What is the laptop life I hear you ask?

To me it means being able to run my business from my phone or laptop. It means flexibility and mobility. It means picking up where you left off whenever it is convenient.

As I write this I am enjoying a coffee after going for a walk with my daughter in the pram; Jotting down some thoughts as she sleeps and I enjoy my toast. I watch my staff in the cafe, which is mine, and before I arrive I already know they have opened on time, they know what the sales target is and they have completed all of their morning tasks.

To do this I have created the following:

  1. A daily checklist of basic tasks – this ensures that the shop opens in the same way every day. It is simple so that staff will read it and use it. It gets the staff in a routine so that they can do the tasks faster and more efficiently with practice.
  2. A live notification based checklist (Todoist)this lets me know when key events have occurred. Unlike the above checklist this has more info grouped together. For example my team leader makes a declaration that they have completed the open checklist rather than having a notification that the coffee machine is turned on and another that chairs have been put out. It also let’s me know that order deadlines have been met ahead of time so that if the task is not done I have time to fix it.
  3. Online forms – this is an extension of the above. I use cognito forms for my staff to make compulsory daily declarations such as all food in date and safe to eat. If I walk in and find that it is not then I have evidence to take corrective action with that staff member.   Food safety is paramount. They also report the float, sales, sampling results to reward for best sales and even the number of vouchers returned to empirically test local area marketing channels. To do this I add a task in todoist that has a cognito forms link. They just click the link, fill out the form and check off the task in todoist.
  4. Team chat (electronic communications book) – using HipChat I can tell staff about a customer that handed in a hat or some other lost property. Make comments about price changes or attach photos of performance problems for greater understanding. An example of this is a piece of equipment not being cleaned properly or left the right way. You can post a photo of the wrong way and the right way. My staff members that work less often can get up to date on the bus ride to work. I have visibility over the entire process and found that staff began to self solve problems without the constant need for me. Things like “where is the widget kept.”
  5. Working in the cloud – this allows me to work from anywhere and access the same data from any device. Even if the device is not mine. LastPass allows you access from any internet enabled device. Dropbox keeps your files and Google chrome keeps your bookmarks.
  6. Outsourcing – this enables you to leverage your time. Rather than spending hours converting data or downloading or doing other rudimentary or time consuming things you can get it done for $5-15 per hour. You can easily find a worker on UpWork. It even takes screenshots every 10 or so minutes so that you can verify they are doing what they are supposed to.