You’re going down the road at 90 miles an hour. Music is blaring. The kids are hanging out the window. You’re moving through the beautiful countryside so quickly the scenery is just a blur.
Feels a lot like running a small business, doesn’t it. And, so it goes with staying relevant and up-to-date with what matters most…
The curse and cheer for technology
Most small business owners have a love-hate relationship with technology.
It’s improved our business in many ways. For instance, our online presence can be as powerful as a Fortune 1000 company – without the colossal marketing budget. Procedures and processes can be simplified and streamlined, cutting fat out of our time and budget. Answers to our questions and solutions to our problems are only a click away.
In other ways, technology has added additional stress to the life we’re trying so desperately to balance. Thanks to technology, information is now produced at an alarming rate. Check out the infographic of Data Never Sleeps 2.0. Most importantly, all that information comes at a cost.
The Cost of Content Clutter noted that “in the past 12 months, content searches cost companies $14,252 per worker and 494 hours per worker.” Even if you’re the only “worker” in your business, that’s a chunk of time and money that could be better spent on a family vacation!
Get out from underneath. Stay on top of what matters.
How do you slash through the clutter to keep up with the latest in your industry? It’s not an easy task but here are some of the tips and tools we use to stay on top of our game.
Unsubscribe from newsletters. Along with the use of Feedly, unsubscribe to all newsletters, especially those bloated with information. You never really take the time to read them anyway, do you?
Stop notifications. Many notifications, from social media to email to messaging, are merely a distraction from that which is essential to your business.
Unsubscribe from shopping sites/emails. If you do any online shopping, it’s an immediate invitation for online sites to send their latest sales. Oy! Again, don’t have them deliver information to you – go to them when you’re ready to spend.
Use Feedly to curate content. Stay current with what’s happening in the world of business without multiple emails flooding your inbox. Use Feedly as your one-stop location.
With Feedly, you can subscribe to industry publications or valuable small business blogs (like ours). You can personalize it, share articles, and take it with you wherever you go.
Let Feedly do the work of automatically gathering what you need to know. Rather than have notifications inundate your inbox and create a distraction, hangout on Feedly – undistracted and undisturbed – with the mental and physical space you need to absorb what you read.
Finally, aggressively replace articles, blogs, etc. with those that better meet your needs.
Did we mention to subscribe only to information related to your small business goals? You don’t need to know it all, nor can you. That’s what experts are for.
Store research in Evernote. Evernote, a digital filing system, collects and organizes topics of information and inspiration for your business. The Premium version, which I highly recommend, has a robust automated search and discover feature within the app to aid your search efforts. No more saving vital information in your inbox, bookmarks, or on your office desk.
Tag and/or label emails for “reading”. For those rare instances when you want information sent to your inbox, tag and/or label the email. Create a folder. Let the information bypass your inbox and go directly to the folder. Access this folder during your strategic planning, thinking, and tinkering time.
Set up Google Alerts. For that which you need-to-know, and you need-to-know now, let Google do the work of gathering information with Google Alerts. Note to self: discontinue alerts no longer needed.
As you can see, many of these tips involve email. Although this isn’t really about email, it is about how to control the chaos of content, cut through the clutter, and create a laser-focused approach to staying on top of what you need to grow your small business.
What tools have you found useful? Inquiring minds want to know.