How many times have you heard the saying, “time is money”? It’s never been more true for the small business owner who simply can’t afford to waste time. Technology offers countless opportunities to maximize efficiency within your business operations, and therefore, save you time. When your business is operating efficiency, it gives you more time to market your business and increase sales. How Technology Can Maximize Business Efficiency Computers and technology allow for faster processing of data, easier retrieval of information, and in some cases – automation can reduce or replace physical employees. When people perform tasks by hand, it can be time consuming and full of human errors. When technology is used for repetitive operations, mistakes are reduced or eliminated, and the time it takes to complete the task is greatly reduced. Consider how credit cards are accepted as payment with modern technology compared to the past: once upon a time, employees had to take a physical impression of the credit card with a little hand tool that pressed the card against carbon paper and transferred the image onto a piece of paper. Today, credit cards are swiped through a small card reader and payment is made. Orders are processed much faster, making it possible for employees to service more customers in the same amount of time. In addition to making processes quicker, technology also makes it easy to keep information up to date. Instead of searching through a room of file cabinets and trying to guess how information was stored in order to update a customer address, a few clicks of the mouse and can pull up a customer file from a database. What used to take several minutes to an hour can now be done instantly. When you know what technology can do for your business, chances are you’ll want to implement technological solutions to make your own business more efficient. Here are some ideas to get you started… Web Based Project Management Systems Due to the mobile nature of many modern businesses, it doesn’t make sense to maintain paper-based files and calendars to keep track of information and to-do lists. There are hundreds of web-based project management systems, which can be accessed from any laptop, tablet computer, or mobile device with an internet connection. You can choose simple web based project management systems that simply create to-do lists for yourself that you can access wherever you are to stay on task, like BrainDumpage; or a system with a complete suite of management tools like a calendar, projects organized by client, to do lists that allow multiple users to receive tasks and assigments, time sheets to track time spent per project or per client, and even systems which allow password access for each client to view progress. Basecamp is ideal for a full range of web based project management tools, if you manage multiple clients and projects at a time, and if you need multiple people within your organization to access projects and to-do lists. Automate Tasks to Save Time Think about how you currently do business. Are there tasks that you do over and over again, that you could automate with technology? For example, internet businesses often generate newsletters to people interested in their products or services. It doesn’t make sense to write a new email to welcome each person as they subscribe to your mailing list – so you would write your welcome email, and use a newsletter service, like Aweber, to automatically send the letter when someone new subscribes. Different types of technology can help your business maximize efficiency and productivity, decrease expenses and increase profitability. Don’t use technology just for the sake of using technology, though. Consider how your business operates and determine which technologies will benefit your organization in terms of saving time and increasing your bottom line.