In this article we are going to talk about Slack. Have you heard of it? It’s an amazing tool for your business. Slack can transform the way companies communicate by bringing people together to work as one unified team.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve heard of it or not…if you’re not already using it, you need to start. Slack is one of my absolute best finds for amazing tools to help you run your business.
Quiet honestly, it was by accident that I started using Slack. Let me explain. Eight maybe even ten years ago I was looking for a better way to communicate with my team.
At that time, we were using multiple Google groups, each for a different account. For example, I had one group just for my team members. For this one, I was able to get by with a free group. I also set up a paid group for the private coaching I was doing.
It worked okay but there were some noticeable challenges. For example, posts to anyone in the group went to the entire group. While this can be a good thing, it can be a problem when you want to post to just one individual in the group.
Another thing that made it inefficient, in my opinion, was that you needed to be logged into your Gmail account to receive a post. As we all know, you can never just check one thing when you check your email. Instead, you get snared into reading multiple emails.
This makes me start looking for better options.
There were instant messaging services. The problem with them is they are public and therefore outsiders could potentially find you and start communicating with you.
At one time, many years ago, I thought about starting my own “instant messaging” service. It never happened but, in the process, I did a lot of research on the types of services that were out there in that genre. I kept myself informed of happenings in the “instant messaging” world even after I no longer was interested in starting my own service.
As I was looking to replace Google Groups, I ran across a service called HipChat. I bought it, tested it, and liked it. It seemed like it could do everything I needed to communicate with my team. The cost was acceptable, only a couple dollars per month per team member.
“Throughout the day we communicate, in real time, with each other as individuals as well as multiple groups that we set up for different projects.”
HipChat allowed me to message my team as a group, as well as individually. It also allowed me to create private groups and even do video chat and a number of other things within the platform.
The best part of that system was that it was totally private, and I could communicate with the members online in their browser rather that have them log into their email account. And, if they were not in their browser, I could communicate via their phone or tablet with HipChat.
I used HipChat for years. But then things seemed to go downhill. Nothing I could put my finger on, but it just didn’t work as well as before. Shortly thereafter they were bought out by another company that tried to migrate them over to there own system. Things really got bad.
After about six months, it got so bad that the company finally threw in the towel and said they would no longer support the service. They suggested that everyone start using Slack.
I had looked at Slack in the past. It’s an interesting service. It was basically the same as HipChat except it was written in a different programming language. Another difference is that Slack is a public service, but you can make it a private service. Eventually, Slack wound up buying HipChat for the user base.
Like HipChat, Slack is relatively inexpensive; it only costs me a few bucks for each member. I use their lowest cost option, the “Pro” version.
I do my daily morning staff calls with my team using Slack. We normally use just audio but, when needed, we can do video chat. With the click of a button, I can share my screen with the team, or, if needed, they can share their screen with me. We can also share files from our computers as well as the Cloud.
Throughout the day we communicate, in real time, with each other as individuals as well as multiple groups that we set up for different projects.
Compare this to the Google groups I used to use…
The biggest advantage is that I don’t need to log into my email. When I need to get hold of a team member I want them now, not later on when they open up their email program. With Slack I don’t compete with emails that you inadvertently run across when you open your email.
With Slack you can communicate from anywhere. One day as I was sitting and waiting for a haircut, my team members carried on a live conversation with me. I was on my phone while they were on their computers and tablets.
I even have Slack set up divided up into different groups for my different companies. Each of these groups can have individual rooms and one-on-one access between members. Members of one group don’t even need to be aware that the other groups exist.
Most of my staff has access to all the rooms but I can add others, as members, to individual rooms. I can have rooms that none of my staff have access to. If I want someone in a room on a “one time” basis I can add them for just that one session.
In fact, you could set up paid memberships programs that are setup within Slack. I have set up a special group for the members in my high-end coaching program. We can have conversations, we can have debates, we can have whatever, but it’s a private room dedicated only to these people.
I would not want to do this for just anyone. These are my high-end coaching students. So, it’s a good thing…it’s a good thing for them and it’s a good thing for me, as well. It provides a lot of value, but again, it’s a premium price to be part of that particular group.
It’s easy to add members to Slack. Let’s say you wanted to add someone to a room, and they don’t have Slack on any of their devices; all you need to do is give them a link that they can easily download the app and communicate on Slack with you.
Slack.com makes communication easy and instantaneous, but there’s no need to be a slave to it. You can sign out or set yourself as away, asleep, on vacation etc. You can pause notifications for preset as well as custom lengths of time.
I definitely feel Slack is a must if you work with a remote team. I do not get anything for promoting them, but since I tell you that the right tools make all the difference in business, Slack is one of the most useful tools I use for my business.