Master technology to be at your best in business

This is how running my small business used to feel. I was pulled in every direction, and everything wanted my attention at the same time. If I didn’t give it, the whole thing fell apart.  Not to mention that it was heavy. And hot. And all of the things I had never intended it to be when I started out, says blogger Stuart Pearcey.

The trouble with being the only person in a business, or one of just a few, is that you just get sucked into tasks, and find that you have to attend to stuff you don’t feel capable of attending to, but it has to be done, even if you don’t have the skills.

And I had to do it well, or people wouldn’t pay. Why should they? I can understand that.

The one-man band in our picture is giving it large with his limbs moving in every direction at once. I’m surprised he has enough puff to get a note out of that bugle.

Now, I appreciate that what he’s doing, in the hope that people will toss coins into the hat at his feet, is to demonstrate his ability to play all those instruments at once. But come at it from another direction, and imagine his business is making music. At once it’s possible to see how the application of technology would make his life so much easier. He could play music from his smartphone whilst sitting in a deck chair. That would get the job done with a great deal less stress and strife.

Managing money
Managing money is just the same. In business for the first time I messed around with notebooks and pencils, spreadsheets and paper bank statements. Nightmare! It took ages and was invariably wrong. And chasing those mistakes soaked up loads of time I could have spent productively.

The benefits of Solo Expenses
And then I discovered the Solo Expenses travel and expense management software that lives on a smartphone. There are a lot of money management apps out there, and all of them come with as much hype as you like, all of it free. But I thought Solo Expenses was different. Here’s why.

Experience: What first attracted me to Solo Expenses was the fact that the people behind it had been in the business since 2003, with a product they kept improving and refining and enhancing. That appealed, because I didn’t intend to stand still in my business and was pleased because Solo Expenses wasn’t doing that either.

Global reach: Then I saw that they had customers in 98 countries. That was impressive. It’s more than half the countries in the world, if you count the Vatican City and Palestine.  All of those people can’t be wrong. And yet my one-man operation wasn’t too small to be unworthy of support.

Tiny cost: And then I discovered the real winner. Parts of it are free. Zilch. Zero. For life. Really. Well, for the basic elements that I needed to get me going, anyway. There’s a basic cost starting at 15p per user per month in the UK, but to be honest, there’s probably more than that down the back of the sofa. Honestly, what can you buy for 15p? It has to be the bargain of a lifetime. There are a host of other features that can come into play as a business grows, and its money management issues get more complicated, and those can be turned on or off at will with this clever dashboard arrangement, so there is no need to be tied into a long-term contract, and no need to pay for what I don’t want. That’s another bonus, naturally.

Easy to use: Getting my business up and running was tough. Starting to use Solo Expenses was the exact opposite; a breeze, in fact. Using it is just the same. I can key in all my spending, I can photograph receipts, and I can file them in categories that come ready-installed or create my own. And delete them when I no longer need them. I can send files to the accountant, and do it all with the flick of a thumb on my smartphone. It’s hard to imagine how it could be any simpler from the user’s point of view – and that’s because all of the hard work has been done in the background by clever developers with exactly that in mind.

Crunching the numbers: I’m not an international trader, but if I did do business abroad, then Solo Expenses would be on top of it all. It works in multiple currencies, and converts one to the other, calculates tax, and adds everything up. To make it accurate I have to be diligent in what I record, but the software looks after everything else.

The bottom line: The bottom line in all of this is that because of Solo Expenses expense management software my financial record keeping is more accurate than it’s ever been and takes less time than it ever has. That means I have more time for business, or sitting in a deck chair, or laying with the kids – all the things that matter in life, but tend to get pushed into the background because businesses are so ‘needy’…

Picture:  George Sheldon | Dreamstime