We all know how hard it is running a small business and many business owners struggle to get away for a holiday. For those of us who need or want to still have some control when they are away, here are 7 technologies that can really make a big difference and enable business owners to get away more often.
- Skype: I tried Skype a few years ago, and the call quality was pretty ordinary, so I only used it for long distance calls. The quality has improved dramatically, so it is a really good way to control the costs of phone calls when you are overseas.
- Portable Wireless Router with a SIM card: To use Skype, you will need internet access, which can cost a fortune. Both mobile phone calls and internet access are very expensive overseas. On a recent trip, one of our friends racked up over $3,000 of internet charges, just by downloading emails over a 5 day period! The solution to this is to get a local SIM card with included internet. Put the SIM card into a portable wireless router and your phones and laptops will be connected wherever you are. Mine fits in my pocket so I can still check emails even when out and about.
- Yammer: Yammer is a great free tool, a bit like Facebook for businesses, people can post updates and questions. It is designed to increase communication between different teams and groups and we have used it to increase communication with those employees who are offsite more often than not.
- Video Cameras: If you need to see what is going on in the office or factory when you are not there, video camera technology costs have decreased significantly, with single camera systems costly less than $400 installed, fully viewable from remote locations and even with 2 way sound. You can even view the camera from your iPhone or Smartphone.
- Remote Desktop: Need access to your spreadsheets, word documents and other files? No problems with a range of remote access solutions, including a Terminal Server and Remote Desktop. Many of our customers connect into their network whether they are at home or across the other side of the world.
- Digital Dashboards: When you are away on a holiday you want to devote the shortest amount of time possible to running your business. We use a digital dashboard which displays the key metrics for the company, so that when I am away I can find out exactly how the company is going in just 30 seconds.
- Acer Ultrabook: When you are overseas, you don’t want to carry around a big laptop, so we use Acer Ultrabooks. They are very light and have good battery life. Perfect for life on the road. With Solid State Hard drives, they are very quick to boot up, which is great when you are trying to sending a few quick emails at the airport or on the go.
So hopefully there is something to help you be a little more productive when you are on the road, or if you haven’t had a holiday in 10 years, hopefully some of these tips can help you to take a week or two off. Go on – you deserve it!