How To Improve Your Business Through Tech

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

We live in a modern world today, and that means that when running a business, everything is focused around the kind of technology you use which tends to be based around the internet. People don’t really read newspapers anymore, they look online for their daily updates. So when owning a business, you need to make sure that you are current and on trend so that your target audience can see you and learn about you. The way you plan on doing that is your choice, but the more options you leave open for yourself – the more chance you have of making your business a successful one.

Understand and implement new strategies
You should always be looking at new ways to upgrade your performance and get as much traffic as you can to your website, but if you’re not too sure on new ways of doing this, you will find it extremely hard to stand out and be different to your competition. This is why seeking out help from professionals like WGroup IT Management consulting can make such a big difference. They will be able to find the right route for you so you can get everything you want and more. You will also want to think about the little things, like the presentation on your site.

A lot of business owners tend to think the more, the better, as pages will look full of information and life that way, but this is in fact how a lot of people fail. There is no room for your pages to breathe, and it can end up looking messy, chaotic and overwhelming for your customers. So don’t be afraid of blank spaces. They will open up your design and be a lot clearer to indulge in.

Review your social media account
Social media is a brilliant way to market yourself as a business because it is not only the biggest source of news and entertainment but only usually costs time at the initial startup. There are millions and millions of individuals who all have their own personal accounts, so do some research and choose the platform your target customers frequent the most. It’s important that you manage your social media account and ensure that you are posting regularly, otherwise, people will lose interest quickly. You need to put out content that properly represents who you are as an overall brand and business, as well as what you do and what you can offer people. Then you need to think about the appropriate hashtags and captions to combine it all together. This is important as depending on your hashtags will determine the kind of people that see your content. If you need help with this, let us know! We love helping businesses of all sizes establish a social voice. 

Analyze your data and learn from it
You collect data for a reason, so never neglect the information that you’re able to receive. Data is an astounding way that you are able to really read into what you’re doing, whether it’s working, how you can improve and what you need to change. It allows you to have an insight into every single area of your business. Data can help you answer any questions that you may have along the way. But this can only work if you pay attention and learn from what it’s able to tell you. For example, data can have the ability to tell you exactly how much traffic your website has had, as specific as how many views an hour, to how many views in that week or month. This tells you a lot, especially if and when you make various changes because you will know whether traffic has then dropped as a result, or doubled. With a trial and error process of testing new things, you can then figure out what was successful, and what was a failure.

Technology is such an important thing within a business, and new advances are happening at a rapid pace. Just look at how far we’ve come in the last five years – let alone the last decade. Start small with just a website and one social media account. Give those two things the attention they deserve and see how it affects your business. 


Your Business Needs To Embrace The Digital World

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

It can be tricky to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology. A piece of tech seems to get twice as fast, twice as powerful or half the size every six months, on in the case of the iPhone bigger every release. This can be especially challenging when you’re running a small business. As the business world shifts more and more into digital territory, it can feel as though you’re getting left behind. But technology is not your enemy! New technologies can provide your business with just the boost it needs to compete in today’s market. Here are some ways in which you can use technology to keep your company on the cutting edge.

Smartphones and tablets
Chances are you already have at least one of these. You might even be reading this on one of them. Smartphones and tablets are the perfect piece of tech for any business owner who’s constantly on the go. It’s pretty rare that you’ll have time to regularly sit down at a desk to check your emails or schedule. That’s where your phone or tablet come to the rescue. You can check any information, respond to emails and arrange meetings all without interrupting your workday for even a moment.

The cloud
For any small business owner, storage can be a nightmare. The last thing you want is to find yourself buried under mountains of storage data. This can slow down your networks and make accessing vital information for more hassle than it needs to be. That’s where the cloud comes in. The cloud is a server farm that provides massive amounts of space to store files and data. It keeps them safe and secure and ensures that you can always find the information you need. When thinking about storage solutions, make sure you find a cloud provider that works with your business. Working with companies like Ntiva IT services and support is a great idea. That way not only are you in a better position to start using cloud services, but you’re also going to be able to embrace the IT side of your business much more confidently.

Digital Advertising
Gone are the days of paper ads and billboards. Why bother when there’s a superior and more cost effective method of advertising at your fingertips. For small businesses, the ability to focus advertising to be location specific is a gift. You can provide advertising that targets people in a small radius around the location of your business. This lets you avoid pointlessly advertising to people who will never be in a position to use your services. The best thing is you don’t need to be an expert in marketing to utilize digital advertising. You just need to do a little research into where to best direct it. Facebook is a great place to start. The algorithms on the site determine where users are located and address certain pieces of marketing towards them. This way you can make sure you’re targeting the right customers in the right places.

The truth is that running any kind of business in the modern world is something that relies on your ability to connect with the pace of the modern world and if that’s something that you’re not able to do then that’s going to be a serious problem. You need to be sure that you’re staying as up-to-date as possible when it comes to the digital side of your business. Otherwise, you’re just going to end up getting left behind by the competition.

Snow ice cream

It’s been almost non-stop snow here for the last three days. As much as I love snow, this is wet and heavy and too much for our snow blower. Which means lots is shoveling. Plus, the power went out for 17 hours which was not fun. The power is back on and we are back to enjoying the winter wonderland.

Plus it’s the perfect snow for snow ice cream!

