Ask An Expert

I was chatting to one of my advertisers recently and he, like me, had run his own business for a very long time. One of the topics we discussed was how technology really helped us run our businesses so much more efficiently than when we had started out. However, we also agreed that whilst these software applications* are great and, if you chose wisely, easy to use, they are accompanied by an expectation that we should be able to do everything ourselves.

* e.g. CRM systems, Accounting Packages like Quick Books & Zero, email marketing systems such as i-contact or Mail Chimp, online back-ups / storage e.g. Dropbox etc.

Years ago, I used to type up invoices and post them, simply writing “Paid” and the date on them when I subsequently received a cheque. The invoices were filed in a (colour coded!) lever arch file and the cheques paid in at the bank using a paying in book. I recorded my expenses on a spreadsheet and kept all my receipts in a nice orderly manner, sending everything to my accountant at the end of the year. It was efficient, all be it extremely slow and ponderous, but it worked.

Today I use an “all singing, all dancing” online accounting system which is great. It is easy to use on a regular day-today basis for all my regular bookkeeping and accounts and gives me so much more information on, and control over, my business…

… until that time when I have a one-off very specific query and I realise that not only do I need to have Accounting knowledge to make sure I do something correctly I also need to be a technical expert on the software to implement the action on the system.

And of course it is not just in the area of software that business has become superficially easier but concurrently more complex. Recent years have seen so many changes in terms of Legal/HMRC requirements e.g. Employment Law, Staff Pensions, Data Protection, HMRC & RTI etc to say nothing about all the many different ways we can now market our businesses.

… but I am lucky because having spent the past fourteen years furiously business networking I always know someone who can help – whether that be a quick answer to a specific questions e.g. “how do I do xxx in this application?” or a longer conversation e.g. “so tell me about your experience of using Go Cardless”.

I talk a lot about how to network – about sharing your knowledge and expertise, becoming known as an “Expert” in your field and just generally being helpful – a truly underrated quality.

… and the great thing about networking this way is that when you need help in return it is given back with generosity.

So yes, business and the technologies we use might sometimes seem complicated, even overwhelming, but if you get out and go networking you will meet experts in every area of business and at Coffee and Connect we are always happy to talk and share our expertise.

Aside from Networking my area of expertise is Marketing so if you want to talk about all things Marketing please do come and chat to me at Coffee and Connect.