This is the fifth post of the “Why You Should Run Your Business Online” series. If you have not yet read the previous posts, head back to the beginning to catch up.
Over the previous few posts in this series, we have seen Sally take back her time by automating parts of, and centrally managing, her press release approval process.
We’ve also seen her use the location-based flexibility that the cloud grants to assure she can achieve both her professional and personal goals.
The cloud however has one more time-and-place advantage left in its bag of tricks and it’s a doosie.
Value Component 4: Asynchronous Collaboration
You can still work collaboratively even though no one is in the same room or even working at the same time.
Asynchronous basically means that something is happening between two people, but not at the same time.
- A meeting with a lot of people in the same room, or by web-conference, at the same time is synchronous.
- Sending an e-mail to a client is asynchronous. Even though you are communicating with that person, you are taking the action by yourself. When they read your e-mail, that is an asynchronous action as well.
Why is the ability to act asynchronously so important?
These days, project teams are spread around the world. Your clients may be in a different city. Your advisors (e.g. accountant, lawyer) may be in a different county.
These are people with whom you need to collaborate on a regular basis.
However, you don’t always need to be together to collaborate and thus the flexibility, centralization and asynchronous nature of the cloud really enables you to become the ultimate master of your time, allowing you to work when you can and want to work; not when you need to work.
Let’s see how this plays out for Sally and her PR firm.
Globetrotting In Her Sleep
Sally’s client needs to come up with a new campaign. Some creative brainstorming is called for, but each member of the client’s international marketing team is on a different continent.
Sally suggests using some online software she found that allows for asynchronous brainstorming. It combines the features of a whiteboard with the abilities of a mindmap and has all sorts of tools that can help knock an idea loose. Invited members can come in at any time and add, edit and comment (thus the asynchronicity).
She sets up the brainstorming space online which involves naming the space, securing it with a password, seeding it with some preliminary ideas and thoughts, and using the tool to invite the team via e-mail. Lastly, she configures her notification preferences within the tool so she is e-mailed whenever a change is made.
That done, Sally heads off to bed.
The next morning, Sally notes in her e-mail that many of the team members visited the online brainstorming room and made changes. She logs in and is pleased to see that many new ideas and thoughts were added. She loves one of them and thinks about some ways to expand upon the idea.
She enters in her thoughts and then heads off to her first meeting of the day.
By the time she gets back from her meeting, the online brainstorming space is really hopping. Her thoughts have been validated-debunked-revalidated and expanded on by three people. Now the juices are really flowing!
This process continues for the allotted three days at the end of which, Sally summarizes the ideas the team liked most and presents them as choices to her main client contact (who was very pleased).
Master of Your Schedule and To-Do List
During this process:
- There were no meetings
- There were no phone calls
- The data was all in the same place and easily viewable as one piece
- The goal was met and the client was pleased.
Best of all:
- Everyone was able to work on their own schedule, assuring that other business and personal obligations were handled accordingly.
The implications of that statement on your control of when, where and on what you work cannot be overstated. Your schedule and to-do list just got super-sized with flexibility!
This is one of the most powerful benefits of running your business online.
Join me next time for the 5th value component and more examples of the advantages of running your business online.