A couple of weeks ago, I took my own advice and did what many small business owners hardly ever do – I took two workdays off. I finally had the chance to catch up with a number of very dear friends who I haven’t seen in person for close to two decades as we are all scattered around Australia, myself included, and some even around the globe. For all these years we have been communicating online, but have never had the opportunity to all meet up together again in person. Sadly, a few were unable to make it, but it was still incredibly special and very memorable. I hope that we will have that opportunity again soon. And certainly not leave it for decades!
With lots of scheduling & client communication back and forth making sure that everything was attended to whilst I was away, I had everything covered. And only being away for a Friday and Monday, it wouldn’t be too difficult to have the office closed for two business days. I run a pretty tight ship and it’s just a matter of moving schedules around to make sure every client has all their needs attended to.
But of course, nothing is ever that simple. You can schedule and plan until the cows come home, but sometimes the chaotic nature of the universe (and business!) has other things in mind.
So whilst happily enjoying my little break, I receive a call from a very apologetic, but desperate client who needed a task completed urgently.
Having not brought my laptop or anything else work related with me, this could seem like a problem. However, as I run my business almost totally via the cloud, I could easily log into Xero, Dropbox and other necessary things all from my iPhone. And with this and a few apps I have on my phone, I could quickly complete the tasks that the client needed. Client happy. Me happy. 🙂
I’ve been working virtually with clients since 2001, however it hasn’t been until recent times that things like this were possible. A decade ago, working virtually was something of an oddity in my industry and it took alot of headache in setting up as well as a lot of convincing clients that all would go smoothly. My start in working virtually was in a sense thrust upon me. I had complications in pregnancy with my first child and was on bedrest/light duties for the duration, however, I still needed to run my business and have an income. Therefore I had to work out systems on how to complete client work without being on-site.
Australia Post certainly got a some good revenue from client paperwork going back and forth, with me setting up the remainder of clients who had servers with remote logins. The “cloud” with all its online software-as-a-service didn’t exist back then and the options were very limited.
But fastforward to the present day and we see an ecosystem where many businesses utilising the cloud can honestly work from anywhere. There is always alot of joking at cloud software seminars and presentations about how you can work from Tahiti or the Bahamas or your paradise of choice. But really, this is the truth. Whether you choose to run your business from home, have staff in varied locations, or in my case were on holiday with only your smartphone, you can still fully operate your business. It makes me very thankful for the technology we have in our modern times.
And it’s not even just clients working with Xero. Although the majority of Blue Emerald’s clients love and use this very friendly accounting software, a few still prefer MYOB. And amazingly enough, I can even remote login to their servers from my iPhone using Remote Desktop or VNC apps. Although, the smaller screen means that’s only for emergencies and my laptop is still my preference for client work.
There are so many other reasons why I love working with cloud based software & applications, but I might save that for another day. But whilst you are still reading, I do have to share with you one of the highlights of my trip away. My partner & I and a couple of our friends visited one of our favourite places in Sydney – The Absinthesalon. Unique is the only word to describe the beautiful surroundings and welcoming atmosphere. If you are heading to those parts, I highly recommend trying something a bit different!
Anyway, with me being thankful for our modern technological world and the plethora of apps and cloud software out there that make being a Modern Practice possible, I would love to hear your thoughts or stories on how the cloud affects you. Do you love it or hate it? Has it been a help or a hindrance? What role does it have in your own type of business?