If you were hiring a tradesman to do a job for you, let's say a builder, what tools would you prefer he use? A plain screwdriver or an electric one? A hammer with loose nails or an electric one? The latter two requiring a single push of a button to do the job vs. the former with repetitive hand movements.
I'd say the latter. More efficient and time saving. And when you pay by the hour - you certainly want that.
If you were looking to buy a house, one of your requirements could be that you want good inside/outside flow. So you can enjoy both your home and the backyard.
But when you think about the way you design the way you work at the office - is it designed also for good inside/outside flow? Meaning your ability to work equally efficiently outside of the office, communicate well with people outside your firm and staff not on premise.
The point is, that still so many, so very, very many businesses - large and small - are not exploring what is available to them in terms of easy, everyday technology to increase effectiveness and the in/out flow.
So I'd like to point out three places to look to if you want to improve time management, communication, customer service and lower overheads.
Look up at the cloud
The internet and the new software available give you this computing/communication flow. The tip of the iceberg is Office 365 for all your Microsoft Documents with the free SkyDrive storage of files. Alternatively you have all the free / or paid Google products - Gmail, Calendar, Maps, Drive (documents, spreadsheets, presentations), Hangouts for online video conferencing, Sketchup (3D drawing), YouTube, Wallet, Scratchpad. All these Google products are sharable within and outside your business. You have Dropbox for document storage / sharing with clients. In essence you extend your computer from simply being on the floor of your office to being centralised with access anywhere.
Look in your hand
There should be a smartphone or tablet in it for when carrying your laptop isn't feasible. Why? Two reasons.
Convergence and the APPS (applications). By convergence I mean in your palm you can hold well over 17 different electronic devices rolled into one. Phone, Video, Camera, Stereo, Alarm clock, Flashlight, GPS (directions), maps, email, internet, computer. The apps - well there are over 900,000 in the iTunes Store alone. Not to mention personal aids like map my run, diet, fitness and the like, for any industry you'll have hundreds of apps. From measurement for real estate to Oriface Flow for engineering to a calculator for rotational moulding. If you don't take the time to explore what is there, you'll never know what you're missing out on.
Look to your fingertips
The biggest boost to time management and improved customer service, profits and sales is believe it or not, simply learning the features that are built into the software that you have already purchased. By taking the time to learn and explore what is behind those menus or ribbons, you can literally free up weeks a year wasted puttering on the computer. Multiply that amongst staff you have - savings in the thousands.
* One of the biggest time wasters In Excel is splitting first and last names apart. Here's my one minute video showing you how-to.
* Have you switched to Gmail's new inbox? - here's a video on it.
*Outlook's drag and drop and activities - how you turn your contacts into a CRM program again a one minute how-to video.
As you can see, all it takes is looking a bit deeper around you at technology to improve your bottom line.