Those people who use technology effectively, confidently and safely also tend to do their core business much better, regardless of their industry. This is because technology allows them to work smarter (and not harder).

So, here are some tips and tools to help you to do the same:

Have a clear vision

CCO Public Domain Image: by marionberaudias - http://pixabay.com/en/vision-bezel-sky-light-sun-452227/
CCO Public Domain Image: by marionberaudias – http://pixabay.com/en/vision-bezel-sky-light-sun-452227/

Regardless of whether you are a home-based business owner, employ others or are employed, having a clear vision about where you are headed is very important. You have probably heard this time and time again, but until you have clearly defined what you want to achieve, then you don’t really know what you are aiming for.

Your vision does not have to be about taking over the world.  Concentrate on what intrinsically motivates you, like:

  • What am I passionate about that others are struggling with?
  • What piques my interest that can help others achieve their success?
  • What allows me to be successful while still enjoying my life?

Tips and tools:

Allow yourself the time to think through and develop your ‘clear vision’.  Factor in some “non-thinking time” like going for a walk or to the gym, or driving somewhere.  Basically, anywhere where you are away from a screen or interacting with others.  Use this time to ask myself the above questions.

To ensure you capture your thoughts as soon as you are ready, use the free Evernote note-taking app on your mobile phone.

Evernote also allows you to take notes at events or meetings. Evernote will even populate the note’s title with the appointment you have booked into your online diary.  You can take photos and attach them to your notes, as well as set yourself deadlines or reminders that Evernote will prompt you about later.

To help manage your digital notes, you can add keywords or tag your notes for easy searching.  The premium option of Evernote offers so much more such as being able to quickly add information from a business card to your mobile phone contacts list simply by taking a photo of it.

Have an active online presence

CCO Public Domain Image: by Geralt - http://pixabay.com/en/online-social-media-web-internet-523230/
CCO Public Domain Image: by Geralt – http://pixabay.com/en/online-social-media-web-internet-523230/

More and more people are going online to interact and buy online.  Having an active online presence means that you are social proofing yourself.  That is, letting people know what ‘street cred’ that you have in your area of interest.  Having an active online presence helps to open up new business leads or opportunities to work with others.

At a minimum, you should have a professional online presence in Linkedin or a social media site where people in your network frequent. Ideally, you should also have a website or a blog where you can share interesting information.  Being active on online by contributing to conversations in online groups means that you are helping people understand who you are and why you are the right person to be doing business with.

Tips and tools

Having an non-active online presence is worse than having no online presence at all, so schedule time into your diary on a weekly basis to keep it up to date.

There are many ways that you can have an active online presence:

  • Create a personalised or business website and/or share your interests or personal knowledge through regular blog posts using WordPress.  If you are not so keen to build and manage your own website/blog, partner with others and offer to do regular guest blog posts for them
  • Manage your professional and personal online profiles on Facebook, Linkedin and/or Twitter profiles via Hootsuite.
  • Do presentations at conferences and/or networking events and share your presentation slides via Slideshare
  • Share other online resources like photos and video through places like Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube

Have relationships and experiences

CC0 Public Domain Image: by tobyworth - http://pixabay.com/en/girl-boy-man-pair-dawn-handshake-342527/
CC0 Public Domain Image: by tobyworth – http://pixabay.com/en/girl-boy-man-pair-dawn-handshake-342527/

In our social media obsessed world, people want to feel special and build a connection with the others.  They see what they are buying and what they are doing as an extension of themselves.  Being online gives you the opportunity to know and understand your colleagues, customers and clients on a more personal basis.  This gives you a major advantage over larger businesses or other business managers.

Partnering with others outside your organisations is a great way of generating new ideas and streamlining current practices.  Working with others to achieve a common business goal means that you can double or triple your potential network and business opportunities.  You can also co-promote each other’s business.

Tips and tools

Having relationships and experiences is all about working with others by using:

  • Google calendar to schedule meetings with people.  Using Google calendar invites mean meeting attendees know exactly what time a meeting is regardless of time zones, what they are meeting about, as you can add meeting notes and links as well as where you are meeting as you can add a location or a link to a Google Hangout
  • Google Hangout is an online meeting space so you can meet with people regardless of their location
  • Google Docs within Google Drive allows you to plan, construct and collaborate with others on business ventures by creating the supporting documentation to plan together in real time.  Everyone then has the up-to-date version of the working document

Have a safe approach

elhombredenegro - https://www.flickr.com/photos/77519207@N02/6818192898
CC-BY Image: by elhombredenegro – https://www.flickr.com/photos/77519207@N02/6818192898

Using technology certainly helps you work smarter, but this also means that you need to know how to work safely online.

Tips and tools

Most online websites take every measure possible to ensure that your information is safe and private, but you also need to ensure your information remains secure by:

  • Having strong passwords which use a minimum of 8 characters, a capital letter(s), letters, numbers and symbols
  • Not sharing your devices with others, especially family members who tend to use them for fun things like games which may not be very secure
  • Ensuring your device’s operating system and antivirus are up to date, as is your web browser and any other software that you are using, as these updates contain the latest anti-hacking software

Follow these tips and tools and learn how to work smarter to achieve your professional and personal goals.

This post was inspired by a recent presentation at a meeting of the Northern Business Women’s Network.  View the presentation slides here.

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Email us now or call on 0400 732 270 to get started on saving time and working smarter through technology by utilising our  “Be Ahead of the Pack” E-business Professional Support Services.

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Tips and tools for working smarter
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