Top four tips to make your business digital
From binning the filing cabinet to scheduling your tweets, our no-nonsense guide outlines some simple steps to transform the way you work.
1. Take small steps to go 'paperless'
The number one reason most businesses give for not going ‘paperless’ is the groaning filing cabinet that they simply don’t have the time to tackle. The trick to overcoming that hurdle is to look forward, not back.
The first small step is to sign up for paper-free billing on all your correspondence.
Next, set up a workflow and online filing system that works for you (don’t forget a backup too).
Finally, assign a little time each week to scanning and shredding the backlog of files. Alternatively, there are now many companies offering a professional archiving, document management and data storage service for a reasonable monthly cost. The result will be a leaner, cleaner, greener office.
2. Think flexible working
Flexible working is not a trend. Companies are now legally obliged to consider flexible working requests from all employees, and there are major business benefits too.
According to a 2014 survey by FTSE 250 workplace provider Regus, 81% of business owners reported increased productivity as a direct result of flexi-location and flexi-hours; nine out of 10 say it boosts staff morale and 68% say it tops demands by prospective employees.
Of course, mobile working and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) schemes also deliver savings on office running costs.
If you want to move towards a mobile office, it’s important to consider:
- The technology you will need – video conferencing, smart phones, tablets, cloud services.
- Your business culture – if you measure employee productivity according to ‘bums on seats’ a change of mindset will be required.
- Sound policies – set the ground rules from the outset so employees and managers are clear on what to expect.
3. Stay secure
The UK is ahead of the game when it comes to information security, with research by Vanson Bourne showing that 71% of UK businesses recognise the risks, compared with 37% in Europe.
Theft of devices, data loss, hacking, malware and unsecured networks are the top five security issues for mobile workers, reports the Telegraph.
These issues are amplified for the accountancy profession, which holds particularly sensitive client data and it’s crucial to invest in secure servers and create efficient data recovery procedures so that, if the worst happens, your clients are not put at risk.
4. Be social
In this world of hyper-connectivity, it’s crucial to meet the client where they are, and more often than not that’s on the mobile web.
Social media provides a free, instant and highly engaging promotional vehicle when used wisely.
Start by writing a social media strategy that identifies the various channels and presents a business case for each. For example, you might be able to quantify the value of forming professional connections on LinkedIn, but what about Twitter and Facebook? Which platform is most widely used by your clients?
Consider the business case for activities on each network, then fully brief a member of your team to manage the content. Don’t make the mistake of handing your social media to the office junior, just because they might be a ‘digital native’. Find the right person.
Whoever manages social activity – from office junior up to senior manager - they must have excellent communication skills, a sound understanding of your brand and at least a basic understanding of the legal and regulatory environment in which you operate.
If in doubt, start small and focused – it’s better to do one thing well than take a scattergun approach across many social networks. At the end of the day, successful social media is no different to any other form of communication. The secret is to listen attentively and engage authentically.