This post was sponsored by Brother. All opinions are my own.
Running your own small business is rewarding, but as most entrepreneurs will tell you, it also comes with challenges. When I first started my business in the 1990s, I struggled to get started particularly because the technology then was not what it is today. There were no smartphones, computers were bulky with a fraction of the power they have today, internet connectivity was slow, and the list goes on. The significant advances in technology have helped me to address many of the challenges small business owners face every day. Here are three examples.
Communicating with My Employees
The workplace has become significantly more flexible. More people are working remotely or deviating from the standard 9-5 jobs. My employees are always on the go, with some working from home, some on the road meeting with clients and others located in various parts of the world; needless to say, staying in touch can be challenging. While this can be a struggle for business owners of today, there are plenty of solutions that have helped to alleviate this, like cloud-based applications. For example, we use an office collaboration application to store projects and folders for all our clients – it’s where we save documents, files and other data in a secure but conveniently accessed way. The application can also be used to conduct phone or video calls and communicate internally via instant messaging chats, – with all this information stored in one place. For companies like ours in a networked environment, the application integrates well with our other collaboration and financial applications, ensuring our internal communications are unified.
Staying in Touch with My Customers
Small business owners balance a lot of things each day to keep business moving. Customers are a top priority – and the way to know if a customer is happy is to stay in contact with them. Because we can get so busy, losing a customer or a prospect because they fell through the cracks is a common problem, which is both frustrating and costly. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems help to keep records of all customers, projects, vendors, suppliers and partners, as well as the status of projects. Utilizing these tools has been instrumental in helping us retain our existing customers, while maintaining communication with customer leads. This technology fully integrates with email and calendars to help maintain operations in one centralized place. We have more time to focus on the other aspects of running a small business, while ensuring that we are doing everything we can to keep the lines of communication open with customers, employees and community.
Staying Focused on What Matters
As a small business owner, I have many things to take care of to keep my business running smoothly. The last thing I want to worry about is whether my printer has enough ink. That’s where the Brother INKvestment Tank All-in-One MFC-J995DW comes in. This printer comes fully equipped with up to one year of ink right in the box, and it has an Intelligent Page Gauge feature that monitors your ink usage and displays the estimated remaining page counts on its touchscreen. Now I never have to worry about whether I will run out of ink in the middle of a print job. That translates to more time focusing on my staff, my clients and running my business efficiently and less time worrying about whether or not the next page I print will be the last.
There are always going to be challenges for entrepreneurs and small business owners. – it’s part of the job. But as technology advances and improves, so do our day-to-day operations. As long as we have companies like Brother keeping up with those technologies and putting our needs first, we can continue focusing on growing our business by putting our employees, clients and customers first.