There’s no need to be intimidated when it comes to bringing technology into your business. From GPS tracking to financial management apps, technology is not only a huge timesaver but, nowadays, it’s a cinch to use.
There’s plenty of new tech for tradies that’s designed to make life easier, from accounting apps that send and store your invoices and expense receipts digitally, to job management software that allow you to manage your business online. It just takes a bit of research on the best apps out there (more on that in this post), and some know-how to put it in place in a way that works for you and your team.
Why use new business technology?
Nobody likes sorting out receipts and filing taxes, but it’s a must-do when you’re your own boss. However, technology — in the form of new software or apps — is there to make life easier for you and your team.
Technology is helpful because it automates tasks that you currently do manually. For example, rather than sending emails to each individual client to follow up on an overdue payment, you tell an app to nudge your client with a reminder two days after an invoice is due. This takes a load off your shoulders because you don’t need to keep track of every invoice and its payment status, and saves you from writing those dreaded “just checking up on the payment…” emails.
Also, when you use apps for your business, everything’s stored in one place. Right now, you might have your jobs and clients in a spreadsheet, your team’s expenses in a folder in your car, and everyone’s payslips saved on your computer at home. Apps keep everything safe and sound in one digital platform, so you have easy access to your information from your desktop or your mobile phone.
In other words, bringing new technology into your business means you spend less time doing mundane things and more time focusing on the stuff that matters, like spending time with your family.
Tips to bring tech into your small business
Remember that saying “slow and steady wins the race”? That’s 100% true here. The trick is to start small and have patience (and lots of it). It’s important to do as much research as possible, so you’re not stuck with an app that, down the line, is a poor fit for your business.
Take a look at case studies and reviews from other business owners who have used the app, and check out any videos that show the different features. Plenty of apps also offer a free trial so you get a feel for the platform before committing to it.
Manage the change
It’s easy for your team to stick to their guns and use what they already know. That’s why you have to make the change as pain-free as possible if you want your team to get on board with a new app or software.
Opt for an app that’s simple and straightforward to use on the most common tech device out there (a smartphone) so your team are on familiar turf from the get-go. If any team members don’t have access to a smartphone, look at ways to give them access either by renting a device or providing them with a work phone.
When you’re choosing a software provider, go with one that has your back and helps you make a smooth transition. Look for a provider that offers free, personalised training and 24/7 support, so your team understand how to use the app and know where to go if they have any questions. It’s also helpful to ask your provider to set up everyone’s accounts and passwords ahead of the training. This way everything is ready to go, and your team can focus on learning how to use the tool.
Zoom in on the benefits
Unfortunately, you can’t just click your finger and put new business technology in place, especially in the tradie world. It’s going to take time before your team adjusts to using any new software or apps. On top of this, when you introduce new technology to your team, there’s a chance you’ll get pushback from the ones who want to stick to the old way. To tackle this, focus on the biggest challenges your team faces on a daily basis, and how the app will help them.
While being a tradie is rewarding, there’s a lot of stuff that sucks, like doing taxes or managing expenses. By showing your team how they benefit from the app, they’ll be more willing to give it a crack. Write a list of the biggest headaches your employees have, and how the new app makes life easier. Then use this list to address any complaints your team has.
If, for example, you want to introduce a new app for expenses, focus on the difficulties your team has right now. It’s hard for staff to keep track of paper receipts for expenses when they’re constantly moving about. They end up losing receipts and not getting reimbursed, or spending hours after work gathering all their pieces of paper. Using an app, they take photos of their receipts using their smartphone, which are saved digitally. This way, come expense time, they know exactly where their receipts are.
Pick a ‘champion’
Who are you more likely to listen to: a boss or your mate? Hopefully both, but the truth is it’s very different if your boss tells you to do something compared to when a friend tells you to do something. Rather than making it you—the boss—telling workers what to do, pick one of your team members to be the champ for change.
Your champ is the one that goes out there and helps train others on the app, and the one that others come to if they’re stuck. This should be someone who’s already tech-savvy, but it’s also important to give them the right training on the tool so they know the nuts and bolts before trying to teach others.
Geo is a job management software that helps you save time on admin, and run your business more efficiently. On top of being easy to use, Geo offers 24/7 customer support and free, personalised training for your team. This way, bringing new technology on board is a breeze. Try Geo for free today with a 30 day trial.
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