Small business in the UK is booming, with 2016 accommodating the birth of 500,000 new businesses across the country. The entrepreneurial spirit in the UK is defiant in the face of an uncertain 2017, an attitude I am wholeheartedly impressed by. What makes each of these 500,000 businesses unique is that, with their start, a culture is born. This is naturally built around the entrepreneur’s style and impacts every aspect of the day-to-day work.
The development of culture is often overlooked, and more new business owners should take into consideration how they can mould a culture that will benefit both the company and the employees themselves. That’s why I believe a commonality amongst SMB owners should be to teach and offer opportunities for their employees to become fluent in technology. The business world is becoming increasingly digitalised allowing for a more efficient work process, as well as offering employees the flexibility to work online from anywhere. As such, I believe today and not tomorrow is the time to get the culture at your office to become tech savvy. Here’s why:
Future-proofing your workers
First and foremost, the cloud is how almost all businesses will be working within the next 5 years. If your business is yet to be on the cloud, I recommend you search online or speak with peers on what software best suits your business needs, from managing payroll and employee time to invoices and balance sheets, cloud programmes are making the process incredibly simple. Getting your employees in the cloud will teach them skills that will pay dividends as they rise through the ranks in your business, and at which point they will become aware of cloud technology trends themselves and be making suggestions on moving the company forward.
Number savvy will benefit you all
Alongside familiarising your staff with the cloud, you will need to teach them how to read and analyse the numbers associated with your business. Employees will have access to the data and be able to recognise the performance of the company, identify shortcomings and where to optimise potential as the software will offer insights. This in turn, will get your employees showing initiative – a skill that is invaluable and difficult to teach.
Showing that you’re actively investing in your employees will help them believe that you’re there to help them improve and further their careers. A distant relationship between employer and employee will lead to a low staff retention rate and damage your company’s reputation for potential recruits. It also shows that you trust them with sensitive company data and, referring to my earlier point, will give them the opportunity to learn what makes a business tick and how they can act on their initiative to make suggestions based on the data provided.
A shared level of understanding
It takes a unique personality to be an entrepreneur, you allow the pressure to rest on your shoulders and have careers dependent on your success. However, allowing your workers to operate on the cloud and work with you, it provides the opportunity for more opinions and insight. Sharing insight can offer perspective; this can lead to great success.
Cloud is now the mainstream, so create a culture where operating on the cloud becomes mainstream too.
Gary Turner is the UK managing director and co-founder of Xero.