Business' dependence on technology is growing rapidly today. This is because they're starting to see how these tools increase their efficiency, help them manage their expenses, allow them to grow their profitability and enable them to improve their performance. In 2015 alone about 29% of small businesses saw how helpful technology was in this regard. However, they also realize how challenging it is to keep up with how fast technology changes. This is especially true considering how many other tasks there are to watch daily. With this in mind, there are three main things that any business must realize and recognize to remain competitive in today's business world.
It's all About Being Remote
Small Biz Trends says that businesses are heading into the cloud and not coming back. Now that cloud-based solutions are available, using on-premise software and hardware is quickly becoming outdated. This is because these cloud-based solutions offer greater scalability, security, efficiency and flexibility regarding access than their on-premise counterparts.
One example of this is OmniFocus. This tool understands how difficult it is to start a new business because there are many issues that must be dealt with all at the same time. When this happens, something is bound to get overlooked – quite easily. However, organization really is key here and that is something this tool recognizes.
Forbes says that OmniFocus is meant for anyone who really wants to balance their work life with the rest of their life, using a tool that is easy to navigate. This is because they've created a process for balancing these things. It includes:
- Collecting all of your data, current to do lists, and casual notes
- Once this information is entered into the tool, it organizes the information into a more proactive form that allows you to reach your goals in a clear, timely manner
- The tool avoids disaster by syncing all of your data onto their cloud server so you can reference it from any location, at any time.
Being Remote Doesn't Mean you Can't Collaborate
Collaboration is still the key. Technology has created tools that bring the remote workforce together today. This is growing in importance as about 60% of office-based workers are expected to spend at least some time working from home by 2022.
Companies such as Dialpad provide collaboration tools that make it more accessible and efficient for teams to work together today. This tool was created by Craig Walker, who in 2007 launched telephony in the cloud when he created Google Voice.
With DialPad you can finalize project plans with coworkers, send lists to people, and communicate with your colleagues in new and exciting ways. In fact, Entrepreneur says that it won't be long before Google Cloud integrates many of DialPad's powerful apps into Gmail so you access them from there, regardless of what device you're using. This includes using things like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides to easily collaborate with your coworkers. They'll also soon be offering integrated voice and messaging options so you can enhance your communication with anyone, on any device, anywhere, at any time.
All of this is very exciting because it's going to bring about even greater changes to the way business is conducted in the future. DialPad alone is already hard at work tinkering with APIs, developing native enterprise workflows that unify email and phone communication within G Suite, and helping people be able to work from any place and at any time.
Imagining the future of business and how people will be employed brings up another important change that we will witness in 2018.
Independent Contractors Really are Leading the Way
The fact of the matter is, all of this is being made possible today by independent contractors. They're the ones who understand how mobile technology works and how to use it to their advantage today. This is something that small businesses really must start employing. With about 7 million people using this technology and 57% of the population navigating websites with it, employees who understand and employ this technology themselves have a lot to offer including:
- Creating mobile friendly websites for your business will increase its ranking in the SERPs and bring you more customers
- Mobile apps make it so that customers can buy products from anywhere and employees can also benefit by doing work for these customers from anywhere
- Mobile payment methods like Microsoft Wallet are growing in popularity, not only for paying for goods but also for paying employees who work from locations throughout the world today
According to Entrepreneur, these are only a few of the many great reasons to employ independent contractors today. Marketplaces like Upwork allow businesses to keep a variety of these people around instead of hiring employees. These freelancers can do anything and everything for your business. It really doesn't matter if you need web development, graphic designers, social media managers, or anything else, you can find these employees and outsource your work to them today. Most of this is done simply by reviewing who bids on your projects, once you've posted them. You can then vet anyone you choose to work with and build as long of a working relationship with this person as you need.
Clearly, this demonstrates how in today's business world it's all about being able to work from remote locations. Of course, this doesn't mean you can't create teams to collaborate on your projects. In fact, this is easier to do than ever before because now you can employ top talent even when they don't want to move to your central location just to work for you. It's also easier today because you can simply outsource projects in ways you've never done before, allowing you to focus on what you're really good at and allowing “one time” employees to handle the rest for you. With such great benefits on your side, you're starting to see what some of the must have tools and technologies for this year will be.