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Do you have a business or technology question? Send it to ask@NCET.org and if selected, NCET’s panel of business and technology experts will answer it in our monthly column.
How to choose the right business software?
This is an important question, especially if you are considering any new business software. I find that too many companies work around their systems, rather than getting the leverage and efficiency they should have with such tools.
Here are some symptoms of the problem:
- “I didn’t know it could do that.”
- “The system won’t/can’t let us do this.”
- “We cannot get this information.”
- “There is no report for that.”
- “We haven’t finished closing the books since (3, 4, 5 months ago).”
- “We have to enter this data manually or into the other system.”
- “The inventory is wrong.”
To find out if this is an opportunity for you, determine how you want to doing business – your ideal process. Identify the information you need to make decisions, making sure you’re not just getting raw data rather than information.
Once you have your process map and information needs, take a close look at how your current system(s) supports both. Does the system really match the process? Are there any unwanted manual steps? Do you or could you create a one-page dashboard that tells you the health of your business and shows the issues you need to fix?
If the answer to these questions is no, it might be time to look for better systems. There are many software tools available, many of which are tailored to specific businesses. Take a look and see if there is a solution that can really get your process humming and giving you the information you really want!
Peter Williamson owns his own exit planning and business coaching companies. Peter has 15 years of experience coaching business owners and is a BEI Certified Exit Planner, ActionCOACH Certified Business Coach and Business Valuation Institute Certified Business Valuation Advisor. More information at peterwilliamson.actioncoach.com.
I use several different social media platforms. Should I use a social media scheduling tool?
When I consult with businesses and nonprofits and hear that they are posting live every day, across all platforms, I salute their personal courage. Then I ask them if they have ever considered using a planning tool. (The answer is always no, they haven’t.) Then I ask them to imagine a world in which they focus one to two hours a week to schedule one to three weeks of content in a single sitting on all their social networks. How much time and mental energy would this save them? The relief in their eyes says it all.
Planning content in advance eliminates the burden of having to be creative on demand. It allows you to capitalize on your most creative time, on your schedule. Adopting a scheduling tool will also save you from having to log in to all your social media accounts separately. Many social media planners even offer a free trial, so you can figure out which tool best suits your needs. Although they all do relatively the same thing (plan your social media), their prices, additional services, and reports vary.
To find the right scheduler, ask yourself these questions: How many channels do you need to support? What level of reporting do you need? What is your skill set? Are you a beginner and need something very simple? Based on your answers, you’ll have several schedulers to choose from, including SocialPilot, Nimble, AgoraPulse, Hootsuite, and many more. And, once you start using a scheduler, you’ll never want to go back to posting one channel at a time. #To promise.
Cinammon Davies is account manager for LOCALiQ, part of the USA Today Network (www.localiq.com/markets/nevada/) and vice president of social media and newsletters for NCET.
NCET (www.NCET.org) is Northern Nevada’s largest nonprofit organization that hosts educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology.