Everybody talks about the smart money and what it means to small businesses. Capital is hard to come by, and many small businesses are going it alone.
While the Internet is full of so-called smart money managers, a lot of them seem to be bent on separating small businesses and entrepreneurs from their money. Understanding what real smart money is, and keeping your workers motivated and engaged in stressful times, can pump up more than your bottom line.
Why Meetings Suck
Meetings are absolutely necessary to running any business, and according to a Verizon study 92 percent of business travelers attend frequent meetings see them as an opportunity to contribute, and a key factor in their satisfaction with their job.
This is especially important in light of a Gallup poll showing the overwhelming majority of the most experienced and highly educated workers are either not engaged or actively disengaged from their jobs.
At the very peak of their careers, 71 percent of college educated workers between 30 and 64 years old express disengagement and discontent the work that they are doing. The two numbers stand in such stark contrast one another that one may legitimately question how these two figures can even coexist.
The answer is, that in the modern workplace, they have to. As workplaces come to rely on telecommuting workers, geographically distant suppliers, working teams, and clients, the need for face time has not decreased while the time and expense with obtaining a face-to-face meeting has increased exponentially.
Hitting the Wallet and the Unseen Costs
A busy professional may need to attend over 60 meetings per month, both local and those requiring extensive travel. Most professionals say that they can only attend fraction of the meetings that they need to do to demands on their time, and the impracticality involved in traveling to every meeting they need to attend. In addition, according to the Verizon study, professionals also stressed over work piling up at the office during their absence, and being separated from their families. All of these factors can impact job satisfaction, and even the well-being of staff member.
The cash expenditures required to attend meetings are also a significant drain and can be a deep cut into the bottom line. A five person meeting that requires travel for four attendees can cost as much as $1000 to $1300 per person, depending on location, lodging expenses, dining expenses, and per diem when compared to the relative in expense of videoconferencing using applications like Bluejeans.
Keeping in mind that 92 percent of meeting attendees do value the meeting experience, it is up to the entrepreneur to use all tools at their disposal to meet the needs of their organization, while minimizing the impact of those needs on their most vital staff members. Using videoconferencing can help to meet the needs of the organization, the needs of vital staff, and give everyone the face time that they so desperately need to feel engaged with their projects and processes.
Videoconferencing, as opposed to webinars and video chat, is not what it used to be. While video chat has been around since the early 2000s, videoconferencing was once an expensive proposition.
Generally videoconferencing systems have been room based, required extensive IT support, consumed huge amounts of bandwidth, and at times even needed their own server. By contrast, cloud-based applications such as Bluejeans are much less high maintenance.
Cloud-based applications can dramatically reduce the expenses associated with videoconferencing, while at the same time interfacing with multiple videoconferencing platforms, and devices such as smart phones and tablets.
Instead of having people come to a central location for meeting, you can take the meeting everywhere and to everyone need to reach. Research by Gigaom indicates that videoconferencing helps 87 percent of workers feel more engaged and connected, while giving them a level of communication that is simply not possible via email, chat, or teleconferencing. Participants felt an increased level of collaboration, and enriched their relationships with colleagues, clients, and suppliers.
And when looking at the hard numbers at the bottom line the same study shows that 39 percent of meeting at attendees felt that videoconferencing save them money. Certainly in the case of meeting to travel, and meet the appropriate expenses for lodging, food, and entertainment the costs of face-to-face meetings can be substantially decreased.
This is not only good for the budget, but can also boost employee morale significantly. Money saved from travel and travel expenses can instead be repurposed to meet other organizational needs such as upgrading equipment, training, and even incentives such as bonuses.
Just as important as the hard numbers on the bottom line, is the morale gained from knowing that a previous voracious expense has been tamed. There will always be a time and place for traveling to highly important meetings, but with videoconferencing on tap the decision is left up to you. And you can always manage meetings to keep your staff happy.