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How Small Business Owners in Cottage Grove, MN Can Transform Their Business Through Digital Improvements

Innovation in a business can primarily be of two kinds. First, it can involve bringing new ideas to the table such as creating a new product, changing operational processes, etc. The second kind involves utilizing technology to improve business practices and transform the workplace. In this article by the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce, we’ll hone in on the second category and explore the best tools which can be utilized to innovate businesses.


Cloud-Based Collaboration Apps


As reported by GoRemotely, up to 75% of employees consider collaboration in the workplace to be of high importance. An effective way to achieve strong collaboration across the organization is to use cloud-based collaboration apps. A prominent example of such an application is Google Docs. The app can be used by employees to achieve seamless collaboration when working on projects. Documents created can be shared in an instant with stakeholders who can then make real-time edits to the content. Similarly, cloud storage apps such as Dropbox and Google Drive allow businesses to store data in a centralized location, which Cloud Academy notes significantly reduces delays and increases productivity


As reported by Webroot, using these applications also helps businesses reduce costs. Uploading data online eliminates the need for printing documents and a physical location to store them. This means no more spending on paper, ink, or storage which can amount to thousands of dollars a year.


Digital Safety Measures


The more businesses transition to digital tools, the more vigilant they must also be about cyber security. You never want to compromise your - or your client’s - information. Start with the simple practice of training your employees to identify suspicious emails and phishing scams. Then, enable multi-factor authentication processes for your programs. 


It’s also safer to send files as password protected PDFs to reduce any tampering. Make sure that your employees know how to merge and password protect their files. One way to combine PDF files is to use a merge tool. In this tool, simply select the files you want to combine, put them in the correct order, and then select “Merge.” Once you have the completed file, go to “Tools” and select “Protect.” The option to encrypt will appear. Selecting “Encrypt with Password” will let you set a password before sharing your file.


Online Time-Management Tools


From managers, team leads, to employees, time-management apps can be used by everyone to prioritize tasks, create to-do lists, and track performance. Depending on which area of work individuals need help in, they can consider using the following type of time-management tools:


  • Online Calendar Apps: Getting in and out of calls is a common fixture of today’s remote working age. With a calendar app, employees are informed in advance regarding their schedule and can plan their work day accordingly. Additionally, it ensures everyone joins the calls on time, which leads to fewer delays and more work.


  • List Making Apps: One of the best ways to tackle difficult projects is to break them down into smaller tasks that can be finished systematically. List-making apps such as Trello, help employees achieve just that and ensure the business always meets its goals on time.


  • Pomodoro Timer: This application is based on the famous Pomodoro technique which requires individuals to set a task, work on it for 25 minutes and then take a mandated short break of five minutes. Following this technique helps prevent burnout and leads to higher productivity.


Process Mining Tools


Achieving maximum efficiency is a goal that all businesses aspire to reach and using process mining is the best way to increase your chances of making it a reality. A process mining tool analyses the end-to-end processes of your business and provides insights that can be used to reduce inefficiencies, make operational changes and automate repetitive tasks. 


Here’s how process mining tools work:

  • Each software used by the business, such as a customer relationship management tool (CRM), creates an event log. 


  • The process mining tool reads the event log of all software used by the organization to create a workflow. Analyzing the workflow, the tool can accurately track your end-to-end processes and find bottlenecks.


  • The tool converts the data it processes into visualizations that can be easily understood. These visualizations will serve as the basis for you to make necessary changes across the organization.


The main benefit of a process mapping exercise is that it constantly repeats this process and provides businesses with a real-time picture of where they stand. Additionally, the changes will help the business significantly reduce expenses, provide better service to customers, and increase the accuracy of decisions.


Implementing these digital improvements provide numerous benefits to the business without any significant drawbacks. While teams will take time to adjust to using new tools, in the long run your business performance is bound to improve and surpass competitors.

Local businesses are embracing technology – join the conversation by becoming a member of your local Chamber of Commerce. You’ll be immediately tapped into helpful business resources, enjoying all the perks that come with joining a group of individuals who truly want to see your business succeed.