Entrepreneur - - By Alyssa Gregory

Use a Wiki to Run Your Business More Efficiently

WikiWikis have been around for a while, but their application to individual business needs seems to be growing. Not only are wikis a great way to collect information, but they also allow for easier collaboration, version tracking and file management – all vital features for any type of client project or team-based work. Plus, there are many more uses that may be less obvious.

Why Use a Wiki

While there are certainly some great, feature-heavy and flexible project management tools out there, a good wiki (that’s set up well for the specific use) can compete with the best of them.

Some of the biggest benefits of using a wiki include:

  • Wikis are like a blank sheet of paper that you can fold, arrange and format in a way that suits you best.
  • Most wikis, because they don’t have the structure of a project management tool, have a very low learning curve.
  • A wiki can be a central location for all data related to a project or client that’s accessible from anywhere.
  • Wikis promote collaboration and reduce version issues.
  • Many wikis are free or very low cost.

How to Use a Wiki

Wikis can be used in so many ways, and the best part is the flexibility. Here are some ways you can use a wiki in your business.

Project Management

You can make a wiki an alternative to a project management tool that organizes client data, files and task lists. Many times, the custom setup and limited restrictions make a wiki more effective and less intimidating to use.

File Archive

Another common use for a wiki in business is as a repository for business files – meeting notes, agendas, calendars, event data, etc. Having one general location for these files that’s accessible by everyone can be instrumental in keeping the team on the same page.

Support

A wiki can be used publicly (with open or closed contributions), providing support documentation for software, or answers to frequently asked questions about your product or service.

Operations Guide

One of my favorite uses for a wiki is an operations guide. I have used wikis to document processes for my own business as well as my clients’ businesses. This can be valuable when you have a team working on similar tasks and need to keep everyone in sync. Plus, it’s great to have a guide already in place should you ever need someone to fill in for you without experiencing prolonged downtime.

Collaboration

You can use a wiki as a working space for in-development ideas – publications with multiple authors, collaborative projects with colleagues, or any endeavor that requires participation by more than one person.

Notebook

On an individual basis, you can use a wiki as your own private workspace where you brainstorm, collect links, make lists and generate new ideas.

What Wiki to Use

There are so many wiki tools available that it can take some time and quite a bit of research to find the wiki that best fits your needs. Click over to the second part of this series, Pick a Winner: How to Choose the Right Wiki for Your Business, which provides wiki-selection guidance, a list of wiki tools, as well as a useful wiki comparison site to help you narrow down your options.

Image credit: Stephanie Hofschlaeger

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