F A L L 2 0 2 2 7 BUSINESS solutions Sticking to traditions from the past may be hurting your business in the present Traditions are beloved parts of family life—the first-day-of-school photo, a recurring Thanksgiving menu, when and where you open holiday gifts. Doing the same thing year after year is comforting. But what works well at home doesn’t work as well in the business world. Why? Because blindly following tradition causes us to turn off our brains and can get in the way of critical thinking, imagination, and innovation. Unless your business is brand new, it has traditions. To identify them, think about these questions: Do you handle tasks a certain way simply because that’s the way you’ve always done them? Do you hold regular meetings more out of habit than necessity? Do you still have the same marketing materials, merchandising displays, or products that you had five years ago? The problemwith holding on too tightly to traditions is that it prevents your business from moving forward. Instead, stay open to fresh ideas and encourage your employees to look for better, faster, and more efficient ways to do their jobs and serve your customers. Many resources are available to help your business develop fresh approaches to replace those tired traditions. For example, consider the following: • Join a business or community group to hear inspiring speakers and network with new people. • Expand your knowledge by studying the success stories of businesses outside your community or field of business. • Stay updated on trends by reading books, taking classes, and traveling. • Check out Pinterest for images that may spark a more creative tactic for items such as your office interior, product packaging, or advertising. While the past should be respected, great business leaders are advocates for change. Make sure you stay curious and have the courage to challenge the status quo. Tradition is Not a Business Model Tried-and-True Apps for Small Businesses There are thousands of productivity apps out there to help you do everything from managing your to- do list to staying on top of business expenses. If you don’t have the time to wade through a long list of apps, check out this short list of some of the best and most popular ones: • Best for time tracking: RescueTime, Toggl, Eternity Time Log • Best for project management: Basecamp, Trello, Asana • Best for team communication: Slack, Stride, Skype for Business • Best for customer relationship management: Streak, Insightly, Nimble • Best for accepting payments: Square, PayPal Here, Dwolla • Best for accounting: QuickBooks Online, Freshbooks, Wave • Best for creating and sharing to-do lists: Wunderlist, Evernote, OmniFocus Of course, apps are just one category of tools to boost small business efficiency and productivity. Others include the internet, phone, and Wi-Fi security services Madison Communications offers. Visit www. gomadison.com to learn more.