Debbie is running a Future Proof Your Business Workshop on November 26 in Whangarei and December 3 in Central Auckland. Click here to go into the draw to win a registration.

Back in 2006, the week before New Year's Eve, I got an exciting phone call. It was the editor of The Herald on Sunday, asking me for an interview and ideas for a feature article on making New Year's Eve resolutions.

With every comment I made, such as how to set goals, how to get focus; lose weight; how to handle your family; she said 'no, too common'. Having struck out, and as she was about to hang up, my last desperate attempt was 'I have learnt computer tricks that enable me to personally do in ten minutes, what takes others three staff members and five days to do'. This got her hooked. Click here for a photo of the cover page this statement is absolutely true.

Last Sunday I mined my LinkedIn connections and very cleverly (I might add) got over 10 per cent of my 3500 connections to happily subscribe to my newsletter. Pete from the US wrote (a little tongue in cheek) 'my wife is the slave driver here that keeps me focused on her chores rather than the fun things I'd rather do. I've been in IT for 40 years, but I always get a fresh perspective from you. The economic conditions in our region are poor and even my wife can't find me a job these days (she's in recruiting), so it's back to entering the 200 contacts into the new recruiting database.'

I responded 'Wait a minute Pete you're not entering those 200 contacts into the database one by one manually are you?' 'Yes, they're all on paper business cards', he replied.


I wrote back 'Why not buy the smartphone app Camcard? It's $4.00. It not only scans business cards, it enters them into your Outlook database as well allowing you to export them all into an Excel file. This delighted him! Just think of the volume of time saved for him personally typing 200 cards with those small fonts into the computer, vs scanning them. He can also have that fun he wants to have.

In October, in Sydney, spending a day consulting to a client, she explained one of her problems. Several part time staff members that handle enquiries and leads. They didn't have a central database they all could work on.

My quick, easy, free solution which has worked beautifully for them was simply this. Why not open a new Gmail account i.e. This will give you access to Google Drive which has the equivalent of Excel, Word and PowerPoint and online forms. Even though the documents and files are sharable, it's easy for everyone to have one password. Then keep the central lead database online in the Google Drive spreadsheet which will be available to any staff member. Anywhere. Anytime. I know every IT professional will hate this advice but you know for businesses with simple needs it works brilliantly!

The point of these little vignettes is simply that knowledge is power; you don't know what you don't know and finally even simple technology solutions can have a significant effect. It is non-negotiable today in business not be be 'smart' with technology. Knowledge and tools such as smartphone apps, online software (the cloud), everyday Office software. This Power will cut costs. Improve sales. Save masses of time. Keep your business going and personally help you lead a less stressed life. Consider entering the contest to attend my workshop if you're in the drivable Auckland area.