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Revolution BJJ, my gym in Richmond
Dropbox to the rescue!
At my BJJ gym in Richmond, VA, I use Dropbox pretty much every day. The wonderful thing about Dropbox is that it has been around for a while now, and it's extremely trusted in cloud computing.
Basically, I save whatever picture I've taken (or Excel file I've modified, or whatever it is) to a folder in my phone (the Dropbox folder), and there is an identical "master copy" somewhere in the almighty cloud. From there, an exact duplicate copy not only lives in the cloud, but also on any devices I have Dropbox installed on.
This means there are multiple copies of every file I save to Dropbox, which means the likelihood of me losing any data I've saved there (financial records, pictures, video, etc) is very, very slim- almost astronomically so. Dropbox downloads easily to an Android device or iPhone, and it is a real life saver for small business owners! I remember being exposed to Dropbox for the first time by my early adopter friends back in 2008 or so. It was the new big thing back then, and there wasn't such a thing (at least as far as public perceptions went) as the "cloud" for computing and storing files, so Dropbox was my introduction to this concept overall.
Since then, I've learned more and more about cloud services, including Amazon's mammoth AWS (used by an unbelievable amount of small and large business around the world), Google's Drive, Apple's various cloud iterations, and now, Microsoft's cloud service. Soon enough, more and more of our lives will take place in the cloud.
Dropbox has a terrific smartphone app. There are also a lot of other extremely useful apps for smartphones you can check out here if you'd like. I use apps all the time for productivity at my business (my gym, Revolution BJJ).
I've found a great deal of use in a number of applications over the last three or four years, as my business has tended toward paper-free. It hasn't been as fast a transition as, say, corporate America, mainly on account of the fact that our gym doesn't have a ton of money to flip that switch immediately; instead, most changes must be implemented manually, slowly, over large amounts of time. Nevertheless, we now have the following innovations:
- Cloud storage of data, as mentioned
- Sign ups via the iPad for memberships
- Waivers on the iPad
- Lesson plans shared via Google Drive
- Connecting to members with emails that are automated via Zen Planner
- Communicating with staff via email and with Drive reminders
I fully anticipate this trend to continue over the next years, and possibly to accelerate, because every change we make toward becoming automated or "living in the cloud" means that the next changes are going to become, gradually, easier to implement. That is exactly the nature of technological acceleration.
If you have apps you use that you enjoy for your small business, please feel free to let me know here in the comments section! I'd love to hear from you.