Unlike other recipes, this one is super simple and just two ingredients: Snow and maple syrup.

Scoop the clean snow (we usually put a bowl out while it is still snowing) into a bowl, pour a few drizzles of your favorite maple syrup and stir.

That’s it. Really. Get a spoon and enjoy!

No Spend January

Sometimes it takes a little restriction to make you think about where you are spending your time and resources.

We’ve chosen to implement a no spend January to get our finances back on track after the holiday season. It works for us in the same ways Dry January and January Clean up works for others.

This is the second time officially going spending free for a month though we have gone for zero spend days and weeks in the past. There are lots of tricks and tips I’ve used to make it just as fun as our regular spending months. A new challenge this year is the four-year-old is well aware that we aren’t eating out in the same way and she’s not getting extra surprises, so we’ve had to do a lot more talking about budgets and expenses and needs and wants this time around. She’s learning about delayed gratification and we are relearning that right along with her.

The following are the “rules.” Of course, these are flexible to meet your needs.

You can spend money only on necessities:

  • gasoline
  • groceries
  • rent or mortgage
  • utilities
  • insurance (car, home, etc.)
  • childcare
  • other fixed expenses (for us this is Netflix, Roku and iTunes)

You aren’t spending money on:

  • no dining out (lunches or dinner)
  • no clothes shopping
  • no trips to the movie theater, amusement park, museums, etc.
  • no coffee shops (see dining out)
  • no Amazon purchases (we do make heavy use of the save for later feature)

For us, a no spend month boils down to: is this a want or a need. If it is a need, then that’s the end of it. If it is a want, then we wait and if it is something we can live without for the 31 days, we reevaluate if it is something that can wait longer.

We use what are now the extra funds to pay down some debt (I still see you student loans, more than 10 years later) and save for our planned activities later in the year. Knowing the extra amounts have a home makes it a little easier and a bit like a game to see how much we can add to these two buckets in a month.

Though our daughter is disappointed we aren’t having the occasional meal at her favorite play place or beloved restaurant that share a name with her favorite Disney Junior character, she is thoroughly enjoying newly created movie nights at home and making the regular dinners special by eating by candlelight.

We aren’t adding extra things to the grocery cart and are trying to stick to a decreased grocery budget. When the inevitable whining about not getting to add something to the cart or getting to go out to eat happens, we are talking with her about how we are working to save money for fun things we have planned later in the year. That we are saving and saving is as important as spending. More importantly, that sticking to a budget can be fun!

Ten days in, how are we doing?

Confession, we’ve done better in the past. J had a work trip and had to spend extra on meals while he was traveling. Some of this will be reimbursed but some of it won’t. I caved on an 80 percent off sale at our local craft store to make this special snowflake wreath craft.

BUT in this specific situation, I sold a light fixture on a local Facebook swap and am still ahead about $10, so that’s a win!

We saved a golden ticket for a free meal at a restaurant and used that to celebrate a milestone event. It was fun going to a place we don’t usually go to. We did pay tip so the leftover $10 went to that but it still means aside from the necessary expenses and J’s trip, we’re meeting our goals.

We’ve learned in the past that no spend months lead to less spending in the next months as we are all better able to articulate is this a want or a need and the art of delayed gratification.

Are you doing a detox in an area of your life? Let us know how it’s going! I’ll update on our no spend after January 31!

Don’t be afraid to outsource!

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, outsourcing can be a veritable lifesaver. If you’ve been chipping away at your business and doing your utmost to keep it afloat, but you still need extra help on board, you should consider outsourcing. It can be a way to get some new perspective and to fulfill short term needs. 

It Highlights The Skills Gap

Nobody likes to think that they have a lack of skills. But when you are struggling with an aspect of your business, you will find that you are lacking strength in one or more areas. GOod for you for realizing that! The situation might also be a lack of resources instead of a lack of skill, outsourcing can help with that too. There are many companies that struggle as far as technology concerned. Companies like Houk Consulting work with businesses to ensure that their IT strategy is effective. Technology is a constantly evolving presence, and now, outsourcing to an IT company that knows what they’re talking about isn’t just common sense, but it’s essential to the survival of your company.

It Saves You Money

Obviously, it saves you money. Instead of hiring a full time or part time employee, you can hire someone to do a specific job at a fraction of the cost, and arguably, with better quality. While it shows you the skills you need in the business, saving money is a fantastic short-term solution, because it gives you that opportunity to accumulate knowledge in your skills gap, but also how you can better spend your money.

It Provides An Outsider Perspective

And as our resources are handed over to an external entity, it gives us that third-party perspective. They can see what we’re doing wrong, even if we can’t see it ourselves. It’s always beneficial to have another opinion, but when we’re so insular and used to our own ways, we may not have the advantage of an outsider perspective. It’s important to have this, not just so our faults can be highlighted, but it shows us what we can do out there in the big wide world.

Outsourcing is essential. We need the tools in order to complete pressing tasks, but we also need to know what we lack in. Outsourcing is a cheap and effective approach to this, whether it’s reinventing your website or it’s handing over the reins to someone who changes significant processes. Outsourcing can be a big boon to your business. It’s unfair to say that it’s using cheap labor because when we are beginning our business adventure, we need all the help we can get. Outsourcing can provide you with that help, not to mention reducing your overhead in the short term so you can get a perspective of the knowledge gaps and what you need to grow your business further.