• Phyllis Harbinger

Are your systems and Technology still current?

Anyone who knows me, is aware that while I love technology, I tend to be very loyal to what has worked for me and it is hard to change. Case in point, it took me years to move to the Cloud with DesignManager – my design business software.

I have been better at making the transition to newer technologies in the past few years, mostly through the urging of my mostly Millennial and Gen Z team! If you stick with something just because it works, you may be missing out on increased productivity, ease of workflow and new business opportunities. Many of our old stand-by tools have become obsolete. The fax machine, the answering machine, and others which we will address below.

Fax machines and phone systems

I do not know any designers still using a fax machine since E-fax has entered our lives. It makes it so much easier and quicker to get documents transferred safely. Be sure to always use an encrypted service!

Do you remember when you needed a phone system designed for your office? This was a heavy hit to many designers’ budgets. Not only did you need to purchase a significant array of equipment and phones, you had to hire a special vendor to implement it all and then train your team. Whether you leased or bought outright, it was a huge investment. As we move into 2020, things have changed.

You can now have a virtual phone system, such as VirtualPBX, which can cost as little as $10 per month per mailbox. Other vendors include Grasshopper and RingCentral, and they all provide the benefits of having an in-house system but they operate through the Cloud. Your clients and vendors calls will be answered by an automated attendant and then they can then choose from a dial-by-name directory to reach the desired party. Miraculously, through technology, calls are transferred to smartphones or purchased units. Voicemails can be stored online for historical reference and all messages are forwarded via text and email so you never miss a beat! This is especially helpful for smaller firms with smaller budgets!

In-office accounting services

I used to have a bookkeeper who came to my office weekly. One thing that I did earlier than many of my coaching clients, was to move to a virtual model back in 2008. At that time I was doing screensharing through my computer on Join.me. Now with Quickbooks being online, my bookkeeper can log in at any time and update my records and get me ready for Sales Tax reports, Worker’s comp audits, P&L at the end of the year and so much more. The Cloud has offered us flexibility and has lessened the need for face-time with many professional vendors.

Credit Card vs. Mobile Payments

I have been making payments for clients with credit cards for at least a decade but the credit card machine will soon be a thing of the past. Many people are opting for mobile payments and new mobile read credit card scanners, which have been used all over Europe for quite some time now, are coming but many Americans are resisting the change. If you wish to reach more Millennials who have a new status in our consumption realm, you wish to lower your transaction fees and get on the technology bandwagon, than you may wish to explore this option for the new year! Mobile payments are more convenient, more secure!

There are many technologies that you are using in your business which will become a distant memory in the next few years. The new year is a time to take stock and make sound decisions rather than investing your money in the wrong place.

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