“Thermometers will rocket”, “jetstream crossing the equator”, “Britain set to be hotter than Hawaii!” There’s nothing like a hot summer to spark a wave of excitable headlines. While freelancers might be able to finish up early on a warm afternoon, and office workers spill onto patios to make the most of the rays, small business owners might not be so fortunate. As the guardian of your businesses fortunes – come rain or shine – summer might come with a sigh. With staff taking holidays, and unusual peaks and troughs in demand to contend with, it’s often difficult to think of a good time to take a few days off.
In recent research we conducted amongst UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), 49% of those who started their own business said that they did so from a desire to be more in control, 44% were eager to take advantage of more flexible hours, while 40% didn’t want to have a boss. It seems that this control and responsibility comes at a price however – 42% say that they worry about handing control over to staff when they go on holiday. The primary concern is the risk of accidental errors, as well as the worry that staff won’t have the support they need, if in doubt.
But surely, in today’s digital world, business leaders don’t need to be physically in their stores, to be able to keep an eye on proceedings? With 101 other things to think about, Cloud and app technology might fall to the bottom of the list of priorities for time pushed SMEs – yet these are the very technologies that can help you keep control remotely and help you to prioritise some down-time. They are part of our everyday lives, so it makes sense that businesses should be taking advantage of their potential too. By implementing an ePos system that is Cloud ready, or has the facility to download apps, business owners can have an overview of the company at all times, even when they are not physically in the building.
It might be that you want to log onto the system to see how takings are going or get peace of mind that all your staff have clocked in for the day. Business a little slower than you’d hoped? With the right tools to hand, you can dive into data and analytics from any online device and add deals and promotions to help increase footfall from home (or wherever you happen to be!) Similarly, why wait around in the evening spending time counting stock or cashing up, when this can be done from elsewhere.
Using cloud-based business apps gives you the ability to access all the information you need, in one place. Not only that, but it brings a flexibility to grow in a way that is affordable and manageable, with the ability to add additional functionality as the business grows and requirements change. This avoids an expensive outlay associated with committing cash to a whole new proprietary solution, providing a valuable test ground for new technologies, as well as paving the way for streamlined migrations to new technologies without disrupting the day-to-day running of the business.
It’s not just the operational aspect of running a business that can be managed in this way, but the ability to dive into data and analytics, showing crucial business metrics via a central online dashboard. It is only by taking time to analyse this wealth of data that it becomes meaningful, providing a basis to tweak strategies and approaches for continued growth and success.
Whether hospitality, health and beauty, or retail, business is fast-paced and competitive. When you’re in charge, letting go of the reins can feel like a daunting prospect – almost easier not to take a holiday, right? That needn’t be the case, with smart use of technology as an extra member of your team. See you on the beach!
By Hetal Patel, Marketing Director at First Data