The Power of New Technology – The Garden Rake Story

“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”

We have a long weekend coming up. These are rare and wonderful times to rest and regenerate our entrepreneurial spirit.

Long weekends are also traditionally full of manual labour as we open up the cabin for the summer. Not wanting to spend the entire upcoming long weekend raking, cleaning, and fixing, my wife and I got a jump on things and started last weekend.

We started by raking the weary lawns from their winter burden of squashed leaves and other dead stuff.

In the shed, I found a rake likely as old as me. It had tape accurately wrapped around the handle to make the rake more comfortable. But the steel teeth had long lost their strength. Every swipe of the rake was followed by another and another.

My wife and I took turns raking and bagging, for hours and hours. Finally, five o’clock came and it was time for a beverage.

The next morning, I was up early and went back to raking. After a couple of empty swipes, I thought there must be a better way. Perhaps, I hoped, they’ve invented a better rake in the last 50 years.

Off to the hardware store I went. The kind of hardware store that has oiled wood floors and smells like a real hardware store. The kind where every employee knows the exact location of every nut and bolt in the place. Like a good hardware store in any small town.

Good news! There is new technology in rakes! I bought a steel rake with short springy tines that had lots of tension. Back to raking I went.

The new technology was much better. The rake had a heavy head, so it’s mass created its own power. The tines ripped and gripped the leaves from their squished sleepiness. Raking was now 40% more efficient. What previously took two hours, now took 72 minutes. 

What inexpensive technology or investments could make your employees 40% more efficient?

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Here are questions and ideas, some of which are carried over from last week because we all can improve our use of technology:

  1. If you’re all meeting on zoom these days, make sure people have a microphone connected to their computer so people can hear them.
  2. If your team is meeting customers and selling on zoom, make sure they have good lighting. At a minimum, their face should be the brightest image on the screen (not the window behind them, as I’ve mentioned before).
  3. Give an award for the best home office design set up. This would include audio, video (lighting!), and background.
  4. How do you keep track of sales opportunities? A highly recommended cost effective ($10usd/mo) CRM (customer relationship management) system is “Less Annoying CRM.”
  5. How do you measure your daily Flash metrics of sales, production, and cash? The easiest way is for someone to gather this info and send a daily email or post on your internal communications tools. Remember to chart the data and make it visual and visible. This is especially important these days when revenues are precarious and cash is scarce.
  6. A good office chair costs a lot more than $50 and is heavy to lift because it’s made of steel to support the human body. Do your employees working at home have good chairs?
  7. Anyone working on a laptop has severe ergonomic challenges, as I’ve written about before. With a laptop, either the keyboard or screen is almost in the right place but never both. The laptop needs to be on a stand so the person can see the screen just below eye level. An external keyboard and mouse or trackpad on an articulating key board tray will help to align the technology with the person.
  8. Here is a technology that doesn’t cost any money. Stop all office communications after hours so employees have real down time, can connect with their families, and recharge.
  9. Sponsor memberships to online gyms for at home workouts.
  10. Send pizza to your employees so you can have a virtual dinner together one day.

Ask your employees what tools would make their jobs easier, faster, or better.

If you’d like to discuss how any or all of these ideas can be applied to your business, give me a call.

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