You might be a sole trader just starting out, or one who’s been around the traps for a while now.
The road of any sole trader, however, is a challenging one. How could it be otherwise when you’re expected to be CEO, receptionist, sales person, administrator, book-keeper and IT expert all rolled into one?
This is where technology can help. So don’t resist – the time has come to employ an virtual receptionist, a cloud-based librarian and a virtual book-keeper to help you cope with the daily mountain of tasks.
So where should you start in your quest for the latest in time-saving technology?
Virtual communication services
It’s worth considering a service like Zintel’s complete phone package, offering toll free numbers with 24/7 call answering, voice messages sent to email, and creative use of call routing, distribution and overflow. There’s no need to act as a receptionist, answering phones and directing calls, it can all be done for you in the cloud.
Get a 1300 number, 1800 number or smart number with memorable number or word sequence, and you’ve got your phone needs covered.
A book-keeper in the cloud with Xero
With pay-as-you-go features and the ability to share data with your accountant, Xero is a neat choice for the sole trader. It’s streamlined, cloud-based and accessible from any device wherever you happen to be working or playing.
Consider a mobile EFTPOS device you can carry with you everywhere. Accept payments on the spot, anywhere you have an internet connection. Most banks offer their own version, so compare the options and get moving!
Management apps for multiple tasks
If you have to be manager of every ‘department’ in your own business, you need a selection of business apps designed to take the headache out of multiple tasks.
A whole raft of online platforms and mobile apps are now vying for your attention, with endless potential to organise, record, sort and prioritise your business day.
You can customise a CRM app like Salesforce to suit your sole trading needs, while a communications app such as GoToMeeting allows you to join, host or schedule a meeting via your smart phone.
Free android and iPhone calendar apps like Sunrise and Wave serve as a comprehensive online diary, while UpTo ups the ante with the ability to switch between work and personal calendars.
Set up your virtual office
Don’t be tied to your physical office space with its old-fashioned machinery – faxes, photocopiers, scanners and clunky filing cabinets are fast becoming things of the past.
If you switch to working in the cloud, you can plan your day around essential meetings or outside tasks rather than your business premises.
You can scan documents and send and receive faxes online using your smart phone. The cloud can also act as a virtual librarian. Collaborate on and store your entire library of documents and images in the cloud with programs like Google Drive and Dropbox – all via your mobile, tablet or laptop.
If you’re a sole trader, it’s impossible to zip around the town, country or globe meeting all those valuable clients or suppliers.
Video conferencing is a great way to link up with clients and work contacts. Free use of Skype also allows you to talk face to face with far-flung customers, contacts and colleagues – wherever they happen to be.
So take the heat out of your day, and streamline your tasks and processes through innovative use of digital software.
Technology has changed. Isn’t it time you did too?