Business collaboration is not a new initiative, in fact the most successful companies in the world have been doing it for years. Car manufacturers share blueprints, apparel companies share marketing techniques and the list goes on. It is an important tool for businesses of any size, however it can be a real game changer for small businesses. The willingness to collaborate both internally and externally provides opportunities that might otherwise be unavailable to smaller organisations, allowing them to operate more efficiently, or on a larger scale than they usually would.
Other advantages of embracing collaboration include:
- more motivated employees – by working together, employees feel less isolated and have a social outlet within the workplace.
- increased innovation – employees that are comfortable working with others are more likely to share their ideas.
- Improved networking – working with more people with naturally expand your network. Adopting a collaborative mindset when working with new people can be a very rewarding endeavour.
- Problem solving – we all know there is strength in numbers, this is especially true when we are faced with a problem.
- Cost savings – all of the above have a positive effect on the business hip pocket, by increasing efficiencies.
Sounds simple right? Not so fast – collaboration is not something that can just be turned on like a light switch. It is important to build a culture of collaboration within your business, starting from the top down. The senior members of your business must stop working in silos and be more open with your employees regarding information and decision making. Once the collaborative mindset and culture starts to take hold internally, you can focus on external collaboration with partners (and even with competitors) to really start exploring economies of scale.
The final piece to the puzzle is the tools. Having a great culture is part of the journey, implementing the appropriate tools at the correct time for your organisation is critical. If staff are required to make phone calls or physically meet in order to collaborate, this can be a roadblock as collaborating becomes difficult rather than flowing freely as it should. Equally if you roll out multiple tools at the same time with little direction, this will result in confusion and detract from their experience. Aligning the implementation of the tools with the maturity and readiness of your business is your key to success. Microsoft has released a number or collaboration tools – including Yammer, OneDrive for Business, Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams.
If you would like more information on business collaboration or the tools that are available please don’t hesitate to contact us.