, however, it becomes a very different story. It can seem like at least once a month you undergo a thorough audit of your processes and practices to see what’s operating at less than peak efficiency and thus eating into your profit margins. This can mean reviewing the software or apps you use (for example, nobody should be paying for Microsoft Word when Google Docs trumps it in virtually every way and is available absolutely free). It can mean refining your processes and weeding out unnecessary elements or stages. Or it can simply mean revising the ways in which you communicate with your employees, clients and collaborators.
Communication is, and has always been, an essential part of business. But in the 21st century when communications technologies change and evolve exponentially, it pays to think twice about using the supposedly “tried and true” platforms and considering the proliferation of alternatives out there…
Don’t use a landline phone
If your business is reliant on making a lot of outgoing calls, you could be wasting a fortune by using a business phone line. In an age where there are so many alternatives, you should be able to avoid this inefficient practice at all costs without compromising your productivity while you wait for extensive upgrades.
Of course many businesses would benefit from switching to VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), which affords you many of the same benefits of a landline service but at a fraction of the cost. Since there are many VOIP providers out there, including Skype, you can get a great deal by shopping around.
Smaller enterprises, especially those that want to give an impression of the size and grandeur that they aspire to but haven’t necessarily achieved yet, may benefit from a virtual phone service with a virtual receptionist.
Don’t use emails
Emails have their advantages in business. They allow clarity and detail in communication that you wouldn’t be able to achieve in person or over the phone. On the other hand, however, they suffer from a lack of immediacy. It’s not uncommon for unread emails (even “urgent” emails) to languish unread in inboxes. A service like TextBetter enables you to send text messages which tend to be read within 15 minutes of receipt. This can make for much more efficient communication.
Moreover, conversations can suffer when they take place across multiple platforms. They can start in email, then go over the phone, then end up on WhatsApp. Keeping your communications in a single platform like Slack can help to ensure that conversations are well documented and easy to recall.