How the right technology can help you achieve your business goals.

We’ve all seen what a long way technology has come in the last 20 years. We now have the power of an entire computer sitting in our pockets all day, not to mention limitless software at our fingertips on a daily basis. Technology has really had it’s shining moment throughout the pandemic with more businesses than ever before adopting new processes and systems to allow their employees to work remotely and get the job done. 

In The Northern Affinity, a number of our partners are SMEs. We thought we’d highlight just a few ways that investing in technology can help you achieve your business goals. 

Increase productivity

Particularly when we start our businesses, we take on every job in the business. This can take us away from doing what we really love. If you’re finding yourself spending hours and hours on tedious admin, is there a more viable process that would be more efficient and give you your valuable time back? 

For those of you with large numbers of clients, are you using CRM technology to manage your database? Do you find certain enquiries falling through the cracks? Automating your client management will keep you on track and often have a direct result on your productivity and ultimately, your results. 

Reduce your overheads

It’s always difficult to know when the right time to make an investment is, especially when it comes to technology. However, after the initial investment, it’s common for your overheads to reduce. Take going paperless for example. It might be a big change in the short term but think how much you’ll save down the line when it comes to your printing, paper and filing costs. It all adds up. 

You may also find when you have the appropriate technology in place, it’ll give you a better picture of your capacity. If it turns out you have much more time than you thought now that the menial admin is automated, you may even save yourself larger expenses such as hiring additional staff. 

Scale up

Finally, all of us have dreams and aspirations for our businesses. Growth and evolution are a key part of development. Putting processes and systems in place early on will make scaling up a whole lot less painful. 

Getting to know how you like your business works will make it easier for you to train future staff or explain exactly what you need when you need to upgrade. 

It’s easy for technology to feel like smoke and mirrors. Knowing exactly what you need can be difficult. Thankfully, we have partners that can help. You can search our directory for the person you need here

At The Northern Affinity, we love hearing about the success of our partners. We’re also always here as a soundboard for new ideas or when things get tough. If you want to chat to other like minded business people and get some solid tips, advice and support, we’re here for you. 

To find out more about The Northern Affinity, come along to our next open monthly meeting and get to know us. We look forward to seeing you there soon.

Why you need to grow your team to achieve your goals

The old saying goes, ‘divide and conquer’ and this definitely comes into play in business. It’s hard to be a jack of all trades and therefore growing your team (even as a small business) can often help you towards achieving your goals. Whether you’re outsourcing or hiring new staff, always remember to seek out people who fit in line with your values; they’ll be the ones that help you reach your milestones. 

Outsource to the experts.

Try as we might, we can’t all be the expert in everything we do. Trying to be everything to your business can get tiring, particularly if you’re in a busy stage of growth. You don’t want anything falling through the cracks. It can be easy to become distracted trying to get through those tasks that you find challenging, rather than focusing on the things you love about your business. 

Is outsourcing the solution for you? There are many fantastic VAs, HR advisors, accountants and others who can take care of your business so you can put your energy where it matters. 

Find an accountability buddy.

If you’re working towards specific business goals, becoming part of an accountability group or peer group can be a really useful tool for keeping you on track.Often when you ask yourself the same question, you’ll get the same answers. This is when having an accountability buddy or group can add tremendous value. 

Particularly if you’re a small business, accountability groups or buddies can provide a brilliant platform for bouncing ideas off other people which can be really beneficial. You’ll find you get a different perspective on your challenges and you might come to a solution a lot faster. 

After the last couple of months of the national lockdown, there’s the added benefits of creating new social connections and someone you can rely on and chat to about your challenges or celebrating your wins. 

Remember, you’re the key. 

You have the power to make your business what you want. Delegation can be hard when you want to do everything yourself. However, you can’t give the best of yourself to your business if you’re trying to be everything to everyone. No one wants to have to deal with the dreaded burn out. Once your focus is taken away from your goal, it will take you much longer to get there. 

When you’re giving 100% to the thing you love, that’s when your business will really see the benefits. It’s always a good idea to work smarter, not harder. 

Growing can be daunting but it’s a key part of business. We believe that businesses can thrive through careful delegation and outsourcing. At Virtual Hand, we are a team of action-takers. We support business owners who want to grow and evolve and do that by taking care of the day to day so they can focus on the bigger picture. Ready to achieve your goals? Take action today.

Returning to work: managing employee mental health.

It’s safe to say that the last few months haven’t exactly gone to plan for most of us. Sadly, the pandemic out the brakes on a lot of great projects and at its worst, put jobs have sadly been lost. With an ever expanding conversation around mental health, how do we manage our wellbeing as we navigate through this next stage of either returning to work or going about applying for new positions? 

Communicate with your staff/employer.

Everyone’s personal circumstances are different. It’s therefore nearly impossible to expect everyone to have the same reaction to returning to work. While some will be excited and ready, other employees may be vulnerable, or living with someone considered vulnerable or at risk. They therefore may have a lot more reservations, particularly if they’re public facing or returning to a crowded office. 

It’s critical to have an open dialogue and find the best possible solution that will benefit both your business and your employees, not sacrificing one for the other. Are there some simple adaptations that can be made to accommodate those feeling confident? 

None of us have ever had to find our way through a situation like this before and it’s only by working together that we can move forward with everyone feeling safe, confident and listened to. 

Lean on your network. 

In The Northern Affinity, we’re so proud to have brought together such a community of partners. Throughout the entire lockdown period, communication has been strong and there has been a real sense of support and purpose. 

If you are feeling apprehensive or want to talk through some concerns, lean on your network. The chances are you’ll find a number of people with the same thoughts and also people who can offer advice or solutions to the challenges you face. Fundamentally, it’s about remembering to talk to others about what you’re going through. As business owners, we face so many challenges and responsibilities and it’s important to share and learn from others; it’s how we grow and evolve. 

Remember to take a break. 

Finally, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. We’re all bound to hit a bump in the road and other obstacles but it’s important to take things day by day. If lockdown taught us all anything, it’s to remember to take a step back and to not sweat the small stuff quite as much. 

Hopefully, we all found the thing that brings us some calm in the weeks at home (even between juggling work and childcare in many cases). Now, with the country reopening it’s doors and encouraging us to go out and enjoy it, we can now start doing the things we enjoy again away from work. If you’ve been finding it hard to switch off, try to find the thing that makes it easier to shut the laptop at the end of the day. Without breaks, we can’t hope to give our all to our beloved businesses so finding that balance is crucial

None of us can know what’s to come in the next six months. All we can do is continue to follow the government guidelines to the best of our ability, support our peers and our local businesses. Communication will continue to be a key player. If you’d like to find out more about becoming a partner of The Northern Affinity, we’d love to hear from you. Join a group of like minded business owners as we all find our way towards a new and better normal.

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