Technology has stimulated constant, rapid evolution in business. Whereas few offices had their own computer 50 years ago, computers are now crucial for every business. Companies that want to keep up with consumer needs and compete with others in their industry have to embrace tech and the advantages it brings.
We are in the age of information. Data transforms business practices by informing decision-makers in real-time. Tech also allows businesses to act instantaneously on the data they gain, adjusting to trends and changes in record time.
Of all the businesses that benefit from the use of technology, small businesses are arguably in the best position. While a small business may not have the resources to throw a lot of people at a problem, they can easily access tech solutions that make each aspect of the business easier to control. Here are a few ways small businesses can use tech to get ahead in any industry.
One of the best things for small businesses is the way technology levels the playing field for advertising opportunities. Before the internet, most advertising was limited to larger financially stable companies that could devote significant sums of money into reaching the public.
However, with the introduction of cheap websites and free social media platforms, even a brand new start up business can hoist their flag and secure some online real estate in the public’s eye. Websites are a great way for your customers to find out about your business, learn more about you, see what you have to offer, discover future events, and potentially even purchase items. Any business today that doesn’t have a website or social media presence is missing out.
Social media platforms are particularly underrated. All social media platforms are free, and each one has its own benefits and helps a company reach a slightly different demographic without straining the budget. Advertising on social media is cheap, allowing companies to put out highly targeted ads to particular types of people.
Websites and social media are the first steps in using tech for your small business. Everything else builds on these 2 areas.
Automation isn’t just for factories. Almost any simple or repetitive tasks can be automated. This is especially helpful for small businesses without the budget for a full customer service team. Many functions of calling, scheduling, emailing, and other simple communication can be fully or partially automated with the right services.
Small businesses can take advantage of call center software to answer the phones, direct calls appropriately, take messages, and send out automated reminders or broadcast messages as needed. Call center software can be integrated into other applications or systems on your work computers, allowing you to bring up customer information more quickly.
Automating your email marketing can also increase your communication capabilities without requiring more labor hours. With automated email marketing, you’re able to set up newsletters, response messages (thank you, recommendations, etc.), and an entire thread of emails ahead of time. Rather than having to remember to send out emails on time, you can set them to automatically send when someone takes a certain action or on specific days and times.
Much of our business communication can be improved through simple automation. You don’t have to do everything manually. Save man hours for more important tasks and leave the simple stuff to your virtual assistant, call center software, email marketing software, and other apps.
Your Digital Toolkit
Every business has access to tools that make essential functions easier. Some of the most useful tools for small businesses include:
Productivity Apps: With dozens of meetings, events, and tasks to manage, productivity apps help you to track each day’s tasks and maintain organization. They have automatic reminders, to-do lists, visual organization options, scheduling functions, and more to make your life easier.
Screen Recording Apps: These are apps which can be used to record either your phone or computer’s screen to make a simple, high-quality video. Screen recorders make it exceedingly simple to create video content such as tutorials, problem-solving videos, examples, showcasing, and similarly informative content.
Payment Apps: Online payments are the preferred method for most consumers today. Using a trusted third-party payment app is a good solution for efficient online payments, making it so each payment can be processed without human intervention.
Accounting Apps: Accounting is another area where tech makes your life and business easier. There are numerous free or inexpensive accounting apps that help you track expenses, income, and every financial facet of your business. Accounting apps also help you do your taxes more easily, a process that’s usually tedious for business owners.
Time Tracking Software: Any businesses that provide services to customers with a per-hour charge are aware of the struggle to get paid for the time worked. This is also true in reverse with businesses who pay on a per-hour basis. Time tracking software simplifies this process and helps businesses track how long people are working in order to get payments right. It’s also a good tool for understanding how much time employees spend on specific tasks.
Communication Apps: There are communication apps suitable for any person, team, small business, or enterprise. Getting the right tools helps you communicate on your terms rather than trying to fit your preferences into what you already have. Look around for video chat apps, business instant messaging apps, VoIP phone service, chatbots, and other solutions that make it easier for you to get your messages through. Many apps are set up for efficient communications within your company, but others are made to include customers, leads, or others into the network as well.
Simply having an excellent product or service is no longer the key to success. To truly compete, businesses today need to be connected with the right tech and the right digital resources to get their name in front of the right customers. Tech is the ticket for small businesses to succeed on a global scale.