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Chances are that when you dreamed of owning your own business you didn’t envision yourself overlooking the many wheels that keep the machine running. But being on top of all of the operations is key to having a successful business.

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“The devil is in the details” as the saying goes, and a mistake that occurs in the running of your small business is likely to come back later to haunt you. Ensuring the effective management of your daily operations will improve productivity and ultimately affect your bottom line.

Managing and optimising day-to-day operations is one of the most time-consuming tasks for any small business owner. How well the operations in your business function also has a direct influence on your finances and can be the difference between a thriving venture and one struggling to make ends meet.

As clichéd as the saying ‘time is money’ sounds, it’s one that’s very much applicable to the small business owner trying to find their feet in the marketplace. The more efficiently you manage your daily tasks, the faster you’ll be able to produce your products or deliver a service to your customers. By getting a handle on the management of daily tasks in your small business, you free up more time and resources to streamline and optimise business processes, improve overall productivity, minimise costs and develop your financial expertise.

Operations that need to be tracked daily:

  • Handling finances: Tracking finances is one of the most important daily tasks of any business. Knowing where every cent goes at all times ensures you don’t lose track of your finances.

  • Managing your employees: Managing a staff contingency is not only time-consuming, but also requires you to pay attention to ensure that you comply with labour laws and motivate workers to be as productive as possible.

  • Administration: Information is at the core of every operation in your small business. Ensuring that you address all administration tasks when and as required will prevent you from falling behind and having to work through mountains of paperwork.

  • Purchasing stock and supplies: A shortage of supplies and stock can negatively affect your entire production process and subsequently your bottom line. This could result in failure to deliver on time, causing damage to your pocket and your reputation.

  • Servicing customers: Your customers are the reason you are able to operate your business in the first place. Ensuring that they are happy with your products and services is a top priority that requires your attention. The better you take care of your customers, the more likely they are to use you again.

Thanks to the advent of technology, many of the tedious and time-consuming tasks related to the functioning of your business can be simplified. Your goal is to improve productivity and there are many online applications that help you to not only track your business operations, but also measure productivity.

Here are some of the FREE online project management applications for your small business:

Trello– this popular project management tool is appreciated for its simplicity and easy online collaboration functionality. Projects are tracked on boards and can be moved along from their initiation to completion. Sub-tasks can also be added to each card for more complex and in-depth project management.

Feedcamp– a flexible project management tool that can be applied to personal projects. Feedcamp’s easy-to-use dashboard provides you with a to-do list and a discussion tab to allow you to communicate with others working on a project.

Asana– the more veteran of the project management applications, which has been used and trusted by big businesses across the world. It’s slightly more complex than Trello and Feedcamp, but offers more features and capabilities. The good news is that small businesses get free access to Asana if you have 15 or fewer users.

While free project management tools are a great asset to help simplify daily operations, nothing comes close to a comprehensive suite of tools that ensure you can effectively manage your business information securely, and communicate effectively with your staff and customers. Office 365’s range of trusted and powerful applications and tools such as OneNote, PowerPoint, Excel and Word enhance your business operations by allowing you to track tasks, communicate and collaborate remotely.

Office 365 is a centralised workspace for all the tools you need. Some of the benefits of this technology include access to familiar tools, such as Word, Powerpoint, Excel etc, on common devices, including Mac, PC, iPhones, Android phones, tablets etc. 

OneDrive for Business enables online and offline access and automatic syncing of files. This technology works well for small-to-mid-sized businesses, allowing teams to share content and videos with SharePoint and to use Exchange, Outlook and Skype for Business as well as a private social networking tool. Worry less about security, work easier with access from wherever you might be, and enjoy improved collaboration. There is ongoing support when you need it and with 1 terabyte of space, you can be sure you will have all the capacity you need.

With Office 365  you can improve productivity and boost your bottom line. Contact us for more helpful information on running a small business or download our South African entrepreneur’s guide to running a business.

South African Entrepreneurs Guide	to Running a Business