Email, not built for Collaboration

Email is good for communication but bad collaboration
Email, probably one of the best business tool ever. Email has made it easy for us to communicate a world away and to the person in the next office. Certainly a tool for every situation. But is it? Email is good for short pointed conversations with teammates you work with, business partners and customers to alert them on announcements and promotions. But when it comes to back and forth collaboration we quickly fall victim to the cluttered inbox.
The Problem with Email
Email lacks ways to assign tasks and track statuses about various processes within a business environment. Emails that were sent as a large CC are normally dead on arrival with recipients not wanting to reply. Another common thing is emails getting lost. These are but a few of our everyday problems with emails and trying to run a business with it. Business owners and management on a whole need to realize that there are other tools that can make their business processes lest stressful.
Using email for document collaboration is another nightmare employees face on a daily basis. Email attachments are great if something needs to be sent just once, and if the sender need not retain it. But the reality is that there are edits and revisions that need to be made. Changes are sometimes made by a number of people and files need to be changed correctly without losing valuable feedback along the way.
What else is there
Email is a tool, one of many in the business landscape that can be used to manage our daily business processes. What should be important to a business owner or manager is identifying the right set of tools for their business needs. This article isn’t about specific applications but the type of tools that can be used for various task. We will dive into these tools more in another article.
Instant Messaging
Instant chat is a great way to have a virtual meeting with a person or group to quickly dish out ideas. This saves users time in sending emails and awaiting responses on basic stuff.
Video Conferencing
If typing is not your thing then the plethora of video conferencing tools like Skype and even Google Hangouts can be a good way to reach out. With the access of web cams and fast networks conducting a virtual meeting maybe better than assembling for one.
Intranets
The intranet was built for this very reason, to alert staff on what’s going on within the business and soliciting feedback. Sharing documents, schedules and other general announcements on an intranet site is far better than sending everyone an email. The information is always there and can be updated with ease without sending another set of emails.
Social Networks
Enterprise Social Networks are all the craze in the business world today. These networks allow for collaboration in a whole new way for the average office environment. Like its counterpart on the public internet, a social network can be a place to disseminate information, solicit feedback, post documents, schedule company events, chat and share just about anything.
These are just a few tools that can be used for general collaboration within a business. There are more specific tools to handle various processes but that’s for another article. In part two we will dive deeper into some of these tools.

The importance of a business website

One surprising thing in the business landscape in St. Lucia is how many businesses still don’t have a website. You would think that in today’s world one would understand the importance of a website for their business. Clearly that is not the case, any business that does not have a website is missing out on the best marketing tool available today.
Why it is Important
The reason that it is important to have a business website is how people are likely to find you. Increasingly people turn to the internet to research products and services before making the decision to move forward with a purchase. With the advent of mobile, this is all too common and if you are not online to intercept this traffic your business will suffer.
A website is also important because it helps you establish credibility as a business. Like other steps one must take to establish a business in St. Lucia, setting up a website is now a staple. Directing people to your website to confirm or explain your products and services is much easier than walking around with brochures, business cards and catalogs. A website can provide all the information people need to make a decision about your business.
One of the great things about the internet is that it sets a equal playing field for everyone. On the internet a small business can get equal exposure and ranking as a much larger organization. This makes it critical for the small business owner to take this tactical advantage and get online.
The Confusion with Social Networks
With the popularity of Social Networks, not just as communication platforms but also business tools, businesses large and small are flocking to them. Glace Web utilizes these very platforms for marketing purposes and in the process have spoken to small businesses on Facebook and learned a surprising thing about their perception of the web today. Increasingly business owners believe that a website is not needed if you are on Facebook. That on Facebook (one of the most popular websites today) everyone will find you.
Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn are all popular websites that serve similar roles in the online marketing landscape. These platforms are very good for interacting with customers and sharing content. But the very structure of these platforms cater only to the recent post, short informal message and occasional photo. Customers (and potential customers) need a concise forum to consume information about your products and services. The composition of a web page that beautifully merges text, photographs, video and much more is a completely different experience on any social network. A social network is designed for simple updates while a website details your entire business. This misconception comes at the peril of small businesses in St. Lucia.
Now is the time
Clearly there are still businesses without websites, and there are other reasons for that as well. There’s the belief that they are expensive to develop, hard to maintain (unlike Facebook) and cost too much to market. In truth a website can be built for very little money and with a Content Management System (CMS), maintained by anyone at your business. Social networks like Facebook can then be utilized to market your website and business on a whole.
With the economical landscape putting pressure on businesses to cut back, do less, in order to ride out the storm. Small businesses must realize the tools that can propel their business under any condition. A website and the internet on a whole is such a tool that when wheeled, can make the difference between shutting down or moving forward.
Glace Web provides businesses with the solution that makes sense for them and fits their budget. We have the expertise in all things web. To find out what we can do for you contact us a solutions@glaceweb.com or call 723-8783.