Growing Your Small Business with Collaboration Tools
The past few decades have seen efficiency in small businesses benefit from a range of different technological advancements. One of the primary components of business efficiency that technology has effectively targeted is collaboration. There are a wide variety of tools that have become available to help company employees better communicate and work with one another. Without realizing it, you’ve probably incorporated a range of these tools into your business. But chances are you aren’t full aware of some of the benefits lesser known technologies can bring you. If you’re trying to unlock various ways to help improve the efficiency and productivity of your employees, you may be overlooking some basic upgrades that could potentially make the difference in your company. By being stuck in the past, you’re disallowing your business to grow.
Who is Using Collaboration Tools?
You may be wondering who is benefiting from collaboration tools on a wider scale. Quite frankly, most large companies in the United States use a wide variety of advanced collaboration tools to help improve efficiency in their workplaces. It tends to be smaller companies that are missing out on these services – many believe they don’t have the resources to invest in a collaboration program. Fortunately, they are misinformed. Implementing a variety of collaboration tools is cost effective no matter what size your company is – and it has downstream benefits that outweigh the costs.
Popular Collaboration Tools Available for Use Right Now
As previously mentioned, collaboration tools have become increasingly available in various work places. Examples of collaboration tools that have become popular in United States commerce include: internal messenger services, file sharing, video conferencing, and audio conferencing. These tools have done a great job at improving efficiency in the work place. They’ve made it easier for people to work on multiple projects at the same time, and receive constant updates on various tasks they’re involved in. In addition, they’ve saved money by allowing individuals to be less consumed with moving information. Aside from the financial aspect of collaboration, team members often feel more effective if they are working in a collaborative environment. Many employees like to feel as though they are part of a bigger team with a diverse range of skills. Using collaboration tools is an awesome way to help your employees connect and achieve a deeper sense of job satisfaction.
Examples of Effective Collaboration Use
In this section, we will overview the different ways that the previously mentioned collaboration tools can be utilized in your business:
- Internal Messenger Services – Internal messenger services have helped replace the inefficiency of internal e-mails and calling. People can now instantly message one another constantly via their work computers. This means that people don’t have to get up to talk to one another, or pick up a phone. In addition, it creates faster communication than traditional e-mail chains.
- File Sharing – File sharing has become commonplace in many large businesses. This normally comes in the form of a ‘cloud’, which stores data externally and allows it to be accessed by those that are approved. It is an awesome way to allow staff to work on large projects together, and access past data without lengthy file searching. This is one of the top ways to use your intellectual property as a resource.
- Video Conferencing – Video conferencing is another way to help people collaborate in a constructive manner. Instead of travelling to different offices or cities, you can now have meetings via video conferencing. There is a range of different software platforms that help improve the function of this type of conference call.
- Audio Conferencing – This is a rather basic capability that is still widely used by companies. It allows for a much easier set up than video conferencing, with many of the same advantages. It’s perfect for meetings with clients or staff members in separate offices.
How Collaboration Impacts Your Bottom Line
Collaboration can have a profound impact on the profitability of your company. The reason these collaboration advancements have become so popular is down to the money that they save companie Take file sharing for example. If you still use a traditional file storage method, you may find that you can spend up to hours looking for particular documents or information. One of the most valuable components of a business is the intellectual property. The quicker and more effectively you can access and share this information within the company, the more effective you can be. This can create serious improvement in your firm. Another clear example of money being saved is related to video conferencing. Instead of spending thousands of dollars travelling to another city, or wasting time driving to another office, you can host the conference call right in your office. Documents can be shared internally prior to meetings so members are informed of the agenda. Many video conference users consider a video conference as effective as an in-face meeting, especially if it is done with internal members of a company.
As mentioned previously, you’ve probably already incorporated a variety of different collaborative techniques in your small business. But chances are that you could still benefit greatly by adding additional capabilities in your work place. This is especially true if you’re trying to manage teams over multiple jurisdictions. Given the monetary savings that are also associated with having a more efficient workplace, it is only a matter of time before collaboration is required for survival. The majority of surveyed companies believe that the amount of collaboration in their work places will continue to rise over the next few years.
The most successful companies tend to be the most efficient ones – you shouldn’t underestimate the power of being able to implement a work place that cultivates effective workplace methods. If you believe your company is falling behind its competition because of different collaboration problems, research the various platforms mentioned in this article and assess if they could be of help to your business. If funding is a problem you could probably benefit from a working capital business loan that would help you invest in similar tools. Change may sound intimidating, but it is often the only thing preventing you from making your business more profitable and efficient moving forward.
Anne is a Senior Author for SBL. She began her career as an independent consultant for local businesses after graduating with a BA in Management. Since that time, she’s expanded to writing as well as consulting to spread helpful knowledge to small business owners across the country.